September is well underway and if you are not already aware, September is national senior center month! Yes, ever since 2007, Americans have taken time in September to appreciate all the helpful benefits and services that senior centers provide. With over 10,000 senior centers across the country, there exists an abundance of choice when it comes to finding a center that is right for you. Beyond offering education, programming, and social services; senior centers also exist as a place for older Americans to mingle with their peers and build friendships without the expectation of spending money. With so much to give, we here at Noble Companion have decided to dedicate our blog post this month to senior centers; detail the ways they help, show what services they typically offer, and express our appreciation for all the people involved in keeping them running all year round!
Friendship: The benefits of being socially active at any age are well documented. People are social animals, so staying social as you age is crucial for maintaining mental, physical, and emotional health. As important as staying social is, it can become substantially more difficult to keep up with it as you age, so senior centers offer an excellent opportunity to stay engaged. With many centers open to seniors at no charge, seniors should feel encouraged to give a few different locations a try as they will be presented with many opportunities to mingle with a wide variety of their peers! Look into the programming available at senior centers near you and pick an activity that interests you, or just stop in and say hello at the front desk, there is no risk involved in trying, and countless rewards possible for stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting some new faces!
Health: Who wouldn’t benefit from a little more exercise in their routine? Finding the right exercise to suit your needs can be a difficult process on your own, but with the help of the activity planners at senior centers, finding an exercise you can throw yourself into becomes so much easier. Exercise classes of all shapes and sizes are commonplace at most senior centers, so trying different things becomes yet another draw of attending a center near you. Try out different exercises and commit to a few that you enjoy. You’ll meet peers who enjoy the activity too, and that’ll make showing up week after week much easier. Even low intensity exercises yield major rewards in terms of your health. Exercise resonates healthy outcomes throughout the whole body, and after spending some time moving your body, you’ll likely find yourself in a more positive mindset too. So, lean on your favorite senior center to help facilitate some exercise into your routine and enjoy all the rewards that come along with a more active lifestyle!
Purpose: If you’re feeling somewhat lost in life as you get older, you’re not alone! After a lifetime of working and building a family, a sudden stop can cause anybody to feel a little lost. It is important to remember that when one door closes another one opens, and the time you used to dedicate to working 5+ days per week is now primed to be utilized elsewhere! If you want an easy way to figure out how to spend that time in healthy and productive ways, your senior center can help. Beyond the purpose that inherently exists in belonging to a community, a senior center can offer you opportunities to work or volunteer with them directly, or they can help connect you with interesting job and volunteer opportunities right in your own community. Truth is, so many of the places and activities we take for granted in society only exist because of volunteers and retirees, so if you find yourself feeling a little lost recently in your journey of life, you can find the path once again by becoming a regular at your favorite senior center.
Creativity: Maybe you’re somebody who has always been artistic, or maybe you’ve never tried your hand at artistic self-expression at all; either way, exploring your creative side comes with all types of benefits. On a personal level, engaging in creative expression brings numerous benefits, it gives you time to self-reflect, it allows you to explore your thoughts and emotions, and you end up with something you can keep that you made yourself. On a more community level, art and creativity brings people together in a place where they can socialize while working on their own project at their own speed. Senior centers famously host crafting, painting, and musical events on a near weekly basis. Even if it may seem intimidating at first, giving some creative activities a try will most certainly end up being a decision you won’t regret. Look into what types of creative programs your favorite senior center is hosting and give them a call to sign up (in case they need a head count for supplies). Before you know it, you might be hosting a creative program of your own!
So, if you want to do something good for yourself and your community this September, go check out some nearby senior centers. Programming, hours, and services vary from place to place, but with over 10,000 different choices, you’re sure to find something to fit your needs. Step outside your comfort zone or lean into it by attending activities and events or volunteering your time. Before you know it, you’re sure to understand why senior centers deserve a whole month of recognition on their own merit!