The Senior Sector

There are varying levels of education among this older adult segment, varying ideals on gender roles and varying levels of acceptance to ethnic and social diversity; not to mention the physical, emotional, environmental and intrinsic personal needs.

Senior centers have a unique opportunity to address the needs and interests of all older adults in their community by becoming an all-inclusive provider.

The ability to serve all these adults is imperative, and requires the creativity to make the experience seamless to the participants.

A successful senior center model should include aspects of health, personal and support services; opportunities for socialization, travel and volunteering; special events, intellectual engagement, artistic expression and fitness and well-being programs.

The real key is not only to provide it, but to provide it with heart and true intention, so programming interests are made available to all older adults. This means a careful examination of the balance and diversity of programs being offered and taking into consideration the interest, affordability, skill requirement, timeliness and relevance to the participants.

So, be as careful planning senior activities as you are in planning Little League.

Seniors have an equally important place in the community and perhaps even more in recreational programming: their options are more limited, but your programming shouldn’t be.

Anne Lane, CPRP, is the Senior Center Manager for the city of McMinnville Parks & Recreation Department in McMinnville, Ore. She can be reached via e-mail at

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  4. Fitness Cycles
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