NCOA - National Council on Aging

02/09/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/09/2018 12:00

Nine centers achieve National Senior Center Accreditation in January

Congratulations to the nine senior centers that achieved National Senior Center Accreditation in January 2018. Of our newly accredited centers, four are from the City of Albuquerque, NM, four from Senior Community Services, Delaware County, Pennsylvania and one from Hanover Township, Bartlett, IL.

Six senior center and two multi-generational centers of the City of Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs maintain national accreditation status. This is the second accreditation for four Albuquerque sites. The remaining four sites are due to complete their second accreditation next year.

Los Volcanes Senior Center

Los Volcanes Senior Center opened to the public in 1990. It was, and is, the first and only 'senior center' on the West Side of the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque/Bernalillo County. It was the sixth of the eight current centers that is operated by the Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs. It is primarily an urban center, but covers a suburban area of Bernalillo County as well. The building hosts the 13,500 sq. ft. Senior Center, as well as the Share Your Care Adult Respite Day Care Center and Child Care center. The entire footage of the building is 17,649. The Los Volcanes Sports and Fitness Center sits adjacent to the Senior Center and occupies 6100 sq. feet. It functions as a fitness and wellness facility of the Department of Senior Affairs for members 50 years of age and older. Los Volcanes Senior Centers accepts members who are 50+years of age.

The peer reviewer noted the following Senior Center strengths:

  • Committed staff, volunteers and participants
  • Diversity of available programming
  • Facility appearance is an asset, along with its location and overall functionality (especially once renovation is completed)
  • The large, freestanding fitness center is an asset and has increased memberships and attracted a younger base. The facility is open 7 am - 7 pm.
  • Pickleball is a large and growing program with 2 sessions daily (morning and afternoon) held in the large social room. It should be noted that staff are required to set up and tear down the 14 tables and chairs for these sessions twice daily (this area is also the dining room for breakfast and lunch programs)
  • Strong relationship with University of New Mexico for daily water fitness and exercise programming

North Valley Senior Center

North Valley Senior Center opened to the public in August 1980. It was, and is, the first and only 'senior center' in the North Valley in Albuquerque/Bernalillo County. It was the third of the eight current centers operated by the Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs. It is primarily an urban center serving one of the older, more established areas of the city, serving the Bernalillo County area as well. The building hosts the 18,145 sq. ft. Senior Center, as well as a Share Your Care Adult Respite Day Care Center. The North Valley Senior Center includes a new fitness center addition which was open on May 2015, a multi-use social hall where meals are served, hosts dances, special events, exercise classes, and presentations. Additionally, the center contains two classrooms, a computer lab, billiards hall, library/card game room and a main lobby. North Valley Senior Center accepts members who are 50+ years of age. North Valley Senior Center

The peer reviewer noted the following Senior Center strengths:

  • Committed staff, volunteers and participants
  • Diversity of available programming
  • Facility appearance, location and overall functionality (especially once renovation is completed)
  • The new (2015) fitness center is a huge asset and has increased memberships and attracted a younger base. The facility is open 7 am - 7 pm.
  • Flexibility of the City to allow for self-directed programming within Centers - such as the fishing and hiking groups that are able to sign out a City van and travel to their pre-determined destination (on file with the Center). Note that the driver must complete the training required by the City and be certified to drive the vehicles.
  • Relationship with University of New Mexico for daily water fitness and exercise programming

Palo Duro Senior Center

The Palo Duro Senior Center opened in 1974 and was the first senior center built by the City of Albuquerque, Department of Senior Affairs. The Center is located by Montgomery Park and in between the Erna Ferguson Library and Montgomery Pool which are also run by the City of Albuquerque. The building is 15,000 square feet of space with nine multipurpose rooms, a lobby area, offices, and a kitchen.

The Senior Center is open Monday-Friday 8:00 AM-5:00 PM with extra hours on Wednesday when they are open until 7:00 PM and Saturday from 9:00-1:00 and on Wednesday from 8:00AM -7:00 PM. The Center accepts members who are 50+ years of age and the membership fee is $15 per year.

The peer reviewer noted the following Senior Center strengths:

  • The participation starting age of 50 years old encourages and supports younger older adults.
  • Participants expressed appreciation for the Center Director
  • Great variety of programming
  • Impressive number of volunteers and empowerment by staff.
  • Attractive newsletter with easy to read font. The contest to name the Palo Duro Buzz was a fun activity to get seniors involved.
  • A promising practice was displayed with the program titled 'Senior I Know'. The Senior Services Agency administers this program with school age children writing and older adults judging the winning entry. This has the potential for replication at other centers.
  • The facility had a variety of rooms available for programming and they are also available for community members to use.
  • The Veterans Wall is a wonderful tribute to the members who served in the military.

Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center

The Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center opened in August of 2002. It included two phases with phase one opening with 27,000 square feet in August of 2002 and phase two added an additional 10,000 square feet gymnasium that opened five years later in 2007. It was the first multi-generational facility built in New Mexico and is located in the South East quadrant of Albuquerque which is an urban setting. The facility accepts members ages six and older. The membership fee is $15 a person per year.

The peer reviewer noted the following Senior Center strengths:

  • The participation starting age of 50 encourages and supports younger older adults.
  • Participants expressed appreciation for the Center Director and creative staff
  • Great variety of programming
  • Impressive number of volunteers and empowerment by staff. For example, a volunteer position created for an individual who offered to replace imitation plants with live plants.
  • Attractive newsletter with easy to read font. The newsletter's name is appealing and memorable. It is titled Mc3 News.
  • A promising practice was displayed with the program titled 'Senior I Know'. The Senior Services Agency administers this program with school age children writing and older adults judging the winning entry. This has the potential for replication at other centers.
  • The facility is sparkling clean, had a variety of rooms available for programming and they are also available for community members to use.
  • The Veterans Wall is a wonderful tribute to the members who served in the military.

Hanover Township Senior Center

Hanover Township Senior Center is located in suburban Cook County, Bartlett, IL. The center is thirty-four miles west of Chicago. All townships in the state of Illinois are thirty-six square miles. Hanover Township encompasses the villages of Streamwood, Bartlett, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Elgin and a small portion of Schaumburg. The township is a government entity that is run by elected officials: Supervisor, Clerk, Trustees (four), and an Assessor. Hanover Township has twelve different departments serving the needs of residents of all ages. The Administrator, hired by the board, oversees the operations and supervises the Director of each department.

The Department of Senior Services offers a wide variety of advantages to adults aged fifty-five and older. Transportation, enrichment and lifelong learning opportunities, social services, café, home delivered meal program, and a wide breadth of volunteer opportunities continue to engage people in participating in programs and services.

Hanover Township Senior Center was dedicated on April 2, 2005. It is a visible symbol of the support that the community has for its elders. 2,423 unduplicated participants attend our programs annually; with an average daily attendance of 170 people.

The peer reviewer noted the following Senior Center strengths:

  • The kick-off for the self-assessment process included a workshop conducted by Christine Beatty highlighting self-directed teams. It is apparent that this concept has been embraced by staff, Township administration, and lead volunteers.
  • The facility is well maintained and has expanded office space into the lower level since the 2012 accreditation process. This enabled Social Services to be moved to the lower level and main level space became available for expanded programming
  • Having the Community Health Department nursing staff co-located expands resources and impact of the Hanover Township Senior Services social work staff.
  • Having bilingual staff in their changing demographic is essential.
  • Volunteer materials and operation are very strong.
  • Support from the Township government (financial and administrative) is apparent and lends to very strong programming for their constituency.

Senior Community Services

Senior Community Services (SCS) is the sponsoring agency of four senior centers (Chester, Friendship Circle, Good Neighbor and Schoolhouse). The four centers nurture the mind, body and soul of active older adults. They offer health screenings, informative lectures, intergenerational activities, trips and cultural celebrations. Nearly 7,000 individuals made 83,743 visits to SCS Centers last year. SCS also offers a number of in home, benefits checkup and enrollment, aging and disability resource services, transportation, health insurance counseling, and other services throughout Delaware County.

This is the third accreditation for these sites. The self-assessment process provided valuable input for the programmatic and administrative spheres of senior center operation. Equally important, the endeavor enhanced community knowledge and support for Senior Community Services and its senior centers.

Chester Senior Center

Chester Senior Center is a suburban center located, founded in 1977, in the eastern section of Delaware County Pennsylvania, in the city of Chester. Chester is situated on the Delaware River between Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia.

Chester Senior Center offers a variety of health and wellness, arts and humanities, educational, volunteer, recreation, intergenerational and caregiver support programs, as well as information/referral and congregate lunch-time and home-delivered meals. Transportation to and from the center, and for recreational excursions is provided, and several other services can be accessed, through Senior Community Services.

Chester Senior Center has developed more than 20 community partnerships in which center staff and advisory council members serve, and that offer a number of services and informational programs at the center. Examples of partnerships include: Crozier Library, Widener University, Neumann University, Goodwill Industries, Community Transit, PA Humanities Council, Northwestern Human Services, Legal Aide, Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Crozier Keystone Health System, Aetna Health, and PA Department of Agriculture.

The peer reviewer noted the following Senior Center strengths:

  • Strong experienced leadership though the Director, who was also very plugged into the community;
  • Dedicated staff who had experience working with seniors in other settings which allowed them to understand the benefits of senior center programs;
  • An engaged Advisory Board whose members were very much involved in the center, as well as the community;
  • Strong and varied programs that often took place simultaneously in the crowded multipurpose room;
  • An excellent evaluation program that effectively substantiated the benefit of senior center programs to participants,
  • The onsite nursing partnership with Neumann College that supported wellness programs and also offered a comfortable way for members to monitor their health status;
  • The benefit of having many administrative tasks supported by Senior Community Services, allowing center staff to focus on delivering programs and services to participants; and
  • A comprehensive policies and procedures manual.

Friendship Circle Senior Center

The Friendship Circle Senior Center is a suburban Senior Center located in the eastern section of Delaware County, along Philadelphia's southwestern border. The Friendship Circle has been open since 1977 and its first home was a one room facility with just a handful of members. The Center moved into its new location on the campus off the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in 1991.

The peer reviewer noted the following Senior Center strengths:

  • Great community connections and a strong relationship with the Hospital.
  • Director was well organized and knowledgeable about the community and the facility.
  • Wall art throughout the building featured Senior Center artists which gave the building an attractive and personal touch.
  • Printed material was colorful, attractive, and easy to read.
  • Very involved volunteers who took pride in the programs they were responsible for running.
  • Great program idea with a Progressive Dinner where each Senior Center hosted a portion of the meal and participants traveled to the four Centers to get acquainted and show off their facility.
  • Volunteer Handbook was extensive and included mission and vision statement for the organization.
  • Creative utilization of space employed by changing the computer lab into a needed classroom. A great example of how staff are watching the trends and changing as needed.
  • A wonderful large community garden area in front of the Center where participants grow and then sell fresh vegetables.

Good Neighbor Senior Center

The Good Neighbor Senior Center is a suburban Senior Center located in the eastern section of Delaware County, along Philadelphia's southwestern border. The Center encourages older adults to enrich their livers through activity and knowledge. The Center welcome people 50 and older. The Center provides educational and recreational activities which ensure meaningful leisure time, promote health and wellness, encourage an active lifestyle, promote a friendly environment for socialization and provide information, referral and support to facilitate efforts of other senior service providers.

The peer reviewer noted the following Senior Center strengths:

  • Active volunteers who take a role in the direction and planning of the Center.
  • A Director who is able to work with a variety of personalities and a vocal group of participants to bring the Center together into a cohesive group after challenging times.
  • Printed material that is colorful, attractive, and easy to read.
  • Great program idea with a Progressive Dinner where each Senior Center hosted a portion of the meal and participants traveled to the four Centers to get acquainted and show off their facility.
  • Volunteer Handbook was extensive and included the mission and vision statement for the organization.
  • A variety of partnerships to provide surplus food and other items to participants.
  • A variety of programs and services to meet the needs of the community.

Schoolhouse Senior Center

Schoolhouse Senior Center is located in Fulsom, Pennsylvania, which is in Ridley Township of Delaware County in the far southeast section of the state. The center is currently open 5 days and 45 hours per week, including Thursday evening programming. It serves over 18 municipalities and townships in the County.

Schoolhouse Center facility is shared with the offices of Senior Community Services (SCS) located on the second floor. The center offers a variety of health and wellness, arts and humanities, educational, volunteer, recreational, intergenerational, and caregiver support programs, as well as information/referral, and congregate lunch-time and home-delivered meals. Transportation to and from the center, and for recreational excursions is also provided.

Schoolhouse has developed more than 20 community partnerships in which center staff and Advisory Council members also participate, and that offer of number of services and informational programs at the center.

The peer reviewer noted the following Senior Center strengths:

  • A strong, experienced long serving Director who managed a wide range of programs and services in very tight quarters;
  • A dedicated, committed advisory board and volunteers who are integrally involved in the center as well as the community;
  • An amazing array of programs and services delivered in a very limited facility space. ( I still can't quite get over the number of activities co-existing in the same multipurpose rooms);
  • Having a strong 'mother agency' that relieves center staff of more administrative burdens, policies and procedures, fund development, etc. allowing them to focus on serving seniors;
  • An excellent comprehensive evaluation plan (including academic consultation) and the co-pilot record system that provides a very good handle on what is going on at the center;
  • Strong community connections and support, and an ambitious outreach plan; and
  • The commitment and vision of the agency leader (virtually since inception)

Two multi-site organizations completed accreditation of 8 sites in January. Senior Community Services looked at other quality improvement programs but decided to continue with national accreditation. They noted that the self-assessment process provided valuable input for the programmatic and administrative spheres of senior center operation. Equally important, the endeavor enhanced community knowledge and support for Senior Community Services and its senior centers. Consider accreditation for your city or county wide senior centers. Learn how the National Senior Center Standards and self-assessment process can help you achieve excellence at your center. Link to NISC Accreditation page.