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North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services


Senior Centers

The new H. Lawrence Patrick Senior Life and Conference Center

A multipurpose senior center is a community facility where older adults come together for services and activities that reflect their skills and interests and respond to their diverse needs. Centers are a resource for the entire community, providing services and information on aging, and assisting family and friends who care for older persons. For older persons at risk of losing their self-sufficiency, senior centers are the entry point to an array of services that will help them maintain their independence. Any variety of services to individuals or groups may be accessed depending on local community circumstances. Persons of differing backgrounds share and learn from each other. Persons of all ages with all types of skills and interests are needed to perform vital roles and enhance the services and programs at the centers. Whether you are available once a week or once a year, a senior center can use your help.The U.S. Administration on Aging's fact sheet on senior centers provides additional background information on this community resource. So does the National Institute on Senior Centers (NISC) of the National Council on the Aging.

Examples of individual services at senior centers are information and referral, case assistance, in-home assistance, home-delivered meals, job finding and training, legal assistance, health insurance counseling and claims assistance, transportation, and volunteer opportunities. Examples of group services are group meals, educational sessions, cultural events, health education sessions and wellness activities, retirement planning, self-help peer groups, community service projects, intergenerational programs, volunteer opportunities, and recreational trips.

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During 1998-99 the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services launched a new initiative designed to enhance the operation and programming of senior centers. With the help of a State Task Force, the Division identified a model with two tiers: The Center of Merit and The Center of Excellence. These models are described in the 2007-2011 State Aging Services Plan.

The task force then developed a certification process known as SCOPE [Senior Center Operations and Program Evaluation]. This Self-Assessment Tool and Score Guide is used to measure centers for merit or excellence or defines areas where improvement is needed in order to qualify for such designation. Two centers volunteered to pilot the model concept during August, 1999, and both received recognition as Senior Centers of Excellence. These centers are the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, Rowan County, Salisbury, NC and the Chatham County Senior Center and Council on Aging, Pittsboro, NC. Since this time, more than 44% of the state's senior centers are certified as either centers of "Merit" or "Excellence". These centers are listed in the Senior Center Directory. Such designation allows a center to be recognized as a viable, fundable, and qualified provider of services within the community and will afford them the right to describe themselves as state-certified Center of Merit or Excellence in their literature, grant applications, and marketing materials. Certification will also eliminate the need for future HCCBG Standards monitoring.

A more detailed description of the process may be found in the NC Senior Center Certification Process Brochure

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Last updated August 13, 2014


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Senior Centers Directory
(Receiving NC-DAAS Funding)

The Ann Johnson Institute for Senior Center Management

NC Senior Center Certification Process Brochure

Tools for the Senior Center Certification Process (SCOPE)

Senior Center Survey 2008