The Older Americans Act of 1965 laid the foundation for what was to become Senior Centers and the Aging Services Network, including the Area Agencies on Aging that support them. In 1973, under the Comprehensive Services Amendments to the Older Americans Act, grant funding was made available to community agencies to create both the Area Agencies on Aging and multi-purpose Senior Centers.
As a the historical focal point for aging services and aging services programs, Senior Centers have continued to grow and prosper under the various reauthorizations of the Older Americans Act. These reauthorizations have expanded senior nutrition services; established supportive services to help seniors remain independent; and added distinct appropriations for the establishment of in-home services for the frail elderly, a long-term care with special needs, health education and promotion, elder abuse prevention, and SSI, Medicaid, and Medicare outreach efforts.
In addition to being both the supportive services and social engagement focal points for seniors within their respective communities, Senior Centers continue to develop, expand, and coordinate efforts to provide information and assistance; undertake outreach and enrollment efforts; distribute health promotion information and host programs; sponsor recreation and education programs; make supportive counseling available; and provide employment assistance, transportation, telephone reassurance programs, advocacy, friendly visiting, and many more services.
In addition, Senior Centers also provide educational programs; Chronic Disease Self Management programs; legal advice; health promotion classes; trips, dancing and yoga; advocacy for senior issues; and caregiver support services. Senior Centers provide a place for individuals in their respective communities to volunteer their time and their energies, share their talents and experiences, and contribute to a more vibrant and diverse community. As nutrition and meal sites for older adults, Senior Centers provide both congregate meals that are served on-site, as well as home delivered meals. Both types of meals are funded through the Older Americans Act Title III, state, and local funds.
Eligibility for Senior Center programs and services is 60 years of age or older, although volunteers and guests of all ages are welcome and encouraged to call or visit, to find out how they can participate and help. Adult dependents with disabilities of those over 60 years of age are also welcome at Senior Centers, and can share in meals with their senior participant.
There is no application for participation in most center-based activities and programs, although registration is usually required after a few initial visits as a guest.
The Bluegrass Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living has senior centers in each of our seventeen counties with Madison County having a senior center in Richmond as well as another center in Berea.