September is National Senior Center Month, and it is very fitting to have “The Key to Aging Well” as its theme. Senior Centers are the perfect location for adults to learn and stay connected. According to a Harvard University study, two key findings for successful aging are social connections and staying mentally active.
The Harvard Study of Adult Development is one of the longest and most comprehensive examinations of aging ever conducted. Since the 1930s, researchers have studied 800 men and women from adolescence into old age to learn about behaviors that translate into happy and healthy longevity.
Aging successfully, according to psychiatrist George Valliant, MD, director of the study, is best achieved with another person. Therefore, whether your social connections are with a spouse, bridge partners or fellow members of a senior center, these connections are crucial to good health while growing older.
Additionally, in this study, Valliant found that curiosity and creativity helped transform older people into seemingly younger ones. Individuals who are always learning new things, maintaining a playful spirit and finding new friends are making the most of the aging process.
Most senior centers are open Monday through Friday, and many offer meals for a small donation. Daily scheduled activities may include wellness, educational and recreational activities, and much more. Senior centers also serve as a gateway to the nation’s aging network by connecting older adults to vital community services that can help them stay healthy and independent.
More benefits and impact of senior centers:
- Research shows that older adults who participate in senior center programs can learn to manage and delay the onset of chronic disease and experience measurable improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental and economic well-being.
- Today’s senior centers are reinventing themselves to meet the needs and desires of the aging baby boom generation. Boomers now constitute more than two-thirds of the 50+ population. Senior centers are developing new programs and opportunities for this dynamic generation of older adults.
For a complete listing of senior centers in southwestern Ohio, visit our resource directory listing of senior centers.
Information from National Council on Aging and Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study Reprint Edition by George E. Vaillant