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Top 5 Ways for the Aging to Remain Socially Engaged


5
Join a Senior Center
Making connections
Making connections
© iStockphoto/bonniej

Ground zero for anyone wishing to find new activities and to make new connections with people is the local community senior center. There are nearly 15,000 senior centers in the United States, and around 10 million seniors use their services each year [source: Dal Santo].

Senior centers are essentially social clubs for older adults that offer free (or at least inexpensive) classes, activities and day trips. The centers are usually operated on a nonprofit basis, sometimes by a religious organization or a municipality, and offer a wide variety of services, including lunches (and sometimes breakfast and dinner). Some centers offer transportation to and from the center from seniors' homes, ensuring that people who are homebound still have the opportunity to socialize with their peers.

Many of these are large multipurpose facilities, though some are smaller nutrition sites that focus on providing meals and basic health information. Whether the center is large or small, it plays a big part in providing social contact for seniors: More than six out of 10 seniors who regularly visit their local senior centers say it's the only source of daily interaction they have (with blacks and Hispanics reporting even higher numbers) [source: Dal Santo].

And that's not all -- you might also be able to find job training, exercise classes and volunteer positions at your local facility.