Senior centers: Patterns of programs and services
Pardasani, Manoj Pahlaj
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This study examined the factors that influence senior center programming. The diverse types of programs and services offered by various senior centers in New York State were identified. Several characteristics of the senior centers were evaluated for the impact they have on the types of programs and services offered, including the senior center classification, model of service, geographical location, size of annual budget, and the demographics of senior center staff, leadership, and participants. In addition, the role that resources and sources of funding play in the eventual selection of services offered was also examined.;This study was quantitative. The author designed anonymous survey questionnaires and mailed them to 600 senior center administrators and/or directors in New York State. A total of 218 completed questionnaires were returned to the author for compilation, yielding a response rate of 36.3%. The data was analyzed with the aid of the SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) software program and bivariate analysis which examined the degree of influence of identified factors on senior center programming.;Factors such as the model of a senior center (i.e. voluntary participation or social services agency), level of public funding, geographical location, education level of administrators, number of professional and bilingual staff, the age and ethnic distribution of participants, establishment of community linkages, and the assessment of consumer needs were found to have a statistically significant impact on the number and types of programs and services provided by a senior center.;The author urges senior center administrators to expand and diversify their programs to meet the varied needs of the rapidly growing elderly population. To accomplish this task, the author recommends that senior centers institute innovative programming, implement new fund-raising techniques, develop strategic partnerships with public and private organizations, and incorporate formalized needs assessments to ensure their continued relevance to the continuum of care for the elderly.