Frequently Asked Questions
- What kinds of classes are offered in senior centers?
- How old do you have to be to join a senior center?
- What are the fees?
- Do senior centers provide transportation?
- Do seniors live in senior centers?
- I still work; are senior centers just for retired people?
- My loved one has slowed down, and spends most of the day watching TV. The doctor thinks it would be good for her to get out more. What could she do at a senior center?
Q: What kinds of classes are offered in senior centers?
A: Senior centers offer a wide array of affordable classes and activities for seniors. They offer social, fitness, recreational, and educational classes and programs. Most centers publish a schedule of classes with course descriptions and fees. Call your local senior center or Senior Information and Assistance Office to find out what classes are offered in your area.
Q: How old do you have to be to join a senior center?
A: Eligibility to join a senior center varies by senior center or jurisdiction. For instance, in Baltimore County you must be 60 years of age or older to join one of their 19 senior centers. Baltimore County senior centers also allow spouses of those 60 years of age and older to become a member. In Anne Arundel and Calvert counties the age requirement is 55 years, while the Joseph Center in Baltimore City allows those 18 years and older to join.
Q: What are the fees?
A: Fees to participate in a senior center depend on the activities in which the member participates. Fees are usually associated with classes, trips, transportation, special events, and meals. Some senior centers have a membership or registration fee that is collected during the registration process.
Q: Do senior centers provide transportation?
A: Options for transportation to senior centers vary by each county and center. Some centers operate a van service or contract with a private transportation company to bring members to the center. In some areas, government agencies contract or purchase their own vans or buses to provide transportation. Some counties or cities in Maryland have developed partnerships to provide discounted taxicab rides to seniors. Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is another option for transportation to some senior centers.
Q: Do seniors live in senior centers?
A: No, seniors do not live in senior centers. Senior centers are similar to recreational or community centers except they are for older adults. Seniors choose classes and activities and visit centers when they wish.
Q: I still work; are senior centers just for retired people?
A: No, senior centers are not just for retired people. Many working seniors participate in senior centers as long as they meet the center's age requirement. In fact, many senior centers are open in the evening and on weekends so that working seniors can benefit from the programs and activities offered in senior centers.
Q: My loved one would like to go on day trips with people her age. What trips do senior centers offer?
A: Many senior centers in Maryland offer a wide variety of travel opportunities. Day trips and extended overnight trips are available. The cost of trips is usually very reasonable. Day excursions often include shopping malls and outlets, dinner theaters, museums, performing arts theaters, and local attractions.
Q: My loved one has slowed down, and spends most of the day watching TV. The doctor thinks it would be good for her to get out more. What could she do at a senior center?
A: Your loved one could come on a regular basis and join an exercise class like chair exercise, aerobics, dance, or Tai Chi. She could get in touch with her artistic side and take an art class such as painting, ceramics, or drawing. She could learn a new language, take a computer class, join a book club, or learn to quilt or carve wood. She could also volunteer at the center. She could go on day and overnight trips through the center's travel program.
If your mother prefers to come sporadically, she could have lunch and attend special events and parties, health screenings, health lectures, and consumer education seminars of interest to her. You local senior center is sure to offer many programs and activities that will pique your mother's interest and get her active again!