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Senior centers help older adults stay healthy, indepenent

To the Editor,

The older adult population of today is significantly different than the older adult populations of yesterday and of tomorrow. Senior centers have long been important community resources and have evolved to meet the needs of older adults and their families.  

In Rhode Island, local senior centers are key partners to the Division of Elderly Affairs. Senior centers are connecting older adults to services that can help them stay healthy, independent and living in the community for years. Meal and nutrition programs; benefits counseling; health, fitness and wellness programs; and volunteer and civic engagement opportunities are just a few of the services available. 

Senior centers are gateways in the community where adults can manage and monitor their health, socialize with friends, access benefits, learn new skills and, most importantly, have fun. 

We know that most adults want to live independently in their own homes as they age. As the Rhode Island State Unit on Aging, the Division of Elderly Affairs is actively involved in the realignment of the long term care system, enabling older adults and families to make choices that suit their needs. 

Senior centers are, and will continue to be, integral to informing and assisting seniors and their families in making decisions about long term care.  The senior centers also provide programming and social interactions that can prevent or delay the need for more costly levels of care by helping to keep seniors healthy and engaged.

Rhode Island has a long list of vibrant and active senior centers. Many municipalities have senior centers that welcome residents and non-residents alike. For a list of centers in Rhode Island, contact the Division of Elderly Affairs at (401) 462-3000.

Meghan Connelly

RI Division of Elderly Affiairs

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