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3 Reasons Senior Travel Plans Should Include Visiting Senior Centers

“Senior’s love to travel! “ This love for travel factors significantly into the lives of today’s seniors and they have much more freedom to travel without the restrictions of past generations. Most airlines, car rentals, hotels and motels offer senior discounts. This gives seniors the ability to travel further and spend more time away from home than any other generation. For many seniors factors such as does the destination cater to seniors, the cost and availability of discounts, and how does the destination meet the seniors need for adventure, growth, and learning determine where they travel to and how much they spend when traveling. This is where senior travel plans that include visiting senior centers can play a part in turning the travel plans into a fun and exciting experience.

1. Senior Centers Exist to Serve Seniors!
A Senior Center’s mission is to serve the needs of seniors! Programs and services that are available at individual Senior Centers have proven to help seniors live longer and stay independent. This is accomplished through a wide range of recreational, educational, and social activities that are developed to meet the needs of Seniors. With over “11,000 Senior Centers located in many great travel destinations across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada,” senior travelers are sure to find activities and events that will make their trip more memorable. Go to senior.center.com and search the state where you plan to travel and see for yourself. In addition, traveling seniors that visit senior center’s during their travels have the opportunity to meet new people and make lasting friendships and memories.

2. Lunch (Congregate) Meals are Offered at Most Senior Centers!
As part of the The Older Americans Act many Senior Center’s receive funding to support congregate meals. Meals are free of charge to Seniors over the age of 60. The center may ask for a suggested donation ranging from $2.00 to $6.00 for the lunch meal, but no one over the age of 60 can be refused a meal due to their inability to pay. If you would like to try food from a variety of cultures than you are welcome to visit the Center for Health Living,- Multicultural Senior Center in Lynnwood, Washington and, for $6.00 a person, enjoy a lunch meal from the Chinese, Korean, Filipino, or Southeast Asian culture. The Carl Gipson Senior Center in Everett, Washington offers a Hispanic lunch meal on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, at noon.

Just visit senior.center.com and you can easily search for a senior center that you would like to visit for lunch. The days of week meals are available, time, suggested donation or cost for non residents, and reservation requirements, including phone number and eligibility, are there to help reserve your meal. (If for some reason you are not going to make it in time, call to cancel your reservation.)

3. Senior Centers are the Focal Point of the Community that they Serve
Community Senior Centers are where anyone who wants to learn about the culture of a community should visit. This is because each center is the focal point of the community that they serve. If you want to learn about the Chinese American culture than go visit a Senior Center that supports the Chinese communities in San Jose- San Francisco- Oakland, Los Angeles, or New York City. Some of the most favorite activities at many senior centers include the Humming Yo Yo, Mahjong, and Tai Chi; with each of these activities having origins in the Chinese culture. In addition, most of the Chinese American senior centers have art classes in Chinese painting and Chinese calligraphy; two of the oldest art forms in China.

Even traveling seniors who are part of the many diverse cultures living in the United States and abroad can find a senior center that has programs and activities that focus on their culture. If you are a Senior who is part of the LGBT community there are many Senior Centers that should be included in your travel plans. There are three Senior Centers that come to my mind immediately for LGBT seniors visiting Seattle; Senior Center of West Seattle, Northwest Senior Center and SE Seattle Senior Center. Rainbow Bingo, which began at Senior Center of West Seattle, is now offered at each of the three Seattle center’s.

For many seniors in the Hispanic community English is not their first language and innovative programs are offered at many senior centers that focus on this underserved senior population. Stamford Senior Center in Connecticut offers a rich variety of activities and educational lectures, ESL and information and assistance to Spanish speaking Seniors. The Center for Healthy Living is a “multicultural Senior Center located in Lynnwood, Washington and supports the Chinese, Korean, Filipino and Spanish community by offering programs and services that focus on the needs of each group.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) describes those senior’s that regularly participate in the programs, classes, and activities offered at senior center’s as celebrating learning, independence, friends, and energy (LIFE). Seniors that regularly visit senior centers are healthier, happier, and enjoy life more than seniors that do not. By visiting a Senior Center during your travels you not only get to meet great people, enjoy good meals, and learn about the community and culture, but you are also playing a role in continuing the programs that benefit all seniors. If you have never visited a Senior Center go to senior.center.com and make plans to visit your local Senior Center and find out, for yourself, exactly why visiting Senior Center’s during traveling can be a fun way to travel.

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