Positive Aging SourceBook
Posted by Positive Aging SourceBook on 01/20/2022

Reinventing the "Senior Center"


Learn how an award-winning innovative center was conceptualized, designed, and opened to support healthy aging through social engagement, physical well-being, civic involvement, creativity, and lifelong learning!

  • Peter Thompson, Executive Director The Center at Belvedere
  • Jeff Dreyfus, Principal Bushman Dreyfus Architects  

Questions Answered:

  • What flooring do you use and how do you handle acoustics which are so difficult for people with hearing loss.  New centers have way too much echo from the high ceilings and other factors.
  • We are looking to convert our Senior Center to an intergenerational center.  The local parks and rec department partnered with our university community design center and the Age Friendly Bozeman (local AARP Livable Community organization) during Covid to merge the Senior Center with a new intergenerational center and eventually merge
  • the two. But the concern from the director was that they might lose their funding if it wasn't just a center that served seniors. Any insight on that from Peter?
  • Did you expand your thinking on how to reach younger “seniors” ~ most of whom will be working during usual senior center hours ~ into your facility design and programming such as expanded hours, more active adult needs/desires, lifelong learning, etc?.
  • some examples of sound absorption materials would be helpful.  One out of 3 seniors over 65 and 2 out of 3 over the age of 75 have a hearing loss.  Today's younger people will age into that category.  A couple of senior/community centers in our area have been rebuilt, are gorgeous, and horrendous acoustically --- all echo throughout.  How do you ensure that doesn't happen in a new center?
  • Did you expand your thinking on how to reach younger “seniors” ~ most of whom will be working during usual senior center hours ~ into your facility design and programming such as expanded hours, more active adult offerings, lifelong learning, etc.
  • do you have any built-in listening systems, such as a loop or FM?
  • This is an amazing space with so many opportunities for older adults! Do you have relationships with nearby senior communities that allow their residents access to your programs? Deb Merriner, Buckley's for Seniors, Premium Companion Care, Transportation, and Care Management, 703-390-0535
  • How did you address the need for adequate accessible storage for fitness as well as general storage?  What about easy access for maintenance areas?
  • Have the concern for less active seniors been addressed? Everyone age in place and some may not be as active, do they fit in?
  • How did you address the ability to remain open and functional despite covid and/or future pandemics?  Can you talk about your HVAC system?  Air flow ?  Ultra violet light?
  • What type of intergenerational programs do you offer?
  • How do people get to the center? Public Transport from where?

Chat Transcript:

12:08:42     From  Poppy Foddrell : Hello, Poppy Foddrell with Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services and the Area Agency on Aging. Support Coordinator for Aging Services

12:08:49     From  Ashok Kapur   to   Ellen Pincus and all panelists : Good morning Ellen,

They are $15/each or $250/box of 20

12:08:51     From  Poppy Foddrell : 540-792-1155

12:09:04     From  Karen De Mijango : Hello - Karen De Mijango from Fairfax County.

12:10:04     From  Jenna Lawrence : Hi everyone! Jenna Lawrence here from Windy Hill Senior Center in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania.

12:10:57     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Sourcebook : From Jean Saunders to All Panelists 12:07 PM

Jean Saunders with Age Friendly Saco, Maine

12:11:11     From  Jean-Marie Minton   to   Hosts and panelists : Hello! Jean-Marie Minton, SRES realtor in Boston’s North Shore. Located here in Lynn, MA where they are just re-creating a senior center

12:11:14     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Sourcebook : From Carol Fuentevilla to All Panelists 12:05 PM

Carol Fuentevilla, retired MC Holiday Park Sr Ctr

12:11:31     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Sourcebook : From Janie Scott to All Panelists 12:05 PM

Hi. Janie Scott (OT) calling in from Cape Coral, FL

12:12:07     From  Deanna Jones : Deanna Jones, Thompson Center in Woodstock, VT, Vermont Association of Senior Centers and Meal Providers.  Big fan of Peter!

12:13:38     From  Teresa Hilton : I would absolutely go to my senior center! It's pretty cool! Rockville Senior Center, Rockville, Md.

12:15:35     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Sourcebook : From Jean-Marie Minton to All Panelists 12:11 PM

Hello! Jean-Marie Minton, SRES realtor in Boston’s North Shore. Located here in Lynn, MA where they are just re-creating a senior center

12:15:59     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Sourcebook : From Jean Saunders to All Panelists 12:07 PM

Jean Saunders with Age Friendly Saco, Maine

12:18:42     From  Sharon Canner : Reaching out to Jean Saunders in Saco, ME.  I grew up in Biddeford, now in VA, Reston for a Lifetime. sharo.canner8@gmail.com

12:18:44     From  Christy MacCormack   to   Hosts and panelists : Hello everyone, I’m Christy MacCormack from NABORFORCE.

12:19:09     From  Jonathan May : Hi All. Jon May with Rosenberg Martin Greenberg. We represent service the legal needs of many nonprofit organizations that provide  a variety of housing, care and services for seniors in Maryland and the mid-Atlantic.

12:20:12     From  Mindy Dopler Nelson : Having just turned 63, I have been going to the Senior Center in Lowell, MA.  Everything they do targets their 80 and 90 year olds. They also assume that people who are 60+ years old are retired and available before they close at 3pm M-F

12:23:14     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Sourcebook : From Carol Fuentevilla to All Panelists 12:05 PM

Carol Fuentevilla, retired MC Holiday Park Sr Ctr

12:23:24     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Sourcebook : From Christy MacCormack to All Panelists 12:18 PM

Hello everyone, I’m Christy MacCormack from NABORFORCE.

12:26:18     From  Anthony Fasolo : Tony Fasolo from Leesburg VA here.  I am a member of the Commission on Aging for Loudoun County(LC)  VA.  We are an advisory commission appointed by LC Supervisors. We have several Senior centers with a State of the Art Center opening last year in Ashburn VA..  I am here today to learn how we could do things better. One item we are discussing  now is the term SENIOR Center--I know that many, including  my 82 year old wife do not like to go to anything named a SENIOR Center--So are other communities using a different name??

12:28:01     From  Mindy Dopler Nelson : @Tony Fasolo, my 86 year old mother also wouldn't go anywhere that was a SENIOR center. Neither will my 60+ year old friends

12:29:33     From  Anthony Fasolo : Thanks Mindy

12:35:42     From  Mindy Dopler Nelson : This model is amazing

12:36:44     From  Christy MacCormack   to   Hosts and panelists : Naborforce in Charlottesville mentioned to me that they LOVE what you are doing there!

12:37:09     From  gloria Gaddy : This is truly necessary for a life well lived !!!

12:38:43     From  Nancie Barwick : This is amazing!  It’s really sad that so few places are this forward-thinking. I agree that the name “Senior Center” is a liability.

12:39:55     From  Adam Decker : This is beautiful and well-planned. How many members does the center & how many people attend in a given day/week?

12:40:55     From  Jean-Marie Minton   to   Hosts and panelists : Just gorgeous. So many questions…Square footage? How is this funded?

12:41:10     From  Jean-Marie Minton   to   Hosts and panelists : Is there a membership fee?

12:41:37     From  Nancie Barwick : Having a family medicine clinic is great, not only for the members but for the general community so they support the center.

12:42:05     From  Denise Valerio : This is amazing!!  And I am so deeply impressed with Peter and Jeff and their off the chart presentation.  Great synergy.  I am part of a community task force working on an aging in place/Village concept and while this inspires me raising the money feels overwhelming but doable!!  Wow!!

12:42:40     From  Diane Watson : Hello Everyone, I'm Diane Watson, contact person for  Spring Hill Community Village in Lorton, VA 22079 703-843-7073

12:42:42     From  Mindy Dopler Nelson : LOVE the outdoor space and coffee shop!

12:43:46     From  Mindy Dopler Nelson : There aren't windows at my Senior Center. It's so depressing

12:44:53     From  Jean-Marie Minton   to   Hosts and panelists : Mindy, agreed. For us in northeast urban communities, where space is limited, a new vision is necessary

12:44:56     From  Gwendolyn Lloyd : Absolutely Astonishing!

12:46:33     From  Nancie Barwick : What this place says is that older people deserve a great experience and good things to do by their choice.  Most senior centers are really austere and say that you take what you can get because you’re older and no longer deserve the best.

12:47:40     From  Gwendolyn Lloyd : Agreed Nancie.

12:47:50     From  Barbara Sullivan : Hello everyone.  Barbara Sullivan, Executive Director of Village to Village Network.  I love this Center!  Q?  Are you connecting with some of the local Villages for joint programs?  A natural fit!  I think you have several of our Villages near your new Center.

12:49:04     From  Jill Rose : Truly an incredible resource. I'm sorry if I missed this, but who funds this? Most senior centers are affiliated w/ county government.

12:52:03     From  Mindy Dopler Nelson : @Nancie - agreed!

12:53:37     From  Charles Kauffman   to   Hosts and panelists : What per cent of the older adult local community actually use the facility/ I think you mentioned 20,000 seniors in the community-please verify, Thanks

12:54:23     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Sourcebook : Here is the website https://thecentercville.org/

12:55:04     From  Jean-Marie Minton   to   Hosts and panelists : Age-less is the key to bringing the generations together, which is what most agers are missing

12:55:38     From  Jean-Marie Minton   to   Hosts and panelists : would this be called “universal design?”

12:56:55     From  Barbara Sullivan : Well said! Thanks Steve!

12:57:13     From  Teresa Hilton : You can still take the same principals, and create services that are delivered creatively! I am in a 1980's school building and the changes we have made are incredible! City of Rockville, Rockville Senior Center

12:57:19     From  Marjorie Cotterman   to   Hosts and panelists : Thank you so much for such a wonderful presentation.  My background is in Memory Care AL, and this allows for me to dream.

12:58:05     From  Christy MacCormack : Naborforce in Charlottesville loves what you are doing there! They gave a talk there recently to your residents.  You guys have made nailed it with form and function!

12:58:09     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Sourcebook : Bushman Dreyfuss website https://bdarchitects.com/

12:58:57     From  Marjorie Cotterman   to   Hosts and panelists : Me again, especially as we strive to see how we can connect to the broader community and incorporate more of our outside.  We are very blessed to be located on six acres of “farm”, and we do have farm animals for our residents to enjoy, and gardens.

12:59:13     From  Mary Warneka   to   Hosts and panelists : So interesting for future SC ... it’s the people “ welcoming “ that still tops the SC in the old school buildings !

12:59:49     From  Christy MacCormack   to   Hosts and panelists : Do you have any properties in the greater Bethesda, Maryland area?

13:00:57     From  Alexis D�Angelo Swope   to   Hosts and panelists : I am sorry if I missed this- does naming it The Center cause confusion with your other community centers you have in the area? I love that you dropped Senior!

13:01:19     From  Peter Thompson, The Center   to   Hosts and panelists : peter@thecentercville.org

13:01:26     From  Jeff Dreyfus - Bushman Dreyfus Architects   to   Hosts and panelists : jd@bdarchitects.com

13:01:42     From  Marjorie Cotterman   to   Hosts and panelists : Thank you

13:02:55     From  Peter Thompson, The Center   to   Hosts and panelists : We also use 'tag lines' e.g. 'Healthy aging never gets old' in our ads so folks get a sense 'The Center' focuses on 50+

13:03:13     From  Bonnie Barrella : Thank you so much for your time and expertise, Jeff and Peter!  This is so amazing to see ...Bonnie Barrella (202) 626-5799 at The Residences at Thomas Circle

13:04:12     From  Bonnie O'Leary : this was a wonderful presentation and I wish I lived in Charlottesville!

13:04:29     From  JENNIFER CRAWLEY : Can you speak to the membership model used by The Center?

13:04:49     From  Anthony Fasolo : Great Presentation-thank you.  My takeaway is that we need to change the name of Senior Centers to The Center, look at café operations in each, and see where we could combine programs such as performing arts in centers.  We do have centers located near senior living places.(55 and up) thank you

13:06:07     From  Janie Scott : This has been an excellent program. I hope to share the audio recording with others. Thank you!

13:06:31     From  Deena Imbriglia : The Center is utterly phenomenal!! You have leaped the generational needs that connect us all!!  Congratulations and thank you.  

Deena Imbriglia of Home Instead;  deena.imbriglia@homeinstead.com

13:07:15     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Sourcebook : Peter M. Thompson, Executive Director


The Center at Belvedere


540 Belvedere Blvd. | Charlottesville, VA 22901

peter@thecentercville.org

434.974.4577 (direct) / 974.7756 (main) /434.989.0180 (cell)


www.thecentercville.org

13:09:40     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Sourcebook : GoGoGrandparent allows older adults to utilize on demand transportation companies like Lyft while keeping family and loved ones notified. https://gogograndparent.com/

13:09:56     From  Cheryl Bartholomew : Thank you for this amazing presentation. Would you be willing to do a follow-up presentation to address some specific programming and design issues?

13:11:26     From  Peter Thompson, The Center   to   Hosts and panelists : Yes, I'd be happy to do a followup now that folks have a sense of what we envisioned and done!

13:11:48     From  Teresa Hilton : I would love a follow up session on programming! Thank you so much Peter and Jeff

13:12:51     From  Teresa Hilton : Virtual programs are here to stay!  It's the one good thing that came out of Covid.  Spaces with the technology to do hybrid programming is going to be key in the future

13:15:02     From  Gwendolyn Lloyd : I love the inclusiveness of this center model. Thanks for the innovative ideas that I can use even within a small space and limited money.

13:17:14     From  Peter Thompson, The Center   to   Hosts and panelists : yes we also do a lot of virtual and can do it better with our IT capacity now. Hybrid programs are also popular!

13:17:29     From  Mary Warneka   to   Hosts and panelists : Thank you Jeff .. well said


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