As baby boomers reach their fifties, sixties, and beyond, many of the nation’s 11,500 senior centers are expanding and updating their buildings and program offerings in order to meet the social and emotional needs of the older adults they want to connect with.Jim Firman, chief executive of the National Council on Aging, aims to create community centers that are less “hot meals and bingo” and more like “longevity hubs.”
“There’s an evolution going on and a revolution as baby boomers age,” Mr. Firman said. “So we’re developing richer programming. We’re given the gift of longevity, so we have to spend it wisely.”These new and newly-renovated centers are adding on gyms and pools, dropping the “senior” from their names, and offering classes on everything from computer use to wine tasting to cooking to sexual identity. Some centers also offer remote classes or programs for older adults who are homebound or otherwise cannot attend: Mather’s Café in Chicago conducts telephone topics programs, while the Virtual Senior Center in New York provides a way for seniors to connect online.