Key Takeaways

  • Senior centers have grown from the first, established in New York in 1943, to an estimated 11,000 senior centers, serving 10 million older adults.

  • This "Building Excellence" senior center self‐assessment is the first step in becoming nationally accredited.

  • This manual gives you an overview of the self‐assessment and accreditation process and some helpful tips for successful completion.

Senior centers are an accessible focal point and a gateway to an important system of home and community‐based services. Senior centers serve people from those thinking ahead to retirement to those who are struggling with the vicissitudes of advanced years. They strengthen and support the integration of older people into community life by offering intergenerational activities, volunteer services, life‐long learning, and leadership opportunities. 

Although each is unique, NISC accredited senior centers operate effectively from a common philosophy and with adherence to established standards of excellence. This manual is an important tool, developed to help review and strengthen key operations and programs.

This document gives an introduction to "Building Excellence," the national standards manual for senior centers. The full manual is available to NISC members at no cost - a $150 value. Use it to do your own self-assessment or as a guide to becoming a nationally accredited senior center.