MySeniorCenter Fun Facts

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Over the past month, we've had the pleasure of attending five separate conferences focused on Senior Centers. Although the conferences took place in different parts of North America, the most popular topic at each conference was how to attract younger seniors to the Center. They're a large, but seemingly elusive group. We'll call them boomers, though we're not using the strict definition. We'll use anyone under the age of 70. Some communities have seen an increase in attendance from the boomers, while others have seen their average attendee age increase. In this issue we're going to look at the types of activities that have been attracting the boomers, as well as one that has not. We'll also look at the power of the volunteer program.
Let's have a look.

Welcome to...Fun Facts - the Boomer edition


Sounds Like College

Before diving into the data, we wanted to get an overview of the most popular activity types for boomers. In the following graph, we see that social/recreation, fitness/exercise and education - in that order - make up over 85% of all of the participation from this group.

Interestingly, Nutrition/Lunch is low on the list and only accounts for 3% of participation.

New World Order

The best way to find what works for attracting the boomers would be to show the Top 10ish activities across the Network that had the MOST growth in boomer participation in 2014 compared to previous years. In some cases, these activities didn't exist a couple of years ago and ALL Of the growth has been in the boomer age group. In others, the activity has been around for a while and is still growing in popularity. Here's the list, in no particular order:

Who Stole My Lunch?

Lunch participation has been declining over the last few years and we've been hearing that it has REALLY dropped off for the younger seniors. We checked the data and confirmed this is indeed true. The average age for lunch participants has been increasing consistently for the past five years. This shows us that we're getting fewer young seniors to join in at the lunch table.

But that may not be a bad thing. We've heard some really creative ideas from across the Network about how organizations are reaching folks through restaurant-based lunch programs. We'll explore those more in a future issue. If you have anything you'd like us to include, please let us know here: LUNCH IDEA.

Invaluable Currency

Volunteers are amazing. They put in the hours only because they want to, not because they have to. As we showed in a previous issue, volunteers become members at an extremely high rate (34%), so it's a good idea to recruit as many young volunteers as possible. You could look at the volunteer program as a gateway to becoming a Senior Center participant.

Although the single largest five-year age cohort for volunteers is 70-74, it becomes even more interesting when we look at the break out of volunteers from a broader view.

37% of all volunteers are under the age of 70. That's fantastic!

Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month. If you're looking for ways to celebrate, the Administration for Community Living site has an activity guide and posters you can download. Thanks for all that you do!