Starting a Senior Center

A senior center is a facility where adults who are at least 65 years old live. Senior centers may have a considerable range regarding the degree of assistance the residents require. The primary challenge in starting a senior citizen is complying with the numerous requirements of this heavily regulated business.

The specific type of senior center you decide to open determines the regulations with which you must comply. The residents of an assisted living center generally require minimal assistance with their daily lives, while the residents of a long-term continuing care retirement community, or CCRC, may require regular nursing care. Each state has its own categories of senior centers and provides specific regulations for each type. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides specific guidance for complying with federal regulations for running a senior center.

Local jurisdictions provide additional regulations regarding the administration of a senior center, which can vary greatly. Local regulations frequently include qualifications for the staff and building codes for the senior center. Cities and counties may specify regulations on the medical services and recreational services that a senior center provides to its residents. Your local city hall or county courthouse can provide specific information on these regulations.

Owners of senior centers typically belong to organizations such as The American Health Care Association and the Assisted Living Federation of America. These organizations provide specific information on caring for senior adults. They also offer resources for the planning and ongoing practices needed for running a senior center. These professional organizations sponsor conferences and seminars from experienced senior center administrators.

Location is an essential factor in the success of a senior center. The senior center should be in a city where the residents have a high average age. This will provide your senior center with a larger number of prospective residents. This business can also be located in a city with a younger population, although you may experience difficulty in gaining residents for your senior center. Zoning laws frequently allow senior centers to be located in both residential and business zones. An existing building may require significant repairs to comply with local building codes for senior centers.

A senior center typically must have a set of safety procedures that include evacuation plans in the event of a fire or natural disaster. Senior centers also have a greater need than other living facilities for ambulance services.

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