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Senior Life Center's status could lure grant money

Gainesville-Hall operation earns national accreditation

POSTED: October 4, 2008 5:00 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Seniors play bingo Tuesday afternoon at the Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center.

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The Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center became the first senior center in the state to gain national accreditation last week, Community Service Center Director Phillippa Lewis-Moss said Tuesday.

The Senior Life Center, which provides activities and services to Hall County residents age 60 and older, received an "overwhelming" approval from the National Institute of Senior Centers after an evaluation weeks ago of the center’s plan to serve current and future retirees, Lewis-Moss said.

The National Institute of Senior Centers is an organization that oversees more than 150 senior centers across the country and seeks to improve the quality of services and activities available to senior citizens, according to the institute’s Web site. It is an entity of the National Council on Aging.

The accreditation is the institute’s nod that the plans for the future of the Senior Life Center meet nationally recognized professional standards.

The center has been seeking accreditation from the national agency since February 2007 and received word of the institute’s unanimous vote of approval last week, Lewis-Moss said.

The accreditation process involved creating a strategic plan to improve and enhance the Senior Life Center’s service capabilities, and the institute’s review of the center’s policies and fiscal management to achieve its goals of improved service, Lewis-Moss said.

Representatives from the institute visited the Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center about three weeks ago and reported back last week that the local center had received unanimous approval.

The nod is only a step in the process to achieving the future goals for the Senior Life Center, Lewis-Moss said.

"We are by no means done," Lewis-Moss said. "We simply have the infrastructure and the strategy to develop our center to really meet the needs of future baby boomers and retirees."

"... (It means) we have received the blessing of a national agency to say that we are on the right track," she said.

The accreditation will "enhance the ability" for the Senior Life Center to access grant funding as those monies become less available in a declining economy, Lewis-Moss said.

Currently, the Senior Life Center features a cardiovascular fitness room, weekly exercise classes like tai chi and provides blood pressure screenings and a nutritional hot lunch at no cost to county residents.

The center also hosts other daily activities for senior citizens, including arts and crafts classes, day trips and card games.

The Senior Life Center will be recognized nationally in March at a conference in Las Vegas, Lewis-Moss said.



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