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Senior center research earns recognition


April 12, 2007
ASU's James McCabe was part of a research team awarded the National Institute of Senior Centers' (NISC) research award for 2007. The team received the recognition for its outstanding, innovative research in the senior center field.

NISC presented the award during a joint conference hosted by the National Council on Aging and the American Society on Aging in Chicago.

McCabe, an assistant professor of social work in the College of Human Services , served as a research consultant for the Boomer-ANG Project, which conducted an extensive analysis, review and assessment of 10 senior centers in Montgomery County, Pa. The research focused on the status, needs and opportunities that exist for the leading-edge “baby boomer” generation and current residents who are 60 or older.

“With the number of baby boomers poised to swell to nearly 40 million people within the next few years, senior centers are scrambling to refurbish and redefine their facilities and programs,” McCabe says. “To better serve the needs of this emerging population, we recommended, among other things, that senior centers establish a new “identity” or “brand” beyond their senior service focus. Today's senior centers offer many sedentary programs, such as knitting and bingo, which simply will not appeal to boomers.”

The project combined best practices from a variety of community development, business development and service delivery models. The goal was to identify specific programs and services senior centers or community-based organizations should provide in the next decade.

Principal investigators for the study were John Migliaccio, president of Maturity Mark Services, and Michael Marcus, principal of Consultants for Community Resources.

The project investigated, at the county and regional levels, a visioning and “asset mapping” process engaging businesses, faith groups, educators, civic groups, human services organizations, government, and citizens in each of Montgomery County 's five regions. It included consumer telephone surveys with baby boomers and older adults and researched best practices from a variety of service delivery models.

For additional information about the Boomer-ANG Project or the National Council on Aging, visit the Web site www.ncoa.org.