Among the states, Texas ranks fourth in the number of adults aged 60 and older and second in the number of Hispanic older adults. Owing to higher rates of immigration and overall population growth in Texas, the number of older Texas, especially racial/ethnic minority older Texans, will continue to increase. For the rapidly growing number of older adults who are retired and whose mobility and social interactions may become more limited, senior centers can serve as an entry point to the aging service network and protect these older adults from social isolation. Given older adults’ changing characteristics and needs, senior centers should strive to provide activities/ programs that are relevant to this population.
The purposes of this study were to explore (1) the activities and programs that older adults, especially racial/ethnic minority older adults, need and prefer to participate in at senior centers; and (2) possible age group differences in the needs and preferences older adults express based on their chronological/ actual and felt/self-perceived ages.
Research assistants conducted face-to-face interviews with 100 older adults (aged 60 and older) who attended the Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center in East Austin. The Senior Center director provided a quiet, private room at the center for the interviews. Given the study’s exploratory nature, both closed ended questions and open-ended questions for short qualitative answers were included. Each individual interview took approximately 30 minutes. Analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data is in progress. The findings will be used to design a survey instrument that can be administered to a large number of older adults in the future.