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Senior Center Innovation Takes Center Stage

Here at the county, we know that people today are living 30 to 40 years past the age of 50. This growing senior population is experiencing a major shift and how they age successfully. Baby Boomers are demanding senior center programming that is targeted to their unique needs and encompass the “whole person”. They want to engage in programs that incorporate continuing education and learning, health and wellness options, classes in the latest technology, as well as civic and community engagement options. 

At Division of Senior Adult Services (DSAS), we are working to change the perception of what it means to be 50 and older in this region and beyond. If senior centers are to compete and survive in this new environment, they need to re-invent themselves, innovate and plan for the future. 

And that’s just what we’ve done! We continue to offer crucial supports to seniors throughout the county but we are challenging local senior centers to innovate the way they deliver services and how they plan on serving the evolving needs of our seniors. 

Early this year, we launched an initiative called the Cuyahoga County Senior Center Innovation Project (CCSCIP), to encourage senior centers to develop forward-thinking plans and pilot projects that would lead to innovation in the senior center marketplace. We challenged these collaboratives to re-imagine how they do business and serve seniors in their neighborhoods. 

We were able to award planning grants of $25,000 to four senior center collaboratives. And this week after seven months of planning, we awarded additional planning grants of $50,000 to two of the senior center collaboratives to implement their innovative pilot projects, further improving services to seniors in Cuyahoga County.
  • The Coordinated Programming Initiative (CPI) is a pilot project led by Rose Centers for Aging Well, LLC, a division of Benjamin Rose Institute. CPI is a service coordination model for senior centers and other senior-serving community-based organizations that will serve as a one-stop shop for organizations seeking evidence-based, evidence-informed and other health and wellness programming. This strategic partnership includes the City of Cleveland, ESOP (Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People), Fairhill Partners and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
  • Communities Assisting Residential Elderly (C.A.R.E.) is a pilot project led by the Community Partnership on Aging, and is a collaboration bringing together eight (8) cities in the region, including: Cleveland Heights, Highland Heights, Lyndhurst, Maple Heights, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, South Euclid and Solon. Older homeowners will benefit from a personalized service plan that will provide home maintenance and modification at a low cost allowing them to age in place safely and independently. This project differs from existing home repair and village models because it includes an individualized assessment to evaluate independent living risks and referral services for older homeowners.

In addition to these innovative pilot projects, we’ve added six new senior centers to our Community Social Services Program (CSSP). These centers will receive a collective total of $163,970 to deliver services to seniors in the City of Cleveland and surrounding Cuyahoga County suburbs. 

The six new senior centers will provide the following services:
  1. Catholic Charities, Fatima Family Center- Adult Development services
  2. Catholic Charities, St. Philip Neri Family Center- Adult Development Services
  3. City of Bedford Heights - Senior Transportation Services
  4. City of Solon - Adult Development Services
  5. Eldercare Services Institute, LLC, a division of Benjamin Rose Institute - Adult Day Care Services
  6. City of Brecksville - Adult Development Services and Congregate Meals (also includes seniors residing in Broadview Heights, North Royalton, Independence and Seven Hills, which comprise the RIBBS Collaborative)

Additionally, three existing CSSP-funded senior centers are adding the following new services:
  • Catholic Charities, Hispanic Senior Center - Adult Development
  • City of Euclid - Congregate Meals
  • East End Neighborhood House Association - Congregate Meals

With this new funding, we’ll now fund a total of twenty-eight service providers at 40 senior centers. 

Senior centers offer significant benefits that serve as a gateway to the nation’s aging network, connecting older adults to vital services that help them stay healthy and independent. We will continue our mission to encourage innovation within this network so that we can continue to empower seniors and adults to age successfully. 

For information on Division of Senior and Adult Services, call 216.420.6700 or visit