Senior centers are places in the USA where older adults can socialize and get support. Learn about senior centers and other ways for older adults to connect with their community and get help.
In the USA, many communities are big, and not everyone knows their neighbors. It can be hard for older people to meet other older adults. But every community has a social place called a senior center.
Watch refugee older adults talk about their experiences
Like the people in the video, you have probably survived many things that have made you strong. But it can be lonely starting a new life in a big country. At USAHello, we are glad you are here. We want to help you find your way and connect with people.
How to meet people in your neighborhood
Use your local library
American libraries are for more than just books. They are centers for information and education. You can join a computer class, find out about local events, and get advice about jobs. Some have English classes. Many libraries have classes for people to learn to read and write. If they do not, your library can help you find classes. Find your nearest library.
At the senior center, they have lunches, games, classes, and other activities just for older adults. Some senior centers are even just for newcomers. Senior centers are mostly free. You can go for the whole day. You may pay a small amount for lunch or for outings. But most activities and classes are free. Your local library will tell you where to find senior centers in your community.
If you come from an agricultural region, you are probably missing farming or gardening. But even in big cities, you can find a community garden. There you can grow your own vegetables, help your community, and meet other farmers and gardeners. Find a community garden.
How to learn new things
It can be lonely if you live in a community where people do not speak your language. Do you want to improve your English? It is a challenge, but also it can be fun. And English classes are a good way to meet other people in your situation.
- You can search FindHello to find English classes near you. Enter your city and state. Then select Education and English classes.
- If you do not like the idea of a class or cannot get to a class, that is okay. Instead, you can learn English online.
- Even if you are not trying to be a citizen, you can take our free citizenship class. It will help your English and teach you about the United States.
Volunteer with older adults or children
You can help other newcomers. Giving the gift of your time and company can help another older adult who is lonely. If you have a local resettlement agency, ask if they know someone who may need your help.
You may have grandchildren in a local school. Maybe you can volunteer in the classroom, dining room, or playground. There may be newcomer children who need help in their own language.
Taking care of your health
It is important for older adults to take care of their health. There are many health resources for older adults in the United States.
Getting health insurance
Public health insurance for older dults is called Medicare. Most older adults (age 65 or older) have Medicare. But first, you must live in the United States for more than 5 years. While you are waiting to get Medicare, you can get health insurance from an insurance company through the health exchange in your state. Read more about health insurance for older immigrants.
If you are undocumented (have no legal papers) you cannot get health insurance. But there are clinics in the United States who help undocumented immigrants. Look at FindHello to find community healthcare near you. Enter your city and state. Then select Healthcare and Mental Health.
Going to the doctor
When you make an appointment with a doctor, you can ask for an interpreter. Find out how to go to the doctor.
One of the best things you can do to stay healthy and meet people is to join an exercise class! Ask at your senior center, community center, or library about exercise classes for your age group.
Public benefits for older adults
As a refugee or other US resident, you can qualify for public benefits. These include benefits for people with disabilities, unemployed or over a certain age. Learn more about public benefits.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is to help people with disabilities, children, and people over 65 who have low income. Some non-citizens can receive SSI. Learn about SSI for non-citizens.
An important note about SSI: Some refugees and other non-citizens who get SSI will stop getting it after 7 years. But if you become a citizen, you can continue to receive SSI for as long as you need it. Learn how to become a US citizen.
Legal and emergency help
Many older people suffer from abuse (being hurt) and fraud (being cheated). You can tell your doctor, the police, or someone at your senior center if you are being mistreated at home or if you think someone is cheating you. Nobody is allowed to hurt you, even if they are in your own family. To get help or report abuse, go to the NAPSA website and choose your state. After you choose your state, you will find a phone number to call next to the map.
You can search for lawyers with FindHello. Enter your city and state. Then select “Legal Help.” Many of the services listed can help you in your own language.
Do you need more information?
If you do not find what you are looking for on this page, please do not give up! Instead, ask at your senior center, resettlement agency, or library. Their job is to help you find what you need. You can use the internet to help you, too.
Search on the internet
Here some English words that will help you to look on the internet:
- find a senior center in … [add the name of your city]
- find resources for older adults in … [add the name of your city]
Get help with translation
If you have trouble asking in English, use a translation tool. You can type words into Google Translate and it will tell you what to say in English. Or you can find free translation help and interpreters.