No matter which senior center you attend, every center in New York must follow a certain set of rules and requirements. These requirements are known as the senior center Bill of Rights, which ensure fair treatment of all patrons. These rules are:
1) Anyone who fits the requirements of the senior center can join and participate in the center.
2) Any senior citizen who qualifies to be a member cannot be refused membership or program/activity participation, so long as the center has the space and can afford it.
3) No member can be discriminated against for their race, religion, gender, disability, age, sexuality, citizen status, etc.
4) Everyone must be treated equally with respect and courtesy.
5) Every member has the right to know which centers are handicap accessible.
6) Each member’s personal information (address, phone number, etc.) is private and cannot be distributed or disclosed.
- The only exception to this is the center’s funding source, which information may be shared with.
7) Every member can submit complaints to the senior center about the senior center or center-related issue without fear of penalty or punishment. Complaints can be issued to the center staff, board of directors or executive committees.
- Complaints may also be made without penalty outside the senior center to elected and government officials.
9) All centers that provide regular meals must ensure that the meals are nutritious and well-balanced.
10) All seniors must be offered meals, even if they do not regularly partake in the meal program.
11) All centers must have a senior advisory council composed of seniors who are members of the center that aid in communicating senior needs to the center’s management.
12) All attendees have the right and opportunity to make anonymous financial contributions to the center. All contributions must be made by choice, and seniors cannot be harassed into giving any money. All donations must only be used for the betterment of the senior center and the center’s member’s experiences.
To find the official Bill of Rights, visit here.