Rochester Seniors Nabs National Accreditation

The Rochester Senior Center has achieved full national senior center accreditation status through the National Council on Aging’s National Institute of Senior Centers National Senior Center Accreditation process!

The Rochester Council on Aging, with the assistance of 73 community individuals, has been working for the past year or more on the self-assessment part of the application toward full accreditation. The 73 individuals served on nine different committees, representative of the nine operational senior center standards: Purpose & Planning, Community Connections, Governance, Administration & Human Resources, Fiscal & Asset Responsibility, Records & Reports, Evaluation, Program Planning & Implementation, and Facility & Operations. Each committee met numerous times throughout the year and worked on various components that were required as part of their “standard” for the accreditation process. A five-inch portfolio/notebook was created, which contained various documents and examples required to be submitted to be considered for senior center accreditation. The completed notebook was submitted to the National Accreditation Office in Washington, D.C., at the end of August.

Once the notebook had been reviewed by the office and two assigned peer reviewers to ensure that all of the components were included, an on-site peer review was scheduled.

The on-site peer review occurred on September 24. Each reviewer has been trained and certified in the process, and is a director of a senior center which has also achieved successful full accreditation status.

During the on-site visit on September 24, the reviewer met with several of those who worked on the self-assessment process, as well as staff members, program participants, volunteers, and town officials. She observed various programs in action, toured the senior center and looked through documents and other records, also looking for required posted certificates, licenses, and general overall cleanliness, accessibility, order, and usability. The reviewer also enjoyed a brief tour of the town in order to capture the essence of Rochester.

At the end of the day, the on-site reviewer wrote a detailed report, which encapsulated all details of her visit and those details were put into a standard format reflecting the nine standards, used by all peer reviewers. The 10-page report was then submitted to the National Senior Center Accreditation Board (comprised of nine individuals from across the country), which met last Friday, September 27, via conference call. The Accreditation Board voted unanimously to award full senior center accreditation status to the Rochester Senior Center! This accreditation status is good for five years, at which time the process will begin anew!

National Senior Center Accreditation is voluntary, and can be likened to the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.” The process ensures that the Senior Center is meeting the needs and interests of the older adults in the community it serves, and is operating at the highest level of operation possible, also ensuring the well-being and safety of its participants. A celebration is currently being planned in light of this crowning achievement!

For questions or more information on the accreditation process, please contact Director Sharon Lally at 508-763-8723.

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