Senior Services of Albany, throughout its 60 years, has a proven history of innovation in responding to the needs of the elderly. As pioneers in the field of aging since 1952, Senior Citizens Centers, as it was known then, began as one of the first agencies to serve the elderly in the Capital Region. With donated space from the YMCA, temporary cash support from the Council of Jewish Women and the Junior League of Albany and an in-kind program director provided by the city adult education funds, the first senior center began providing social, recreational, educational and health activities. The center accepted membership and support from the Community Chest in 1954 and continued to grow and add programming through the ’50s and ’60s.
In the 1970s, with support from the Older Americans Act legislation, the agency began offering additional programs to the elderly. The number of centers expanded to include 13 by 1979. With greater emphasis in providing services in various locations, the agency changed its name to Senior Service Centers of the Albany Area, Inc. Transportation was added through the use of three vehicles. Today this service has grown to eleven vehicles which transport seniors to medical appointments, centers and grocery shopping.
The era of the 1980s was met with a consolidation of the centers to include six locations that offered congregate meals, health services, social activities, arts & crafts, counseling and bingo. In 1985, Newgate, one of the first social model adult day programs in the area was started. In 1986, Senior Service Centers of the Albany Area, Inc., at the request of the Albany County Department of the Aging, was asked to take over the Meals on Wheels program. That first year, just under 100,000 meals were served to the homebound elderly in Albany County. In 1996, over 280,000 meals were served through this program which was expanded in 1989 to include the non- elderly disabled.
The decrease in government funding for senior citizen programs during the mid-1980s led to the formation of the Senior Services of Albany Foundation, Inc. in 1984. Incorporated as a fundraising arm to help support the services, activities and events of the agency, the Foundation deals directly with special events, the annual campaign and endowment program.
The early 1990s marked the birth of another new era and a name change to Senior Services of Albany. The foresight and guidance of the Board of Directors continue to lead the agency toward innovative services and funding. Through the unique collaboration of public and private partnerships, Senior Services of Albany is able to respond to an ever changing market.
With a firm grip on the past and a vision of the future, Senior Services of Albany promises to maintain a position of leadership in the field of services for the elderly as we move in the new millennium.