The cost to participate in a senior center depends on the activities in which the member participates. Fees are usually associated with classes, trips, transportation, special events and meals. Some centers offer scholarships to members who may not be able to pay for class fees and supplies.
Some senior centers in Maryland have a membership or registration fee that is collected during the registration process each year. For example, in Baltimore City the registration fee at the Joseph Center is $15 a year, while the Waxter Center charges $10 a year. Other centers do not charge a membership fee but may request a donation; this is true in Baltimore County, where the suggested donation is $15.
Senior centers offer a wide array of affordable classes and activities for seniors. Most centers publish a schedule of current classes with course descriptions and fees. The cost of classes varies widely. If a volunteer teaches a class, it may be free of charge.
Before you visit the center, it is helpful to call and ask what method of payment is accepted. Some senior centers may accept only checks while other centers accept cash and credit cards. Class fees usually must be paid in advance.
The Eating Together Program is a federally funded congregate meal program. A recommended voluntary contribution towards the cost of the meal is requested from eligible participants. Non-eligible guests must pay the full cost of the meal.
In addition to the Eating Together program, some centers offer catered meals for a fixed price, either occasionally or on a regular basis. Some centers with commercial kitchens may prepare meals that are sold to raise funds for center activities.
Some senior centers in Maryland offer programs for less active or health-impaired seniors. There may be a fee for some of these programs. Senior Center Plus, for example, uses a sliding fee scale, and a limited number of scholarships are available. Some specialized programs are eligible for Medicaid reimbursement through the Maryland Home and Community-Based Services Waiver.
For seniors who no longer drive, transportation options to senior centers may include:
- Private van service operated by the senior center
- Van or bus service operated by local government agencies
- Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) services
- Taxi programs
- Private van and sedan services
The cost to use some of these services is low and others may request a donation only.
Events and Trips
Most special events are one-time only programs; they are frequently planned to celebrate holidays or special occasions. Themed parties are also popular in senior centers. A small fee may be charged for these special events and generally tickets must be purchased in advance. However, tickets are sometimes sold at the door.
Most senior centers in Maryland offer a wide variety of travel opportunities. Day trips and extended overnight trips are offered. Participants may travel as far as England or Germany or just a short distance to the local dinner theater. The fees for these trips depend on the destination and the length of stay, but the rates are usually competitive and reasonable.