HomeParticipation in forumsThe Social Centres for the Elderly: Is change necessary?

The Social Centres for the Elderly: Is change necessary?

 Type: Course
 Line of Knowledge: Planning and models of care

This Summer Course will be held face to face and there will also be the possibility to participate live online through ZOOM. Select in the enrolment process how you are going to participate: in person or live online.

The Social Centres for the Elderly are centres aimed at promoting coexistence, encouraging participation and social integration, developing ways to promote active ageing, through activities that promote training and social protagonism. They are, in turn, a place of reference to turn to and prevent situations of isolation and loneliness. The Social Centres for the Elderly can be considered as promoters of activities that encourage active ageing as a model of prevention.

But today, the future evolution of the Social Centres as organisations is at a crossroads. There is a risk of a loss of their social role, as they are not attractive to present and future generations of retired people. In addition, the pandemic has forced the total or partial closure of these centres, which implies a greater disconnection of the users of these centres, partly alleviated by specific telephone connection programmes and small computer resources, which has also highlighted a new problem, the digital divide.

Despite the social stigmatisation of the elderly, it is a fact that the Social Centres in our area have generated a multitude of projects, examples of good practice, thanks to the enthusiasm and drive of their users. However, these projects are often limited to the scope of each centre. It is necessary to make progress in the communication, dissemination and information of these good practices, both from local administrations and from the associative movement itself. The innovation of the Social Centres for Older People also requires interconnectivity to favour the flow of mutual knowledge and a detailed study of other experiences in this field, both national and international.

The Social Centres for the Elderly participate in projects based on the paradigm of Active and Healthy Ageing, aimed, among other things, at promoting health in its three aspects (physical, mental and emotional), as a preventive role against dependence. On the other hand, this active ageing does not only aim for the elderly to be healthy, it wants them to be healthier in order to be socially active people and to occupy the position that corresponds to them with the rights and duties towards society.

This Summer Course aims to address the challenges faced by our Social Centres in view of the new social needs of the elderly that have arisen recently. Analysing and recognising the work done so far, we intend to learn about experiences in our environment with a broad view to discuss whether a change is necessary in the Social Centres for the Elderly. Our aim is to provide and identify, through debate, a series of proposals for action and reflection, aimed both at the managers of the Social Centres and their users and potential new users, students and professionals in the social sector, detecting among all the necessary resources, both personal and social, to address this transformation.


  • To create a forum for citizen participation, where to debate the problems faced today by the Social Centres for the Elderly.
  • To value the contribution of the Social Centres for the Elderly in the construction and maintenance of the welfare society, as well as their social contribution to de-stigmatise the image of the elderly.
  • To share experiences and good practices on active ageing and social participation of older people in friendly and interconnected environments.
  • To explore which are the transformation factors required by the Senior Citizen Centres in order to adapt to the new challenges.


Elena del Barrio
Elena del Barrio Co-director - Researcher