Senior Centers

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This page has information for volunteers and legislators about our agency’s mission and programs. To find local senior centers, please visit our resource site

The Older Americans Act expects the SCDOA to be a leader in the development of multipurpose senior centers.  Currently, the state has only two nationally certified senior centers. Some of the remaining centers are fully functioning, but not certified.  The rest are group dining sites.  

Multipurpose Senior Centers

Multipurpose senior centers are to be the “village square” or “focal point" of their community.  The multipurpose senior center should be a resource hub for activity, services, and programs for all active older adults in the community, with a specific focus on improving health and wellness, education, and socialization.  Typically, these are community buildings and structures that stand alone and are used primarily as a senior center and host facility for community activities. 

These multipurpose senior centers are encouraged to function at National Council on Aging accredited standards. These centers should provide a variety of programs and services throughout the day.  A meal may or may not be part of the senior center operation. 

Multipurpose senior centers typically offer a wide variety of programs and services including, but not limited to:

  • Meal and nutrition programs
  • Information and assistance
  • Health, fitness, and wellness programs
  • Transportation services
  • Public benefits counseling
  • Employment assistance
  • Volunteer and civic engagement opportunities
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Educational and arts programs
  • Intergenerational programs

Group Dining Sites

Group dining sites are operated by contracted providers of the Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) to offer a nutritious meal either through group dining or home-delivered meal services to seniors at the community level.   The contractor chooses designated locations of operations in its communities.  The primary purpose of operating a group dining site is to provide a nutritious meal, socialization, and nutrition education. Group dining sites must comply and operate according to the contract requirements set by the AAA and the policies found in section 503 of the South Carolina Aging Services Policies and Procedures Manual.      

Senior Center Permanent Improvement Project (PIP) Grant Program

It is the intent of the South Carolina Department on Aging for all multipurpose senior centers to be focal points in their respective communities.  The Older Americans Act (OAA) defines a focal point as a facility established to encourage the maximum collocation and coordination of services for older individuals.

A focal point is a facility established to provide local leadership on aging issues, to provide older adults access to services at a central location with customer-oriented staff, and to assist those in the community who have an interest in, or need for, information, resources, or services.  All Permanent Improvement Program (PIP) funded Multipurpose Senior Centers shall be focal points of their respective communities. 

PIP Grant Application
(Deadline for submission has been extended to close of business on Friday, March 1 2024)


In 1991, the South Carolina General Assembly established the Senior Center Permanent Improvement Project (PIP) and appropriated $948,000 per year from state bingo tax and licensing fee revenues to fund a list of 74 specifically identified capital improvement projects. 

The original legislation was amended by the General Assembly in 1997 to continue the program beyond the original list. The SCDOA was given responsibility for developing an ongoing process to select and fund applications for senior center capital improvement projects. 

PIP is a competitive grant process, and applications are accepted in the month of February. 

  • The total dollar amount awarded in each grant cycle shall vary depending on the number of applications received, the dollar amounts requested in the applications, and the amount of funds available in the restricted PIP account.
  • When a PIP grant application is approved, a Notification of Grant Award (NGA) shall be signed between the SCDOA and the AAA, which serves as the grantee.  The SCDOA shall provide funds to the AAA, and the AAA shall reimburse the PIP recipient directly. The PIP recipient is required to provide proof (receipts and contracts) that the work being invoiced has been completed.  

Protocols for Evaluating PIP Applications and the Awarding of Grants 

  1. Grant applications are due to the SCDOA by February 28 annually.
  2. Applications must be approved by the local AAA Director before the SCDOA will consider the project.
  3. The PIP Coordinator reviews the applications for compliance with application requirements.
  4. Local visits are scheduled with the SCDOA PIP Coordinator and appointed SCDOA staff to meet with each applicant and local AAA Directors to discuss applications, finances, project details, and long-term sustainability of the senior center. 
  5. The PIP Coordinator and appointed SCDOA staff will brief the SCDOA Director and he will present his recommendations for selection.
  6. PIP recipients and local AAAs will be notified in writing of the awards.
  7. After the recipients are notified, the SCDOA will prepare NGAs for the AAAs to sign and execute.