Senior and son on bench,  photo credit: City of Madison

Our Mission

To promote successful aging in the Madison community.

What is successful aging?

We follow a model outlined by Doctors J.W. Rowe and R.L. Kahn in their book, Successful Aging (1999). There are three key components:

    • Avoiding Disease
    • Engagement with Life
    • Maintaining High Cognitive and Physical Function

At the Senior Center, we engage older adults as leaders, teachers and learners to support and balance these goals.

senior center entrance,  photo credit: City of Madison

History

On Jun. 26, 1983, the Madison Senior Center (MSC) opened its doors to the public. It was a historic achievement, one that took over eight years and one million dollars to accomplish.

The Senior Center was the first building in the city designed to serve the needs and goals of Madison’s older generations. Extensive surveying was done early in the building process to ensure that those needs and goals would be met in the center’s design, operations and resources.

The completion of the Madison Senior Center was part of the larger Capitol Centre project originally proposed by Mayor Paul Soglin. This massive undertaking replaced two parking lots with 200 units of elderly housing, apartments, a parking ramp, supermarket, and yes—the Senior Center. Despite criticisms, Mayor Soglin and later his successor Mayor Skornicka believed in the plan and pushed forward.

Generous donations from the Madison Rotary Foundation, United Madison Community Foundation, William E. and Edna Walker Fund for the Elderly, Thomas E. Brittingham Sr. Madison Trust, CUNA Mutual Insurance Group Charitable Foundation, Oscar Mayer Foundation, Cremer Foundation and First Wisconsin National Bank helped ensure the success of the project. 

Today the Madison Senior Center continues its mission to promote successful aging. The center welcomes 40,000 visitors annually, and offers close to 3,000 events each year. 300 volunteers of all ages help to staff our programming, and over 200 donors support our center annually.