Advisory board members are still determining exact needs, said director Julian Montoro-Rodriguez - but they know need is great.
"We have a lot of programs in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, but it's a very fragmented kind of situation," said Montoro-Rodriguez, a sociology professor at the university. "This may be an instrument that will be making (senior services) more effective overall."
The center will work with government agencies and nonprofit groups, bringing together people with different experiences with the elderly.
"The center is going to be an opportunity for people to come together from different backgrounds, different expertise, and join forces for something that will have greater impact," Montoro-Rodriguez said. "People will look at this from different angles: the perspective of of the provider, also the perspective of the researchers that we have - sociology, biology, others."
About 60 students also will work with the center, which so far is funded by the university's College of Behavioral Sciences but which Montoro-Rodriguez hopes will attract grants for itself and other local agencies by offering a central hub.
Cal State San Bernardino has had a gerontology certificate program for more than 15 years, but Montoro-Rodriguez has tried to go beyond that since coming to the university in 2009.
The number of elderly people is exploding because of the baby boom and immigration to the area, but their needs are also changing, said Penny Lilburn, director of the Highland Senior Center and a councilwoman there.
"I've been here 18 years, and they've changed so much," Lilburn said. "They're more active, whether they're retirees or not. They stay up with their computers. They stay up with their exercise. They stay up on the community."
Lilburn said she was unfamiliar with the university's center, which was approved this spring, but she also said a center that studies such changes and provides additional support can only help.
Reach Ryan via email, or call him at 909-386-3916.