Looking Ahead

Holiday planning and the latest from Social Security

... Looking Ahead for December, 2005

by Jack Beckley, executive director, Council on Aging

Eileen M. Olsen, Chairperson
Jim Driscoll, Vice-Chairperson
Kay McCarte, Secretary
William Ahern
Peggy Kenny
Rosemary Behrle
George Nelson Torrey

Immunization Clinic
Tues., Dec. 6, 7-8 PM
Knights of Columbus Hall

The Melrose Health department will hold its last Immunization Clinic of the season administering Flu, Pneumonia & Tetanus vaccinations to anyone age 18 and over. Vaccinations are $10 or free with a Medicare Part B Card, Blue Care 65, Medicare PPO Blue, First Seniority, and Tufts Medicare Preferred (formerly Secure Horizons).

It’s not too late. Don’t let the flu bug get you!
For further information, call the Melrose Health Dept at 781-979-4130.

Free Legal Consultation in December

This month, thanks to an Older Americans Act grant, Attorney Daniel Bartley of Greater Boston Legal Services will provide free individual consultation at the Milano Senior Center. Attorney Bartley can help those having trouble with bureaucracies, such as the Social Security Administration & Mass Health, utilities, landlord-tenant relations, power of attorney, etc. (not wills, estates, accident or criminal cases).

Consultation is by appointment only on Wed., Dec. 13, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Call 781-662-6886 to schedule your appointment.

Beating the Holiday Blues

The holidays are filled with treats and traditions but for people with arthritis, the mental and physical stress of endless holiday tasks can strain your mind and body. Come and learn about practical solutions to help your celebrations be  arthritis friendly.   

Discover new ways to stay organized, manage your time and enjoy the holiday festivities while maintaining your physical and emotional health.

The presentation will be given by Susan DeColaines, who leads our Strong Bones class and has a Masters in Counseling, at the Milano Center on Dec. 8, at 1:30 PM.

Holiday & Christmas Celebrations

Once again, almost without notice, the Holiday Season is upon us. No one can dispute that this is a time for happiness, families, fellowship and thanksgiving. But without your participation, the days lose both their luster and very special meaning.

HOLIDAY PROGRAM AT THE CENTER: Dec. 20, 2005 at 12:00 noon at the Milano Center. The lunch entrée is Chicken Broccoli Penne Alfredo. Entertainment follows with American Guild of Variety Artists Jan and Lyn DeBenidictis singing and dancing, Vicki Taylor comedy, and Master of Ceremonies Dorothy Stratton with Peter Marino on the piano.  

Lunch tickets are required ($1.50 suggested donation). Limit - two tickets per person available at the Milano Center. Entertainment is courtesy of the Melrose Friends of the Aging and the American Guild of Variety Artists.

CHRISTMAS DAY DINNER Dec. 25, at 1:00 P.M.

This festive holiday meal that is becoming a Melrose tradition is sponsored by Temple Beth Shalom in cooperation with the First Baptist Church, 561 Main St.  Temple members invite you to a very special Christmas Day Dinner in the spirit of caring, sharing, and community.

To reserve places for you and your loved ones, call the Council on Aging at 781-662-6886. Let us know how many people will be attending, if you will be bringing any children, and whether you need a ride.

Such a noble project requires the cooperation of many friends. Let us know if you can help out on Christmas Day, wish to make a donation, or can give someone a ride.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Chair Exercise with Debbie

Finally, the class you have been asking about – Chair Exercise. This upbeat class is suitable for everyone but ideally suited to people wanting to protect and strengthen joints, stretch, tone, and improve balance. Exercises are designed for participants to have fun, including chair dancing, movement therapy, light weight or resistance training and an aerobic component.

We know you will love the class so, as extra incentive, the first class is free. Thereafter, it’s $3 per class. Classes will be held at Milano Center on Thursdays from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m.

Debbie Small is a dynamic, leader with lots of experience. Call 781-662-6886 now to register for the class. Assuming sufficient interest, classes will start on January 5, 2006.

Dining at the Milano ...

Delicious noon-time meals are served each week day at 12 noon in the Milano Center. The lunch program is run in cooperation with Mystic Valley Elder Services. Entrees are listed in Looking Ahead’s calendar and the complete weekly menus in the Melrose Free Press.

To reserve a meal call 781-662-6886 from 10:00-11:45 AM at least a day before you plan to attend. A $1.50 donation is requested for each meal. Rides are available by calling 781-665-4304 ($1 suggested donation).

Looking Ahead

The COA monthly newsletter, Looking Ahead, is distributed in bulk around the City. If you prefer to receive it by mail, please send a $4 check payable to the Melrose COA, 235 West Foster Street, Melrose, MA 02176. Those who are homebound and unable to afford the $4 can receive the newsletter without charge.

Holiday Sale

We invite you to a Holiday Sale where everything (greeting & holiday cards, wrapping paper, stationary, gift items and much more) is bargain priced from $1 to $2. Items are donated by Copley Flair of Boston and all proceeds are split between the Milano Senior Center and the MVES Elder-at-Risk Fund.

The sale is ongoing in the Milano Senior Center lobby through Dec. 19.

Ride in COA Van

The Council provides transportation within Melrose for residents age 60 plus. The van runs Mon.- Thurs. from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

To reserve a ride, call the COA office (781-665-4304) mornings. In the afternoon, you may check on a ride or make a last minute cancellation by calling the Milano Center at 781-662-6886. $1 suggested donation.


What was the name of Tiny Tim’s father in Dickens’  "A Christmas Carol”?

Who are the movie stars of the film  "Miracle on 34th Street”?

Where and when was the Christmas carol  "Silent Night” first performed?

What kind of meat is in the traditional English Holiday Mincemeat Pie?

In the "12 Days of Christmas” what is the 4th gift?


Wishing our Jewish friends a happy Hanukkah (the eight-day festival begins at sundown on Sun., Dec.25) and our African American friends a happy Kwanzaa (Dec 26-Jan. 1).

BRIDGE CLUB – Meets Wednesday mornings. New members are always welcome. Recent winners were: Lou Froio 1st, Fran Vennochi 2nd, & Henry Porter 3rd; Fran Venocchi 1st, Vinnie Markelionis 2nd,& Henry Porter 3rd; Jean Pulsifer 1st, Alan Faller 2nd, & Dave Brissette 3rd; Bill Haley 1st, Betty Whalen, 2nd, & Esther Parsons, 3rd.

DUPLICATE BRIDGE – Meets the first Wednesday of the month. November winners were Gloria Frazier & Paul Frazier N & S, and Ralph Leary & Lorraine O’Neill E & W.

Volunteers needed for FISH

One of Melrose’s most dedicated and conscientious volunteer groups is in dire need of new members. FISH volunteers are needed to drive senior citizens to doctors’ appointments and, if you don’t drive, to help coordinate rides. Please volunteer. Be a hero to someone in need. For further information, call Preston Johnson at 781-665-1776.


1. The three sisters were Patty, Laverne and Maxene Andrews.

2. The English songstress was Vera Lynn.  God Bless America” was sung by Kate Smith. The band leader who disappeared during WWII was Glen Miller. This is the Army Mr. Jones” was written and sung by Irving Berlin.


AARP Chapter 1124 Dec. 9 –– Christmas Luncheon. Ham & Bean Supper  Dec. 17, 6:00 p.m., Green Street Baptist Church, 179 Green St. $7 Adults (children 12 & under FREE with parents). No reservations needed. For information, call 781-665-7331.

Melrose Arts and Crafts Society Dec. 12. 12 – 9:30 AM. First Baptist Church. Craft classes and Program of Entertainment.

Melrose Veterans’ Club Meets Fridays at 9:00 a.m., GAR Room, Memorial Hall. All are welcome!

Womans’ Club of Melrose Dec. 14, 12:00, Most Blessed Sacrament Church. Program: Defying gravity” with Barbara Graf and Jean Danciewicz.


Minibus to Meadow Glen Mall Call 781-665-4304 to reserve seats on the bus. There is now a two person minimum for the van to make the trip.

Dec. 5 -- Leaves Cefalo Memorial Complex at 10 a.m.- returns at 1 p.m.

Dec. 12 -- Leaves Julian Steele & McCarthy Houses at 10 a.m.- returns at 1 p.m.

Dec. 19 -- Leaves City Hall at 10 a.m. - returns at 1 p.m.

200 Club -– Call Rosemary Behrle at 781-665-3258 to register for trips. Checks payable to: The 200 Club.

Jan 18 -- Mohegan Sun Casino, CT. Casino Time: 10 AM - 4 PM. Package includes: $10 Food and $10 Free Bet – deluxe motor coach Transportation. Pick up Cochrane 7:15 AM/ Levi Gould 7:30 AM. $21.00

Feb. 8 -- Lincoln Greyhound Park, RI. Trip includes: $5 cash voucher; $5 food coupon; race program; race dedication, video slot machines, deluxe motor coach transportation. Pick up: Cochrane House 9:15 AM/Levi Gould 9:30 AM. $12.00

Movies -- Movies -- Movies

THE WEDDING DATE Debra Messing shines in this hilarious romantic comedy abut the surprising road to finding true love. Kat Ellis (Messing) is determined to attend her sister’s wedding with a date rather than face the ridicule of her family and in order to show up her ex- fiancé. It will be shown at the Milano Senior Center on Wed., Dec. 14, at 1:30 PM.    

The Melrose Friends of the Aging gratefully acknowledges generous contributions from Ralph & Margaret Goff, Mae McGrath, Winifred Sablock, and Richard & Kimberly Whitworth. Donations were also received from Mary Foley in memory of John Foley Jr. and Roseanne Greene in support of volunteers.

"A hug is a perfect gift. One size fits all and nobody minds if you exchange it"  Anonymous

Friendly Visitor Program

The Council on Aging’s Friendly Visitor Program, supported in part by a grant from MVES, matches volunteers with senior citizens who wish to be visited for companionship, walks, or sharing of mutual interests.

If you would like a friendly visitor to come to your home or you wish to volunteer, please call Tara Deeble at 781-665-4304.

Silver Singles Elect new President

One of the most remarkable trends in society in the past years has been the proliferation of social clubs designed to promote social interaction among its members. Often these groups require strict observance of protocol concerning dues, attendance and related requirements. Here at Milano Center we are indeed fortunate to have one of the best social clubs anywhere, the Silver Singles.

Open to both men and women, the Silver Singles meet at the Center once a month. Under the leadership of new President Anna Estle the group has a busy schedule of activities that include attendance at plays, group dinners, trips with the 200 Club and scheduled coffee and tea meetings.

Silver Singles have enjoyed a reputation for continuity of purpose offering both fun and learning in a structured setting. Further information can be obtained by calling outgoing President of five years, Jean Savage (781-665-1054) or current President Anna Estle (781-665-6856). New members are welcome!

Fuel Assistance

Tri-City Community Action Program (TRI-CAP) should be your first call for help paying for heating fuel or repairing your heating system. Income levels do apply but it would be a mistake to assume that you do not qualify for something.

Tri-Cap’s Fuel Assistance, Weatherization, and Heartwap Programs help homeowners and tenants pay their home heating costs, conserve energy, and, in emergencies, repair, retrofit, new burners, and even replace heating systems

Eligible households also receive a 25-35% discount on their monthly utility bills and a discount on their phone bill.

For additional information, call Tri-Cap at 781-322- 6284 for fuel assistance and 781-322-4190 for energy conservation. You can also visit the web site at www.tri-cap.org

Other resources include Citizen’s Energy – 1-877-JOE- 4OIL, Salvation Army’s Good Neighbor Energy Fund 1-800- 262-1320, and Cold Relief Hotline 1-800-632-8175.

Teen-Aging Program

Now that winter is upon us, it is time to arrange to have your sidewalk and driveway shoveled. The Teen-Aging Program, coordinated by Doreen Lam, may be able to help you find someone.

Doreen works with the schools and youth groups to find youngsters willing to shovel snow for pay. She then matches them geographically with senior citizens requesting shoveling. The matches take time and are best made well in advance so don’t wait until it is snowing to ask for someone. For more information, call Doreen at 781-665-4304.

Individual Respect/Social Concern/Critically Aware

With her warmth and caring spirit, Peggy Kenny is clearly identifiable as a woman whose thoughts and efforts are devoted to helping make her community a better place in which to live. Prime examples of this are her countless hours of volunteering to such organizations as FISH, Trinity Thrift Shop, the Women's Club and Community Associates of Melrose where, as President, she was able to present a check for $25,000 to refurbish the Milano Center. All this was from the profits of the Community Associates. Management and thrift have always been present in all that she undertakes.

Peggy was born in Medford, Massachusetts in October, 1931. After graduation from Medford High in 1949, she worked for an insurance adjuster at Massachusetts Bonding Insurance Company where she met her husband Bob. They have been married for 53 years and have four children and 11 grandchildren. They have lived in Melrose for 37 years.

Social Security Benefits

First, the good news! Nearly 50 million Americans are due to receive a monthly increase of 4.1% or a $39 average increase per month. This is S.S. benefits biggest boost in 15 years. Last year's increase was only 2.7%. Starting in January 2006 the average Social Security check will increase from $963 to$1,002.

On the other hand rising energy prices, including a record-breaking surge in September were the driving force behind the big cost-of-living increase, which is based on changes in the government's Consumer Price Index. The inflation figure rose 1.2% in September, the biggest monthly increase in a quarter-century, mostly because of a huge hurricane-linked rise in energy costs. About one-fourth of the monthly Social Security gain will be eaten-up by a rise in Medicare premiums, which will grow by $10.30 per month starting in January.

All this leads to a reinforcement of what Senior Citizens have always known: The government giveth and the government taketh away. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we keep accurate records of income and expenditures.

Pictured here (L-R) during the first beginners’ computer class are Mary Cail, student, Philip Fortunato, instructor, and Roseanne Greene, facilitator.  

Computer lessons have started

Computer lessons started in October in the computer room of the Carriage House Lounge. Currently beginners’ lessons are being taught (three lessons for $25).

If you signed up for classes, please be patient. We are calling people off a list of nearly 150 names for beginners’ classes only. The Internet connection is still problematic but the City’s IT Department is working on it and will have it running as soon as possible. When connected we will start classes on Exploring the Internet. In the meantime, for those seeking computer assistant, we are offering peer assistants. They are volunteers familiar with computers, not experts, that can explain many of the basics. The cost for a one-to-one peer assistance is $3.00 per hour. People are welcome to use the computers without charge throughout the day as long as there are no classes scheduled.

If you want your name added to our list for a computer class, wish to schedule a time for peer assistance, or have general questions, call 781-662-6886.  

Newsletter notices/announcements may be sent to the Council on Aging, 235 W. Foster St., Melrose, MA 02176. They must be received by the 5th day of the month proceeding the month in which your event will be held. Questions? Call us at 781- 665-4304 - George Nelson Torrey, Editor.

December 2, 2005

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