Looking Ahead

Among coming celebrations, St. Paddy's Day!

... Looking Ahead for March '08

by Jack Beckley, executive director, Melrose Council on Aging

Looking Ahead
Melrose Council on Aging
March, 2008

Eileen M. Olsen, Chairperson
Jim Driscoll, Vice-Chairperson
Kay McCarte, Secretary
Rosemary Behrle
George Nelson Torrey
Rick Mockler
Ted Bond

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
March 13, 12:00 PM

Please come to our St. Patrick’s Day Celebration sponsored in cooperation with Mystic Valley Elder Services, Inc. For lunch, there is corned beef stew, boiled potatoes, biscuit, and bread pudding and topping for dessert. Following lunch, you will be entertained by the very talented musician and singer David Polansky.

Tickets go on sale March 3 for $3.00 ($1.50 suggested donation for the meal and $1.50 for entertainment). When buying your ticket, support the Center and buy a few raffle tickets on Margie Piscitelli’s beautiful afghan that will be raffled off after before the entertainment.  

Today’s News: This hardy group ventured out on a snowy morning to discuss the presidential primary results, a fascinating topic. They meet weekly to discuss topics in the news. Pictured left to right are Ruth Dost, discussion facilitator Ken Goldstein, Charlie Milano and Nate Purpel.

Stop by any Thursday for stimulating conversation in a friendly, open-minded setting.

Volunteer Opportunity

We are looking for an upbeat person to man the Milano Center’s reception desk on Tuesday afternoons. Ideally, they will warmly greet those entering the lobby and occupy themselves during quiet periods.

Falun Gong Class Starting

Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese Qigong practice designed to improve the mind and body through exercise and meditation. Practitioners find that it has far-reaching effects in stress-relief and overall mental and physical health, and ultimately in bringing people towards the goal of wisdom and enlightenment.

Te Chen has led a Saugus Senior Center class for years and has kindly accepted her students’ requests to start a class in Melrose. The first class is on Wed., March 12, at 3 p.m. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, please check with your doctor first to see if you can do some stretching and gentle exercise. There is no charge for the class. Please sign up in the lobby or call 781-662-6886 if you plan to attend.

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 and 781-662-2030 afternoons. $1 per ride suggested donation.

Rides to Johnnie’s Foodmaster

Every Thursday, Foodmaster offers free transportation to its Melrose store and riders receive a 5% discount on their total order and a chance to win a $10 Foodmaster Gift Card.

Bus Pick-up Times and Locations:
  • Steele house: 9:10 AM

  • Cefalo Mem. Complex: 9:30 AM

  • Levi Gould & Fuller Houses: 9:40 AM

  • Cochrane House: 9:50 AM

  • All participants have between 1-1½ hours for shopping.

U.S. Post Office

For your convenience, representatives of the U.S. Postal Service are at the Milano Senior Center on Tues., March 18 from 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. You can buy stamps, mail small packages and even apply for a passport.

Silver Singles Club

This group of active women meet on the third Tuesday of the month to socialize and plan occasional outings. Refreshments are served and all are welcome. Plan to attend their next meeting on March 18 at 2 p.m. For more information, please call Anna Estle at 781-662-6856.

SHINE Program

SHINE counselor Lillian Martin is at the Milano Senior Center every Wednesday from 11 AM – 2:00 p.m. to answer your health insurance related questions. SHINE (Serving Health Information Needs of Elders) is an Executive Office of Elder Affairs program providing support and on-going training. No appointments are necessary, just stop in.

Senior Dining Program

Delicious noontime meals are served each weekday 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 are in the Melrose Free Press.

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

Caregivers Need Care Too!
Caring for a loved one can often be difficult and frustrating. Many families may not know where to turn or how to ask for help. Mystic Valley Elder Services’(MVES) Family Caregiver Support Program offers a number of services that help alleviate stress and improve the quality of life for both you and your loved one. Receive one-on-one assistance to assess your needs and identify options, obtain information about community resources and local programs, access services that can offer temporary relief from the demands of providing constant care, and connect with others for support. Please call MVES at 781-324-7705 for more information.

Bridge Club – Meets Wednesday mornings. New members are always welcome. Recent winners were: John Lawry 1st; Rose Leone & Ester Parsons 2nd; Fran Vennochi 3rd.

Fran Vennochi 1st; Jean Pulsifer 2nd; Neska Berthel 3rd; Bill Haley 1st; Paul Frazier 2nd; Gloria Frazier 3rd; Alan Faller 1st; Esther Snow 2nd; and Joe Fallica 3rd.

Duplicate Bridge: February winners were Alicia Roman & Jeanne Lightbown N & S and Dick Dunn & Rachel Dunn E & W.

Movies -- Movies -- Movies

The Jane Austen Book Club Six book club members find their lives resemble a modern-day version of Jane Austen's novels in this drama. Sylvia's (Amy Brenneman) husband of 20-plus years has walked out; Jocelyn (Maria Bello) breeds dogs to escape loneliness; Prudie (Emily Blunt) dreams of other men; Bernadette (Kathy Baker) hopes to find Mr. Right; Allegra (Maggie Grace) has issues with her girlfriend; and Grigg (Hugh Dancy), the only man, wonders why he's even in the club.

All are welcome to this free showing on Tues., March 11, at 1:30 p.m. Rated PG13. 1 hr. 46 min.


AARP Chapter 1124 March 14 –– 1:30 p.m. at the Milano Senior Center. Business meeting followed by a presentation entitled Bone & Joint Pain: Prevention and Treatment” by Deborah Cronin-Waelde, RN, program director of the Bone and Joint Program at Hallmark Health.

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

Woman’s Club of Melrose  March 19, 12:00, Most Blessed Sacrament Church. Program: Presidents’ Day with Donald Wilkinson, Baritone. All women are welcome to join the Woman’s Club. For information call 781-665-7897.  


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.

March 3 - Leaves Cefalo Memorial Complex at 10:00 a.m.- returns at 1:00 p.m.
March 10 - Leaves Julian Steele & McCarthy Houses at 10:00 a.m.- returns at 1:00 p.m.
March 17 - Leaves City Hall at 10:00 a.m. - returns at 1:00 p.m.

200 CLUB

March 12, St. Patrick’s Celebration, White’s Restaurant, Westport, MA.  Family-style luncheon – corned beef/cabbage & turkey, entertainment and floor show. Pick Up: Pleasant St. (Stone Pl.) 9:30 a.m., Levi Gould 9:45 a.m., Cochrane House 10:00 a.m. $49.

April 16, Love, Sex and the IRS, Foxwoods Casino, Garde Arts Center, CT. Lots of clean laughs! Includes $10 off any restaurant at Foxwoods or FREE all you can eat buffet. $15 free Keno play. Pick Up: Pleasant St. (Stone Pl.) 7:30 a.m., Levi Gould 7:45 a.m., Cochrane House 8:00 a.m. $58.    

May 7, Spring Fling, Prince Pizzeria, Saugus, MA. Join the Swampscott Senior Center at the Prince Pizzeria, Rte 1 South in Saugus from 12:00-2:00 p.m. for a great luncheon buffet and entertainment by the "Senior Tones” quartet. Transportation on your own. $20.

May 21, "Father  Misgivings” at Spinelli’s Restaurant, Lynnfield, MA. Includes comedy show, live music for line and ballroom dancing, and a luncheon choice of Boston schrod or boneless chicken. $44 or, if you need a ride, $64 with bus transportation. Pick-up: Levi Gould 11:00 a.m.

For information, contact Rosemary Behrle (781) 665-3258. Checks payable to: The 200 Club.

The Melrose Friends of the Aging gratefully acknowledge generous contributions from Francis Chalmers, Doris DeAmicis, Joan Potter, Elizabeth Sheppard, Sally Stingel, and Faith Whittier.
Donations were also received from Peg Cotter in appreciation of Gloria Carroll; Georgie and Larry Lewis in memory of Lou Perillo; Natalie Thomson in memory of Ella Letterie; and Elaine Antonucci, Barbara Cavanaugh, Josephine Donovan, Elizabeth Farmer, Frances Kelly and Elizabeth Leonard in memory of Dorothy Driscoll.

Thank you!

The family of Dorothy Driscoll donated a beautiful Mah Jongg game to the Milano Senior Center in Dorothy’s memory. It’s a timely and much appreciated gift with Mah Jongg lessons having started just last month.
Dorothy was a dedicated Council on Aging volunteer. The Council offers her family its sincerest condolences.

Free AARP Tax Assistance

IRS-trained Tax-Aide counselors assist disabled persons and those age 60 and over with low to moderate incomes in filing their taxes again this year at the Milano Senior Center (no Schedule C, complicated D, or E forms will be prepared). Appointments with Tax-Aides are available Mondays, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., through April 7, 2007.

Please bring: 1. A copy of your 2006 return; 2. All taxes paid for 2007 (withholding and estimated); 3. All 2007 income report forms 1099s, W-2, etc. If interested in the annual state income tax credit ("Circuit Breaker”) of up to $900, bring your property tax valuation, annual income and property taxes paid and paid water & sewer services. You do not have to pay state taxes to qualify for the tax credit.

For appointments, call 781-665-4304 mornings. Time permitting, walk-ins are seen on a first-come, first-serve basis - after appointments.

Educational Support Group

The Grandparents & Grandchildren Growing Together educational support group meets the 1st & 3rd Fridays of the month (March. 7 & 21), 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., at the Stoneham Senior Center. Custodial, guardian and caregiver grandparents are welcome to attend this free support group. The group is sponsored by North Suburban Family Network with support from Mystic Valley Elder Services.
Registration is required and may be made by calling 781-662-2722.
Local Realtors Receive
Specialized Training to Assist Seniors

Brad Hutchinson Real Estate is pleased to announce that Pat Fitzgerald and Kathy Richard have become certified Senior Real Estate Specialists (SRES) and members of the SRES Council of America, a national council that advocates for and recognizes the special needs of people age 60 and over.

Senior Real Estate Specialists are familiar with federal laws for the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA), about the use of pensions, 401K accounts, and IRAs in real estate transactions, and how to recognize mortgage, finance and loan schemes and scams that victimize elder borrowers.

Pat and Kathy have assembled a team of experts to help serve older homeowners, including a lawyer, mortgage advisor, and accountant and plan to offer a seminar in April or May at the Milano Senior Center.

Property Tax Exemption

If you or your spouse reached age 65 before July 1, 2007, you may be eligible for a $700 tax exemption. In order to qualify, an individual’s total income for 2006 must be under $20,000 (after deducting $3,841 in Social Security or Railroad Retirement income for a retired worker). An individual drawing on his/her spouse’s retirement benefits may deduct only $1,921. A single person cannot have more than $40,000 in assets. A couple’s income must be under $30,000 (after deducting $5,762 in Social Security or Railroad Retirement income). A couple cannot have more than $55,000 in assets. Application deadline is March 31, 2008.

For additional information, call the Assessor’s office at 781-979-4104.

Computer Help

Friendly computer help is available at the Milano Center. Marion Ewell helps on Thursday mornings 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and Maureen Cotter on Friday, March 7 & 28 from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Learn to use email, send pictures, or use the internet to look up your ancestors, medical conditions, vacation spots, news, anything. There is no charge to use the computers, however a $3 suggested donation to the Senior Center is requested for one-to-one assistance. No appointment necessary, just drop in.

In Memoriam to Ed Butler and Al Mandrachia

The "boys” were given the sad news – Ed and Al passed away
They gave us so much in their own way
Al and Ed both displayed great style
We will always remember their warm smile
With war upon us, both young men answered the call
To help make a safer world for us all
Ed, a radio gunner on a B-24 flight crew
Flew many dangerous combat missions during WWII
A much decorated war hero was he
He risked his young life for you and for me
Al, an army doctor, gave troops much hope
As he healed their wounds and their scars
Oh so many – too, too many by far
Devotion to family and to their wives
Played a major role getting on with their lives
Many years of family and professional affairs
Respect for, abundance of love and of paternal care
Then onto new friends and to bridge brothers
To bring laughter and pleasure to all others
Ed, used his unique way of playing his cards
Certain to let us know and for us to understand
That he had the situation well in hand
Al, displayed colorful body language for us to know
That he made his contract – he put on a show!
It’s such a short time yet we miss you two
Our bridge laughter and antics were much too few!
With flying colors, Al and Ed, passed their test
And now to their rest – to rest and to rest
                            by Bill Ciampa

Chair Caning

Ted Bond (center) shows Maria Sica (left) and Carmela Yannaco some chair caning techniques to use on their nearly completed chairs. Not shown is instructor Don Johnson.

Chair caning is a time-consuming but rewarding craft that can turn a chair with a broken seat that might otherwise be thrown out into a valued family heirloom. It is also fun and the instruction is free. You pay only for the cane for your chair.

If you have a chair that needs to be caned, what are you waiting for?  
Bring it down any Thursday morning.

Exercise for Older Adults

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side. With a 5-lb. potato sack in each hand, extend your arm straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax. Each day, you’ll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer. After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato sacks. Then try 50-lb potato sacks and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute (I’m at this level).

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each of the sacks.

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 preceeding the month in which you wish your announcement to appear. Questions? Call us at 781-665-4304.

March 7, 2008

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