Looking Ahead

Art appreciation, bonus bucks, better dining

... Looking Ahead, April 2008: The very latest for seniors

by Jack Beckley, director, Melrose Council on Aging

Looking Ahead
Melrose Council on Aging
April 2008

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

Art Keeps Us Human

Art teaches.Art communicates.Art has humor, adventure and passion.Art matters!People are the only living creatures  who make art.We use visual images to communicate with one another as a species. Art transcends language, different cultures, time and distance. It keeps us connected to one another. It keeps us human.

Join us at the Milano Senior Center at 1:30 p.m. on Tues., April 8, for a brief mini-history of western civilization through art, from the caves to the shuttle, to see how art and civilization depend upon each other.
Presenting will be Jane Blair, owner and founder of Art Matters and a practicing artist and teacher at the DeCordoba Museum in Acton.

Let’s Hear It for Whole Grains

Ever wonder what foods are actually  whole grain” and how to increase your daily consumption of whole grains? Join Candace Quigley, RD, from Mystic Valley Elder Services for a nutrition presentation on whole grains. She will help you easily identify what food products are whole grain, what their health benefits are and how to incorporate more whole grains into your meals. The presentation will be on Monday, April 7, from 12:15 to 12:45. Handouts will be provided.

Alzheimer’s Care for the Family Caregiver

Join us for a presentation by Home Instead Senior Care entitled Practical Tips for People Caring for People with Memory Impairment at the Milano Center on Mon. April 14 at 10:00 a.m. Following it, a nifty Alzheimer’s resource guide for families will be distributed.

Economic Stimulus Payments

Most taxpayers just file their tax returns as usual to receive economic stimulus payments of $300 to $600 for individuals and $600-$1200 for joint filers. However, some low–income workers and retirees who normally do not file returns must file this year to receive stimulus payments. Returns must show qualifying income of at least $3,000.Qualifying income includes Social Security, and certain veterans’ and Railroad Retirement benefits.
AARP tax aides can help low-income people complete simple tax returns to receive stimulus payments. Simply come to the last AARP help session at the Milano Center on Mon., April 7, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.A tax aide will explain how to fill out the form.

New Line Dance Class
As you may know, our longtime line dance instructor, Steve White, has stopped some of his line dance classes, including our Tuesday morning class, to spend more time with his wife who is retiring. We will miss him and wish them both well.

A new line dance class, taught by Charlotte Luscombe, starts Thursday, April 10, at 1:30 p.m. The cost is $3 per class. Charlotte has a strong following at the Somerville Senior Center and is looking forward to having lots of fun here in Melrose. Give it a try!

New Beginnings-Transitioning To Maturity

Please join Cathy Ricketson, Beacon Hospice social worker, for a workshop that helps us to understand the changes that occur as we mature. As we grow older we may face many challenges, changes and losses. We also have opportunities. We will explore how to cope with these changes with the goal of keeping strong in mind, body and spirit!

This workshop takes place at the Milano Center on Mon. April 28, at 10:00 a.m.If there is sufficient interest, this may be expanded to an eight-week support group.

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.

U.S. Post Office

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

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.

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, April 11 & 25 from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Learn to use email, send pictures, or use the internet to check on a low auto insurance rate, 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.

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).

An Evening of Music for a Good Cause!

"Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me!” Tickets are on sale for $50 for MVES’ third annual theatre event!On Saturday, April 12, at 8 p.m. event sponsors and guests will gather at Stoneham Theatre to enjoy a performance of Sisters of Swing, The Andrews Sisters Story. Net proceeds will benefit the MVES Gap Fund, a $1 million endowment being established to help elders who fall just outside the guidelines for government-funded home care. Tickets are selling fast, so call Molly Osborn at 781-324-7705 to purchase yours today!We hope to see you there.

Bridge Club

Meets Wednesday mornings. New members are always welcome. Recent winners were: Alan Faller 1st, Esther Snow 2nd, Joe Fallica 3rd. Alan Faller 1st, Fran Vennochi 2nd, Jean Pulsifer 3rd. Henry Porter 1st, Rose Leone 2nd, Lou Froio 3rd. Gloria Frazier 1st, Mary Hicks 2nd, Lou Froio 3rd.

Movies -- Movies -- Movies

"Dan in Real Life" -- Advice columnist and widowed father of three Dan Burns (Steve Carell) has met someone new. Marie (Juliette Binoche) is beautiful, she's smart -- and she just so happens to be the girlfriend of Dan's brother Mitch (Dane Cook). With a publicly recognized moral compass, Dan finds himself torn between reaching for happiness and keeping the peace in his family. Dianne Wiest and John Mahoney co-star in this romantic comedy from director Peter Hedges. PG-13

Hope to see you at the movies on Tues., April 29 at 1:30 p.m.


AARP Chapter 1124 April 11 –– 1:30 p.m. at the Milano Senior Center. Business meeting followed by the Strawberry Dessert Social with vocalist Frank Smith. There is a $5.00 charge.

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

Woman’s Club of Melrose April 16, 12:00, Year-End Luncheon at the Hillview Country Club in North Reading. Please call Ruth at 781-665-7897 for information.


Minibus to Square One MallCall 781-665-4304 to reserve seats on the bus. There is now a two-person minimum for the van to make the trip.
April 7 - Leaves Cefalo Memorial Complex at 10:00 a.m.- returns at 1:00 p.m.

April 14 - Leaves Julian Steele & McCarthy Houses at 10:00 a.m.- returns at 1:00 p.m.

April 28 - Leaves City Hall at 10:00 a.m. - returns at 1:00 p.m.
200 CLUB

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 -- 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's  Misgivings” at Spinelli’s Restaurant, Lynnfield. 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 Richard Abbott, Paul & Barbara Anderson,Edward and Jane Buckley, Mr. & Mrs. Walter Coffin, Alice Consalvo, Bessie Dalelio, Claire Gillis, Joan Green, George Hayes, Phyllis Iudica, Roberta Johnson, John & Margaret Murphy, Sarah Polloch, Miriam Santilli, Herb & Nancy Schurian, and Robert and Beatrice Wadland.

Donations were also received from Kathleen Gill and family in memory of Charles E. Gill, and Arlene and Josh Feinberg in memory of Raymond Souza, devoted father of Kristy Pollack.

Cribbage Anyone?

We are looking for a few people to play cribbage a couple mornings each week at around 9:30 a.m. It doesn’t matter if you know how to play, Frank or Mike will be happy to teach you. If interested, please call Georgie Lewis for more information.

Spring SHINE Training

Health insurance issues are becoming increasingly complicated, so the need for SHINE (Serving Health information Needs of Elders) counselors is growing. Mystic Valley Elder Services is trying to increase its corps of certified counselors and recruit additional people for speaking engagements to meet the needs of elders. The need is great.

Please consider becoming a SHINE volunteer and attending this spring’s SHINE training. The training consists of 9 all-day classes from Monday, May 5 through Wednesday, June 11. A graduation class is scheduled for Tuesday, July 8. The training takes place at MVES in Malden.

In 2007, certified SHINE counselors in the North Shore, Mystic Valley and Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop region provided assistance to more than 3,400 individuals.

For additional information, contact Bari Olevsky, Regional SHINE Director at 781-324-7742, ext. 212 or at bolevsky@mves.org.

What Would You Do With An Extra $350?

Did you know that Prescription Advantage may be able to help pay for your Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) premium? Depending on your income and the Part D plan you choose, you could save as much as $350 in premium costs. And, Prescription Advantage can also save you money by paying your Part D deductible and lowering your co-payments. And most important, Prescription Advantage will cover you if you reach the "donut hole.”

Find out how much money you can save by calling Prescription Advantage today at 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636) or TTY for the deaf and hard of hearing at 1-877-610-0241. Better yet, stop in to see SHINE counselor Lillian Martin at the Milano Center on Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Educational Support Group

The Grandparents & Grandchildren Growing Together educational support group meets the 1st & 3rd Fridays of the month (April 4 & 18) from 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.

Boston Legal Services –
Question about Living Trusts

Boston Legal Services provides free legal consultation for certain types of legal issues thanks to a grant from Mystic Valley Elder Services. A recent caller asked if she should put her house into a "living trust". She was told her that this was usually a bad idea, since this is expensive and could result in a disqualification from MassHealth if she or her husband had to go into a nursing home any time soon. This is particularly true since Congress toughened the Medicaid transfer of assets penalties for transactions which occurred on or after February 8, 2006. If you are contemplating such transactions, please call Legal Services first.

Case priorities include housing (especially eviction defense), MassHealth, Medicare, Social Security, SSI, Food Stamps, veterans' benefits, guardianship defense, and nursing home transfers and discharges, collection and debtor relief. Call Legal Services at (617) 603-1582 if you have such legal problems. Home visits are available.

In March, a Falun Gong class started at the Milano Center. Pictured here at the beginning of the first class is instructor Te Chen (far left) with a group of good-natured students already having a lot of fun. The class is good for you, fun and free. See for yourself on Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m.

Shop Around for Auto Insurance

The Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation and the Division of Insurance have developed a tool to assist consumers looking for the best deals on their insurance premiums. The state’s new web site – www.mass.gov/autorates - helps drivers see the wide range of prices and products now available to them. The Division of Insurance estimates that responsible drivers across Massachusetts can save at least 10% on their 2008 auto insurance premiums.

Visit the site to see for yourself. If you are not online at home, the Milano Center’s computer helpers, Marion Ewell or Maureen Cotter, can help you. Check Looking Ahead’s calendar section to see when they are available for help.

Veterans Dial-A-Lawyer Program.  

The Massachusetts Bar Association is offering a Veterans Dial-A-Lawyer session dedicated solely to veterans’ legal questions. The free program will run on Wednesday, April 9 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Volunteer lawyers will field answer questions on any legal issue, including those related to state and federal benefits. The Dial-A- Lawyer phone number is 617-338-0610.

Writing Class

Dr. Ed Boyd’s writing class resumes on Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. starting April 8. New students as well as current participants are welcome to attend.

AARP Tax-Aides: This year’s tax season is winding down with the last Monday help session being held on April 7, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Shown here (L-R) are this year’s volunteers, Jack O’Connell, Rick Mockler, site manager, Rosemary Behrle, coordinator, Fred Alaros, Vinnie DeFeo and Nina DiOreo. Please note: If you don’t file taxes but have at least $3,000 in income (including pensions & social security), you’re probably eligible for a $300-600 stimulus package check form the federal government. Drop in to the Milano Center in the morning on April 7 to fill out a form. Bring any documentation you have verifying your income.No appointments are necessary to apply for the stimulus package checks.

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

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