Looking Ahead

Immunization, holiday dinners, help from all corners

... Tough times? Look for a lift right here

from Jack Beckley, director, Melrose Council on Aging

Looking Ahead
Melrose Council on Aging
November, 2008

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


Immunization Clinics
Flu, Pneumonia & Tetanus

Tues., Nov. 18, 3-4 PM Milano Center
18 years old and older

Tues., Dec. 2, 7-8 PM Knights of Columbus
Open also to adult residents of Wakefield, Malden, Stoneham, & Medford
Wear short sleeves! Immunizations are free with Medicare Part B cards, HMO Blue, PPO Blue, Tufts Medicare Preferred, and First Seniority. $10 per shot without a card. For information, call the Health Dept. at 781-979-4130.

Thanksgiving Special Luncheon

Come to our delicious Thanksgiving Luncheon at the Milano Senior Center on Thurs., Nov. 20 at 12:00 p.m. There will be roast turkey with gravy, cornbread stuffing, whipped potatoes, peas & onions, cranberry sauce, and for dessert apple pie with whipped topping.

Seating is limited and tickets ($1.50 suggested donation) will be available only until noon on November 13, so get them early. This holiday feast is offered in cooperation with Mystic Valley Elder Services.

Golden Living Center Melrose is bringing delicious pies for dessert.

Ask the Podiatrist

Foot or ankle pain or problems can make life miserable but may be lessened or alleviated with proper treatment. Please join us at the Milano Center for a Question and Answer session by Carl Conui, DPM of the NE Foot and Ankle Specialists on Tues., Nov. 18 at 11:30 a.m. Sponsored by Hallmark Health Homecare.   

Songs of World War II
Thurs., Nov. 6, at 1:30 p.m.

Come to the Milano Center for this free presentation of live music and history in honor of Veterans Day by Mary Shaw, soprano, and Bill Sano on the piano. They will present some of the best-loved songs of the era and share memories and anecdotes from local veterans.

Light refreshments will be served courtesy of the Golden Living Center Melrose. This program is sponsored, in part, by a grant from the Melrose Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass. Cultural Council, a state agency, and by the Melrose Friends of the Aging.     

Please call 781-662-6886 to register

High School Thanksgiving Luncheon

Students in Sharon McCauley’s High School cooking classes are preparing another Thanksgiving feast. Tickets, though limited to 30 people, are free thanks to sponsorship by the Melrose High School Student Council.

Melrose residents only, call 781-662-6886 to place your name in the drawing for tickets. Each of the 15 names drawn will receive two tickets. The luncheon will be served at Melrose High School at 11:30 a.m., Fri., Nov. 21. The drawing will take place at the Milano Center at 10:00 a.m. on Nov. 17. You do not have to be present to win tickets.

Pictured after dropping-off guests for lunch at the Milano Center is minibus driver Paul Dineen. The new minibus is the 2008 Ford 8-passenger vehicle that all residents age 60 and over are welcome to use to get to and from Melrose destinations. See below about booking rides.

Ride in the New COA Van

The Council provides transportation within Melrose for residents age 60 plus. The van runs Mon. - Thurs. from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Rides within the city may be booked for any reason, such as shopping, banking or to visit a friend. However, medical transportation is given priority by allowing rides to be booked up to 3 months in advance.

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., Nov. 18 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. No lines, buy your stamps at the Milano Center.

SHINE Counselors

Those seeking unbiased health insurance information or help dealing with health insurance related problems can visit SHINE counselors at the Milano Senior Center. Lillian Martin is available on Wednesday mornings from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Heather Gomez on Friday mornings from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

No appointments are necessary.
Receive Looking Ahead at Home

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.

Senior Dining Program

Delicious noontime meals are served each weekday in the Milano Center. The lunch program is run in cooperation with MVES, Inc.

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).

Community Dinner

Mayor Dolan invites you to come to the Community Dinner on Tuesday evenings from 5-6 p.m. at the Milano Senior Center.

Reservations are requested at least a day in advance and may be made by calling 781-662-6886.

Bridge Club – Meets Wednesday mornings. New members are always welcome. Recent winners were:
Bob Morrison 1st, Fran Venocchi 2nd, Elizabeth Cserhalmi 3rd. Joe Fallica 1st, Linda Paladino 2nd, Fran Vennochi 3rd. And Fran Vennochi,    Bill Ciampa and    Alan Faller.

Duplicate Bridge: October’s winners were George Hughes, Jr. and George Hughes, Sr., N-S and Neska Berthel and Jean Pulsifer, E-W.

The Melrose Mirror

Read the Melrose Mirror, an Internet publication written by Melrose residents at the Milano Center, at:
http://melrosemirror.media.mit.edu. Great local pictures.

After reading the Mirror, send us an e-mail to let us know what you think. If you are interested in editing, writing, photography, graphics, etc., come to a meeting on Wed. afternoons at 1:30 p.m.


AARP Chapter 1124 Nov. 14, 1:30 p.m., Milano Senior Center. Business meeting followed by program, "Sit back and enjoy a trip to the country fair” with Bill Patton.

Melrose Woman’s Club – Nov. 18, 12 p.m., Most Blessed Sacrament Hall, 1155 Main St. New members are always welcome.

Melrose Veterans’ Club - Meets Fridays at 9:00 a.m., GAR Room, Memorial Hall.


Minibus to Meadow Glen Mall in October. Call 781-665-4304 to reserve seats on the bus.

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

Nov. 12 Mohegan Sun Casino/Cornerstone Theatre, Mystic, CT Includes motorcoach; 5 hour stay at Mohegan; $30 package ($10 food/$20 free bet); 90 minute performance of  The Nutty Cracker Christmas Sweet”; Snack pack lunch for ride home.

Pick-ups: 7:00 a.m. Stone Place; 7:15 a.m. Levi Gould; 7:30 a.m. Cochrane House. $59 pp

Dec. 10 Bright Nights at Forest Park, Springfield, MA Includes motorcoach; Christmas Tree Shop in Holyoke; Historic Yankee Pedler Inn for dinner; Meal choices: Baked Scrod, Chicken Pot Pie, or Yankee Pot Roast; 35-minute ride  breathtaking” through Forest Park - over 500,000 Christmas lights!

Pick-ups: 10:30 Stone Place; 10:45 am Levi Gould; 11:00 am, Cochrane House. $56 pp

Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve DAY Party Holiday Inn, Mansfield, MA starring Meryl Galaid.  The Best of Broadway and More” with  A Little Garland & A Little Minnelli.” Lunch featuring escarole soup, roasted turkey dinner, oven roasted potatoes, glazed carrots, cheesecake with berry sauce, coffee or tea. The New Year’s Eve Countdown!

Pick-ups: 9:30 a.m. Stone Place; 9:45 a.m. Levi Gould; 10:00 a.m. Cochrane House. $59 pp

Jan. 30 Surprise Bag Bingo, Wright’s Chicken Farm, RI, includes motorcoach to Harrisville, Rhode Island; your bingo card is included in your trip price; all prizes will be  grab bags”; Chicken Dinner Family Style; all you can eat chicken, salad, shells with sauce, french fries, dessert, beverage.
Wright’s Gift Shop!

Pick-ups: Stone Place; Levi Gould, Cochrane House – TO BE ANNOUNCED. $44 pp

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

Save Your Grocery Receipts

Shaws grocery receipts equal cash for a Servants Heart food pantry. Please save your receipts and drop them in the box in lobby of the Milano Center. For every $5,000 in receipts collected, Shaws donates $50 to the pantry.

Please consider making a donation to the Melrose Friends of the Aging in support of the Milano Senior Center and programs and services of the Council on Aging. Last month generous donations were received from Marjory & Ed Benincasa and Helen Lambert.

A generous donation was also received from Margaret Lucey in memory of Francis Lucey.

Movies on the Big Screen

For the past few months we have been talking about getting the new big (65”) screen television for Tierney Hall. Hopefully, it will be installed in time for the showing of "3:10 to Yuma" on Nov. 25th. It will also have the Wii system that everyone is talking about that lets you exercise while playing interactive games. The TV and all equipment is being donated by the Piccolo Family Charitable Foundation.

"3:10 to Yuma" Rancher Dan Evans (Christian Bale) agrees to transport the captured outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to the nearest town with a rail station, where they'll wait for a train to court in Yuma. Holed up in the hotel near the station, Wade wreaks psychological havoc on Evans, while Wade's henchmen plan their next move. Director James Mangold's suspense-filled Western is a remake of the 1957 classic starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin.

See you at the movies on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 1:30 p.m.


Fuel Assistance: The Tri-CAP Fuel Assistance program helps low-income homeowners and renters pay a portion of the cost of heating (oil, gas, electric, rent if heat is included in rent) their homes. Eligibility is based on current gross income and household size (approximately $20,800 for one or $28,000 for two). Program contact numbers: Fuel Assistance 781-322-6284. Energy Conservation, Weatherization/Heating Systems 781-322-4190

The program, open November through April, is not intended to cover the entire cost of home heating, but coupled with conservation services , and discounts (oil, gas, electric, and telephone) energy costs can become more affordable for the low-income family.
Anyone in danger of being without heat due to low fuel supply, gas heat or electric shutoff should call the Energy office immediately at 781-322-6284.

Citizens Energy heat assistance programs begin in December and help people who cannot afford to pay their heating bills. The Oil Heat Program gives each eligible household a voucher for 100 free gallons of home heating oil. The Citizens Energy/Distrigas Heat Assistance Program gives a $150 utility bill credit to eligible households who heat with natural gas. In December, call 1-877-JOE-4-OIL (1-877-563-4645) for information.

The Good Neighbor Energy Fund helps people in need pay for their winter heating fuel and other energy bills. The Fund is for people who are facing a short-term financial crisis and do not qualify for government fuel assistance programs. For information call 1-800- 262—1320 or visit www.goodneighbor.org.

Utility Arrearage Programs help families pay overdue utility bills. Utility arrearage programs help families prevent utility shutoffs or restore utility service that has already been shut off. The programs offer payment plans, debt forgiveness, or a combination of the two. To apply call Tri-CAP at (781) 322-6284

Utility Discounts Massachusetts gas, electric, and telephone companies offer reduced rates to low-income customers who receive public assistance benefits and meet income limits. Eligible customers get a 20% to 40% discount on their gas and electric rates, and a discount on basic local telephone service and installation. Utility companies enroll eligible customers automatically, or customers can apply directly to their utility company by calling the Customer Service number on their utility bill.

Utility Shutoff Protection Massachusetts laws prevent utility companies from shutting off service to households in special situations. These include senior (age 65 or over) households, low-income families with infants, and people with serious illnesses who cannot afford to pay their utility bills. During the winter months, utility companies cannot shut off heating- related utilities for households with a financial hardship. For an application first call the Customer Service number on your utility bill. For additional information, call the Div. of Public Utilities at 1- 800-392-6066.

MassSAVE is an energy savings program for Massachusetts homeowners and renters. MassSAVE offers energy tips and information about free home energy assessments, energy- saving products, and loans, rebates, and other incentives for energy-saving home improvements. For information call 1-866-527-7283 or visit www.masssave.com.

Getting Ready for Digital TV

On February, 17, 2009, television stations will stop broadcasting in the analog format and start sending digital signals. If you use an antenna for your TV reception, you will need to buy a Analog-to-Digital Converter box or buy a new TV with a built-in ATSC tuner. Cable and satellite TV subscribers do not have to do anything to prepare for this change.

All households using over-the-air analog reception (antennas) are eligible for up to two $40 coupons that may be used at local electronics stores to purchase analog-to-digital converter boxes. Coupons may be requested by calling 1-888-388-2009 or on-line at www.DTV2009.gov.

Elders urged to Vote No on Question 1

The first question on the November ballot will ask citizens if they would like to repeal the state income tax. No one likes to pay taxes, but income tax revenues make up 40% of the state’s operating budget. Should the repeal pass, community programs such as police, fire, schools, and elder services would probably be cut drastically. The Board of Directors at Mystic Valley Elder Services (MVES) and Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging (MCOA) have both taken official positions against the repeal of the income tax. Please consider joining MVES and MCOA and vote No on Question 1. Help continue the programs that are so important to residents.

SHINE advises elders to:

...Review medications with your doctors;

...Save information you receive from your current health insurance plan regarding  creditable” coverage or changes in the formulary;

...If you are a MassHealth or Prescription Advantage member, be sure that your plan premium is at or below $31.74;

...Call your current insurance company to confirm premium changes, ask if your medications are still on the formulary and ask about the co-payment of each medication;

...To make an appointment with a local SHINE counselor to review all your insurance information. Call the Milano Center at 781-662-6886;

...Call Mass Medline at 1-866-633-1617 to discuss alternatives to brand name drugs, or other pharmacy benefits.

Let’s Take a Look at Food Portions

Join Candace Quigley, Registered Dietitian, from Mystic Valley Elder Services for a presentation on how portion sizes have changed and how we can control our portions in order to have a positive impact on our health. The presentation will be on November 18 from 12:30 to 1:00 p.m.. Handouts will be provided.

November is National
Family Caregiver Month

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 Service’s (MVES) Family Caregiver Support Program offers a number of services that help to alleviate stress and improve the quality of life for both caregivers and their loved ones. To find out more about programs and support groups available to caregivers, please call MVES at 781-324-7705. Caregivers deserve care too—in November and all year long.

Computer Help

Friendly computer help is available at the Milano Center. Marion Ewell helps on Thursday mornings from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and Maureen Cotter on Friday, Nov. 14 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.

Afghan Raffle

A beautiful, handmade afghan made and donated by Nina Gibelli will be raffled off at the Thanksgiving luncheon on Nov. 20. Support your senior center and buy a raffle ticket. They are $1 for one or $5 for 6. You do not have to be present to win.

November is Alzheimer Awareness Month

For a calendar of Awareness Month Events, visit the website, www.alz.org/MA, or call 1-800-272-3900.

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- 430

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