Looking Ahead

Secretary Festa leaves Elder Affairs

... news from Looking Ahead, March 2009

from Jack Beckley, director, Melrose Council on Aging

Looking Ahead
Melrose Council on Aging, March 2009

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

Secretary Festa Leaves Elder Affairs

Those in the elder service network and councils on aging, in particular, were saddened to learn of Mike Festa’s resignation as Secretary of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs on January 30, 2009.

In the short time that Mike was secretary, he accomplished much and drew praise from elder advocates across the Commonwealth. We regret his resignation and wish him well in his next endeavors.

Ellie Shea-Delaney, who served as interim secretary prior to Festa’s appointment, will serve as interim secretary again until a new Secretary of Elder Affairs is appointed.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Tuesday, March 17, 12:00 PM

Please come to our St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. The luncheon menu includes corned beef stew, parsley boiled potatoes, golden biscuit, and ambrosia. After lunch, there will be musical entertainment by the very talented singer Greg Curtis.

Tickets are limited and go on sale March 2. Tickets are $3.00 ($1.50 suggested donation for the meal and $1.50 for the entertainment).  
WII Players Needed

The Milano Center has a new big screen television and Wii player thanks to a donation by the Piccalo Family Charitable Foundation.

We are looking for a few people familiar with WII to show others how to play and, possibly, to organize a golf or bowling tournament.

If you are interested, please give Jack Beckley a call at 781-665-4304.

Mammograms: Latest Technology Helps with Diagnosis
Please come to this informational program at the Milano Center on Tuesday, March 10, at 1:00 p.m.  Maureen Brogan, of Lawrence Memorial Hospitals, Mammography Department, will explain why mammography is important and what the latest technology can tell us.
Sponsored by Hallmark Health Care VNA and Hospice.  

At Home In Melrose Update

This past summer, a group of Melrose residents met to discuss the possibilities of enabling local residents to remain in their own homes, as they grow older.  A result of that meeting was the beginning of a non-profit organization called At Home In Melrose.

The organization’s first step was to find out if the older population in Melrose wanted to continue living in their own homes and what services were needed to facilitate that objective.

A comprehensive, anonymous questionnaire was created and mailed to just under 10,000 residents, who were 50+ years of age.
More than 1400 residents responded, and of that number, 97% wanted to remain in their homes and were enthusiastic about At Home In Melrose. Services desired were wide ranging, and included help with transportation, educational classes and trips, physical and social activities, and a vetted list of service providers.
Working with this information, At Home In Melrose will help adults continue to live in Melrose as they grow older. Through a membership-based, fee-driven program now being developed, our organization will provide members with access to popular services and essential resources.
We now need people interested in helping themselves remain at home to get involved with our non-profit organization. For more information about our plans and/or to get involved with At Home In Melrose, please contact us by email at info@athomeinmelrose.org, or by mail at At Home In Melrose, c/o COA, 235 West Foster St., Melrose, MA, 02176.

We hope to hear from you.
                          Mary Edwards, President
                          At Home In Melrose

Storm Cancellation Policy

When storms force delayed openings at the Melrose Public schools, the Milano Center will open at 10:00 a.m.  When school is cancelled:
* The Milano Senior Center will be closed
and no congregate meals will be served.
* The Minibus will not run the entire day.
* The COA office will be open unless City Hall closes.
* To find out if Home Delivered Meals will be delivered, please check local television channels 5 or 25. You will also find cancellations on the following web sites: www.whdh.com, www.thebostonchannel.com, www.wrko.com, and www.myfoxboston.com.

Ride in COA Van

The COA provides rides for residents age 60 plus within Melrose.  The minibus runs Mon. - Thurs. from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  
To reserve or check on a ride, call 781-665-4304 mornings and 781-662-2030 afternoons until 3:30 p.m. A $1-per-ride suggested donation is requested.

SHINE Program

Get help with your health-insurance related questions.  SHINE counselor Lillian Martin is at the Milano Senior Center to help on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Heather Gomez on Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. SHINE (Serving Health Information Needs of Elders) is an Executive Office of Elder Affairs program. No need for an appointment, just stop in.

U.S. Post Office
For your convenience, representatives of the U.S. Postal Service are at the Milano Senior Center on Tues., March 17. from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.  No lines, buy your stamps at the Milano Center.  

Senior Dining Program

Delicious noon-time meals are served each weekday 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 are in the local newspapers.

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 donation is requested for each meal.  Rides are available by calling 781-665-4304 ($1 suggested donation).
Meets Wednesday mornings. New members are always welcome. A snowy day resulted in cancellation of duplicate bridge. Recent winners are:

Paul Frazier 1st, Henry Porter 2nd; Ellen Durant/Gloria Frazier 3rd.

Alan Fuller 1st, Nancy Mouradian 2nd, Mary Manning 3rd.

Rose Leone 1st, Alan Fuller 2nd, Paul Frazier 3rd.

Paul Frazier 1st, Elizabeth Cserhalmi 2nd, Gloria Frazier 3rd.

Movies  Movies  Movies

The Secret Life of Bees Haunted by the death of her mother, 14-year-old Lily (Dakota Fanning) escapes the dreary life she lives on her father's farm and heads to Tiburon, S.C., with her friend and caregiver, Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson), setting off on a life-changing journey of self-discovery. Set amidst the hotbed of racial tensions in the South in the 1960s, Gina Prince-Bythewood's dramatic tale is based on the bestselling novel by Sue Monk Kidd. PG-13.  Take in the show on the new 65" television on Tuesday, March 3 at 1:30 p.m.


AARP Chapter 1124  March. 13 –– 1:30 PM at the Milano Senior Center. Business meeting followed by program.

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

Melrose Womans’ Club, March 18, 12:00, Most Blessed Sacrament Church Hall.  New members are always welcome.   


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 2 - Leaves Cefalo Memorial Complex at 10 a.m. - returns at 1 p.m.
March 9 - Leaves Julian Steele & McCarthy Houses at 10 a.m. - returns at 1 p.m.
March 16 - Leaves City Hall at 10 a.m. - returns at 1 p.m.

200 CLUB

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, The Venus De Milo, Swansea, MA  Luncheon Menu includes minestrone soup; choice of baked scrod or corned beef and cabbage; potato and vegetable; dessert and coffee. St. Patrick’s Day themed entertainment. Departures: 9:30 am – Stone Place; 9:45 am – Levi Gould; 10:00 am – Cochrane House. $49 pp

April 15: Spring Fling at the Sea Crest Resort, Falmouth, MA  Luncheon includes choice of broiled Chatham scrod or roast chicken with New England apple bread stuffing and pan gravy; all served with salad, rolls, dessert, coffee/tea. Floor show and sing-a-long with the Piano Man. Departures: 9:15 am – Stone Place; 9:30 am – Levi Gould; 9:40 Cochrane House. Return 4:00 p.m. $63 pp

For Information Contact Rosemary Behrle (781) 665-3258. Please make checks payable to: THE 200 CLUB

Free Legal Services

Greater Boston Legal Services case priorities continue to include housing (especially eviction defense), MassHealth, Medicare, Social Security, SSI, Food Stamps, veterans' benefits, guardianship defense, and nursing home transfers and discharges. We also continue to give legal advice on many other issues, especially consumer collection and debtor relief. If you have these sorts of problems, Attorney Daniel Bartley at (617) 603-1582.
On Jan, 15, 2009, Governor Patrick signed into law the Uniform Probate Code.  Among other things, this new law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2009, will provide legal representation to most persons subject to the guardianship process. Greater Boston Legal Services's Elder Unit has been advocating for this law for well over a decade.

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.

Generous donations were received from Doreen Lam in memory of Kay Gilardi; Joe Graves in memory of his parents Elmer and June Graves; Josh & Arlene Feinberg in memory of Arita Tarantino and Salvatore Salipante and Anna Estle in memory of Edwin Estle.

Generous donations to the Jim Driscoll Endowment Fund were also received from Joan & Ed Cassidy and Jim Milano. This fund was recently started to maintain and enhance the Milano Senior Center. For information please contact Rick Mockler at 781-665-8580.

Middlesex Concert Band Presents “Around the World in 80 Minutes

The Middlesex Concert band will present a musical journey “Around the World in 80 Minutes” at the Americal Civic Center at 467 Main Street, Wakefield on Sat., March 21, at 8:00 p.m. and on Sun., March 22, at 3:00 p.m. Saturday evening tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for seniors/children. Sunday performance tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors/children.
For reservations call Chris at 781-279-0108, or visit our web site at www.MCBconcertband.org for more information. Tickets may be purchased at the door based on availability.

Free Hearing Check
A free hearing screening is being offered by Rogers Hearing Solutions on Tuesday morning March 31. Appointments are required and may be made by calling 781-662-6886.

The screening will include a hearing check, and a cleaning and possible repair of current hearing aids. If repairs are needed and not covered under warranty, COA members will receive a 20% discount.  


MassMedLine is a pharmacy outreach program offering free, confidential services to all Massachusetts residents. By calling a toll-free help line, patients can receive general information about their medications and side effects, in addition to personal assistance with accessing affordable prescription drug programs. Call toll free 1-866-633-1617. Trained case managers and licensed pharmacists are on duty Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Translation services are available.


The Massachusetts Health Council will present a Women’s Health Forum Friday, March 20, 2009 at the Marriott Copley Place from 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Cynthia Geyer, MD, medical director at Canyon Ranch.  Moderators will be Mallika Marshal, MD, medical reporter at WBZ-TV, and Marjorie Clapprood from WRKO radio.
Topics to be covered are breast and cervical cancer, domestic violence, heart disease, reproductive and sexual health 30-70, aging, healthy weight, managing stress, access and disparities.

Invite your sisters, grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and friends! For further information call 617-965-3711 or www.mahealthcouncil.org.
How Do I Get There From Home?

Need a ride to the doctor?  Have a lunch date with a friend? Want to go shopping or to the hairdresser? These are basic daily tasks that are often made difficult when an elder no longer is able to drive. Transportation issues are one of the great concerns of the elderly. The Council on Aging van is able to assist with medical appointment, errands, or meeting a friend for tea. The van is available to assist within the city of Melrose. You may call the COA Minibus Dispatch mornings at 781-665-4304 Monday thru Friday from 8:15-11:45 and at 781-662-2030 in the afternoon from 12:00-3:30.

If you need help with transportation outside of Melrose and are not able to use Public transportation due to health reasons, the MBTA’s shared-ride may be your ticket to freedom. The Ride is a door-to-door transportation program that assists people with disabilities. Applications must be filled out by you and your doctor and submitted to the MBTA. You may come into the COA for an application or call the MBTA Office at 1-800-533-6282. You may also visit the MBTA web sight at www.mbta.com for additional information and for an application.

FISH Volunteers Needed – Please Help!      

One of Melrose’s most dedicated volunteer groups, FISH, needs drivers and one or two people to match callers with volunteer drivers. Calling can be done from home with training provided and no driving required. If you can help drive or call even once a week, it will be much appreciated. Be a hero to someone in need. For further information, call Preston Johnson at 781-665-1796.

2009 Senior Education Class

Plan Your Real Estate, Investments and Savings in 2009 to Set Yourself Up to Succeed in 2010

You are invited to this Special EDUCATIONAL CLASS (not a seminar) by Chris Grande on Tues., March 24 at 1:30 p.m. at the Milano Senior Center. Our class will explore our current economic crisis and explain:

1. compound interest
2. how interest rates affect the prices of assets – real estate, stocks, bonds
3. what causes “bubbles” or specifically the stock and real estate bubbles in the US
4. what affects your returns on savings accounts, stocks, and bonds
5. why the government borrowing too much money could cause high inflation
6. how inflation could hurt you – and where inflation comes from
There will also be open discussion on questions from participating “students.”
Pre-registration is required and may be made by calling 781-662-6886. Christopher Grande, MSIM, CSA is Managing Partner at Heritage Financial Group and has taught courses at Bunker Hill and North Shore Community Colleges.

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 will be available on Mondays, from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon, starting February 9 (except Feb. 16), and continuing until April 6, 2009.

Please bring: 1. A copy of your 2007 return; 2. All taxes paid for 2008 (withholding and estimated); 3. All 2008 income report forms 1099s, W-2, etc. If interested in the annual state income tax credit (“Circuit Breaker”) of up to $930, 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.

Call 781-665-4304 mornings for an appointment. Time permitting, walk-ins are seen on a first-come, first-serve basis - after the appointments.

The Free Press -- Online!

You enjoy the Melrose Free Press in print - now, enjoy it online!

Vist melrosefreepress.com/seniors for the latest in news, features, announcements, obituaries and pets, as well as multi-media projects, which include audio/photo slideshows and videos.

To suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, email Free Press Editor Carol Brooks Ball at melrose@cnc.com or call at 978-739-1314.

See you on the web!

Learn to Use Your Cell Phone!
Dan Cronin, a representative of AT&T Cellular is offering a free hands-on cell phone training on  Tuesday, March 10 at 10:00 a.m.
It is designed for those considering getting a cellular phone as well as those who have a phone already but have trouble taking advantage of its many features, such as saving numbers, retrieving messages, etc.  Bring your cellular phones with you. It does not matter if own an AT&T or other type of cellular phone.

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, March 13 & 27 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.

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 your event will be held.  Questions? Call us at 781- 665-4304.

March 6, 2009

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