Council on Aging
According to the January 2006 Town Census, there are 3,660 Concord residents over the age of 60. This is 24% of the total population of Concord. There are 2,065 people over the age of 70. The number of citizens in the "baby boomer" generation and the over 80 year old population are growing swiftly. The mission of the Council on Aging is to promote a good quality of life for Concord's seniors by helping them to maintain their dignity, self-esteem, personal independence and their roles as full participants in the life of the community. The coa strives to fulfill this mission by providing opportunities for seniors to enhance their physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well being. The coa staff is also available to help and advise younger Concordians on how to cope with the aging process in regard to family members and themselves.
Counseling and Social Service
Each individual grows older only once in a lifetime. Therefore, it is a new and unfamiliar journey that each person will take. The coa, through its counseling, social work services and referrals, tries to provide Concord's seniors and their loved ones a "road map" through the process.
The coa's motto is "If it's about seniors, ask us!" Our knowledgeable staff and volunteers pride themselves in keeping up-to-date on the latest information that will be helpful to seniors and their families. Many services are available: consultation with the Administrator or Program Supervisor, a home visit for evaluation or advice from our Outreach Worker or s.h.i.n.e. counselor (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Seniors) and arranging for coa services that fit the situation (Friendly Visitor, Grocery Shopper, Transportation etc.) or referrals to other elder service agencies that offer viable options.
During FY06, our Outreach program provided free consultation to over 150 citizens and case management services to 47 seniors. The s.h.i.n.e. Counselor assisted 84 seniors with health insurance issues.
The coa vans continue to provide door-to-door service for seniors. The van is on the road from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, five days a week. The van takes individuals to medical appointments, the grocery store, the hairdresser or the barbershop, the bank, coa sponsored activities, special trips to shopping malls and to visit their friends. This service enables many Concord seniors to live more active and independent lives. The current drivers, part-time limited status employees of the Town of Concord, are: Arthur Alcarez, Paul Bruning, Gordon Fraser, Carroll Griffith, Peter Healey, Frances Heartwell, Joseph McBreen, Walter Miles, Nelson Powers and Jim Stoessel.
During FY06 the coa provided 6,478 rides to 281 seniors.
Wellness and Fitness
The goal of the coa Wellness and Fitness programs is to help seniors lead active, healthy and independent lives. These programs include:
95 people attended the exercise classes for a total of 2,300 times.
Social and Educational Programs and Services
The following coa programs offer opportunities for seniors to stretch their minds and become better informed about issues relevant to their lives:
Over 1,000 seniors have taken advantage of these activities during FY06.
Just for Fun
There are many programs and activities that are designed to promote socialization and provide pure unadulterated fun for seniors! These activities include:
Volunteers are vital to the day-to-day function of the coa. They serve on the coa and Concord Friends of the Aging Boards and staff the coa's gift shop, Harvey's Treasure Chest. They are office volunteers who answer the phones, schedule the vans and take reservations for trips and programs. They help seniors with their income tax preparation and their medical insurance problems. They set up for Wednesday Lunch, call bingo and assist with many other activities. Volunteers participate in intergenerational programs and facilitate the Great Decisions discussion. They coordinate the Low Vision Group and help with the blood pressure clinic. A coa volunteer may be someone newly retired who has time to give or an octogenarian for whom volunteering is a way of life. coa volunteers help seniors to live full and active lives. These selfless individuals are honored at a special luncheon each May.
During FY06, two hundred and seventy-five (275) coa volunteers provided 9,165 hours of service for the Town, worth over $140,200!
Support from the eoea Formula Grant, Community Chest Gift & the Friends
The Formula Grant from the Executive Office of Elder Affairs provides partial funding for coa Programs. During FY06 the Concord coa received $21,138 which helped subsidize the following positions:
This grant also helps to subsidize the cost of volunteer recruitment, training and recognition.
A gift from the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest has made it possible to retain the Volunteer Coordinator during 2006. The Volunteer Coordinator is instrumental in making sure our 275 volunteers are trained and adequately supervised, which is no small task to accomplish in such a limited amount of time.
The Concord Friends of the Aging is a private non-profit organization that does fundraising in order to support the programs and activities of the coa. During FY06, they helped to buy a new van for the coa and gifted it to the Town.
The Harvey Wheeler Community Center
The Harvey Wheeler Community Center (hwcc) provides very pleasant setting for the coa offices and the "senior center" for older Concord citizens. The expanded space has allowed the coa to add new programs. New programs include Tai Chi, a Diabetes Support Group, line dancing, watercolor classes, to name a few. The coa works cooperatively with Community Education and provides space for Village University which brings high quality learning opportunities to seniors. The coa also hosts Alzheimer's and Multiple Sclerosis support groups. The hwcc also provides a home for the Recreation Department's preschool and an after school programs for children.
The Harvey Wheeler building also serves as a true community center. During FY06. the building was used by 135 different individuals or groups. This includes Town departments, individuals, church groups and local nonprofit organizations. In addition to the daytime use by the Recreation Department and the coa, the building was used over 250 evenings and weekend days. It is not unusual for 2-3 groups to use various rooms in the building on the same evening.
The rents and voluntary donations (by local nonprofits) reached about $11,000 in FY06.
Ad hoc Committee on Tax Relief for Seniors
The Senior Tax Relief Task Force has been meeting for a year and a half. The purpose of the task force is to enable seniors to afford to remain in Concord. Last year it was instrumental in getting utility discounts for low income seniors for both water and electricity. We are continuing to survey programs that already exist that can provide tax relief. We are also looking at legislation which is being considered for the future. Top priorities are investigating the possibility of a private fund to aid seniors who need tax relief, and working on outreach so each eligible Concord resident is aware of tax relief options which are already available.
Community Service Coordinator
Sadie Simone, mph
The Community Service Coordinator is a part time position funded by the Concord Carlisle Community Chest. It is designed to provide outreach and support to residents of Concord and Carlisle in need of information, referral, or assistance in particular services for financial assistance, counseling, legal services, childcare, employment, domestic violence resources, after school and camp support, fuel assistance and parenting support groups.
The Community Service Coordinator was established as a Town of Concord employee in January of 2005. The position was introduced to residents, Town departments and local agencies through a series of ongoing outreach efforts including newspaper articles, letters to residents and collaboration with other local agencies. In 2006, outreach included a brochure that was mailed to all Concord Residents in their Concord Light bill.
The Community Service Coordinator served 95 individuals and families in 2006 with requests for information or ongoing assistance, with over 200 referrals to community and State services. These services have included: fuel assistance, transportation resources, and counseling services, housing and financial assistance resources. The Community Service Coordinator serves a diverse group of Concord and Carlisle residents; 34% of the families and individuals are residents of public housing in Concord while the remaining 66% are families that are renting homes or apartments, subsidized and unsubsidized or own their own homes. The majority of calls for information are from Concord residents, while a small number of calls are from Carlisle or surrounding towns.
In addition to working with families and individuals, the Community Service Coordinator collaborates on projects with several community agencies. In the spring and summer the Community Service Coordinator works with Gaining Ground on the coordination of the Concord Food for Families project. This project provides free organically grown fruits and vegetables to families and individuals with low income. In the fall of 2005, First Connections and the Community Service Coordinator began a collaboration to provide free home visits to parents with young children in need of services and support. The program was implemented in the spring of 2006 and has since served 3 families in Concord and Carlisle and 4 families from surrounding towns.
For more information or assistance please call the Community Service Office.
105 Everett St