COUNCIL ON AGING
A NOTE ABOUT OUR JANUARY EDITION
As we welcome January, the COVID‐19 pandemic continues to impact our ability to gather in large group settings. In fact, at the time of this printing, the COVID‐19 numbers are increasing at a potentially alarming rate. With the addition of flu season and increased indoor activity, we may see an increase in COVID‐19 cases more locally. The Senior Center is currently open on a limited basis, by appointment only, in compliance with the Governor’s “Safer at Home” advisory. We urge you to comply with public health recommendations. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and maintain appropriate social distancing around others.
Despite the fact that a vaccine is on its way for distribution, the cold days may bring on feelings of anxiety and loneliness. The Council on Aging social work staff are available during regular business hours (Monday‐Friday, 8:30 am‐5:00 pm), so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything or if you would just like to say hello. You can leave messages for us at 617‐730‐2777 or 617‐730‐2770.
Since we will all be spending more time indoors in the days ahead, we encourage you to revisit past editions of our newsletter to find suggestions of interesting things to do online in the days ahead: https://www.brooklinema.gov/Archive.aspx?AMID=37 . We hope that you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy!
Ruthann Dobek, LICSW
Brookline Council on Aging/
Brookline Senior Center
Welcome From Director Ruthann Dobek
On behalf of the Council on Aging board and staff, I welcome you to our website. I am pleased to present information about the services and programs that we provide for Brookline residents age 60 and over and their families.
About the Council on Aging
The Brookline Council on Aging is a town agency responsible for planning, coordinating and providing comprehensive services for Brookline residents age 60 and over. We work with other town agencies and community service providers to enhance the quality of life for our elders.
Programs & Services
WHAT MAKES BROOKLINE'S COUNCIL ON AGING SO EXTRAORDINARY?
The Brookline Council on Aging’s (COA) Senior Center is indisputably one of the most active centers in Massachusetts. The Brookline COA is a Town agency responsible for planning, coordinating and providing comprehensive services for Brookline area residents age 60 and over. We work with other Town agencies and community service providers to enhance the quality of life for our elders. The Brookline Senior Center (BSC) is a gathering place dedicated to enriching the aging experience by providing a diverse environment with a wide range of opportunities, programs and services (the majority of which are provided by volunteers) in the areas of health, learning, art, socialization, nutrition, and recreation. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, the Brookline COA provides Brookline area seniors a strong and inviting community in which to meet new friends, socialize, volunteer and stay active.
“Our goal is to help seniors maintain their independence and continue to be or become active members of their community. We believe wholeheartedly in enhancing growth, dignity and a sense of belonging while encouraging individual contributions and the sharing of diverse life experiences. The Senior Center welcomes all who walk through our doors, regardless of age, income, disability, ethnic, religious or sexual orientation.
Quote from Ruthann Dobek, Director:
One of our strengths is recruiting volunteers. We have >433 volunteers of all ages – 14 – 96 performing 693 activities. Many are active in more than one activity; many have volunteered with us for ten years or more. These volunteers, most of whom are seniors themselves, donate the equivalent number of hours of more than 20 full-time staff. Without our volunteers who execute the programs, the BSC could not provide the number and variety of programs and activities that we offer to seniors”
Assistance Programs:Social workers and volunteers provide help with accessing Fuel Assistance, SNAP, AARP Tax Preparation and Information and Referral. They also provide legal assistance (BLAB), assistance with identifying Medicare supplement options (SHINE), Job Search Support with individual appointments and workshops (REAP), Home and Escort Linkage Program (HELP), Equipment Loan Program (ELF), Real Estate Tax Workoff Program (TAP), Discount Taxi Coupon Program (BETS), the Elder Resource Guide, and the Caregivers’ Respite Program.
Our on-site fully equipped, supervised Fitness Center provides – Mat & Chair Yoga, Fexibility, Resistance Training & Balance and Aging Backwards as well as individual sessions. In addition, Tuesday Dance Party, Zumba Gold, Tai Chi, Solemates Walking Club, Ping Pong, Strength Training for Seniors, Senior Stretch, Exercise for Health & Rejuvenation and Arthritis Exercise provide exercise/fitness options for every taste and ability.
Exercise and Fitness:
Health:Programs to support seniors’ health at the Brookline COA include: Podiatry Clinic, Memory Café, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar and Hearing screenings, as well as Reiki and Acupuncture. Health support includes: Ask a Geriatrician, Ask a Nurse, Low Vision Group and a Health Coach. Talks on Diabetes, Blood Pressure, Aphasia and Fall Prevention are also offered.
Food and Nutrition:Programs to assure that no Brookline area senior goes to bed hungry include our weekly Tuesday Food Pantry with donations from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and local bakeries, Monday-Friday hot and cold lunches provided by Springwell, the monthly Greater Boston Food Bank Federal Food Commodity program providing shelf stable food to 72 low income seniors and the SHOP Program where Brookline High School students shop for seniors as part of their community service requirement.
Arts & Crafts
:Programs include: Quilting, Beading, Knitting & Crocheting, Flower Arranging, Basic Drawing, Water Color, Still Life Workshop, Art for Pleasure, exhibits in the Brookline Senior Center Gallery supporting local artists and our Annual Holiday Craft Fair.
Entertainment: Tuesday Movies, Easy Travel, Theatre Club, Senior Chorus, Ukulele Group, Coolidge Corner Community Chorus, Swing Band, Chess, Mah Jong (US & Chinese), Scrabble, Bridge, Canasta and Bingo as well as the Let’s Go Out To Lunch Bunch and the LGBT Out 2 Lunch Bunch, concerts and theater productions and many other special events such as ‘Genius of George Gershwin’ and ‘Dance Caliente’.
Learning: ESL Conversation, Spanish Immersion, French Conversation, Lyudmilla’s Group, Current Events Discussion, Yuri’s Group, One-On-One Computer and Open Computer Lab, A Taste of Poetry, the Book Discussion Group, Living Our Values and Telling Our Story.
:Various Support Groups provided by social workers and volunteers throughout the year include: Bereavement Support, Job Search Support, Depression Support, Grandparent Alienation Support, Retired Men’s Club, Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support, and the Low Vision Support groups.
The Senior Center welcomes all who walk through our doors, regardless of age, income, disability, ethnic or religious background, or sexual orientation.
We recognize the efforts of all our program collaborators and are grateful of their support.