Category Archives: Stories from the Field

Town of Lenox on the Move

The following is posted with permission from WalkBoston and written by Gwen Miller who is the Land Use Director and Town Planner for Lenox, MA. This article was featured in WalkBoston’s October 2017 newsletter.

Lenox, in the Berkshires, has just over 5,000 residents. It is largely rural with a small downtown, parks, public art, great restaurants, Tanglewood, and The Mount/Edith Wharton’s Home. In Lenox, you get the small-town vibe but big-city culture.  Continue reading

Mass Municipal Association: Ashland tax relief fund to help seniors, disabled via donations

Communities across the state are finding creative ways of supporting older adults and all residents to remain healthy and independent. The following article is republished with permission from the October 2017 issue of The Beacon, a publication of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, a nonprofit, nonpartisan association that provides advocacy, training, publications, research and other services to Massachusetts cities and towns.

Ashland has created a tax relief fund and is seeking donations from residents to provide assistance to elderly and disabled residents on fixed incomes who face rising property tax bills.
  Continue reading

Webinar Available on Supporting Age-Friendly Communities

Grantmakers in Aging recently kicked-off a webinar series to to encourage greater philanthropic engagement in age-friendly efforts across the country.

Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative joined New Hampshire’s Endowment for Health to present from the perspective of a backbone organization coordinating Age-Friendly efforts and also a funder that is dedicated to backing and advancing the movement. Continue reading

NCOA Running Falls Prevention Photo and Story Contest

In preparation for Falls Prevention Awareness Day in September the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is sponsoring a “photo and story” contest to illustrate and convey the great work being done nationwide to prevent falls.

Winners will receive prizes issued to the individual/organization submitting the entry and will be featured in NCOA materials, including information provided to the media and on the organizations website. Prizes are: 1st prize: $300; 2nd prize: $250; 3rd prize: $200. Photo entries must be submitted by August 25 at 11:59pm ET.

Details are available in NCOA’s Photo Contest Flyer.

Public Park in Leominster Dedicated to Alzheimer’s Awareness

Central Park in the City of Leominster, MA  was dedicated to Alzheimer’s awareness on the longest day of the year, June 21st, which coincided with a national series of events and fundraising spearheaded by the Alzheimer’s Association.

The park can be found downtown at the intersection of Route 12 and Route 117 with a newly renovated corner for all to see.  Through a collaborate of private and public funding, there are many special features including; purple lighting from dusk to dawn symbolizing the struggle with sun-downing, granite pavers that anyone can sponsor and customize, large perennial garden, purple themed annual flowers, and a large inspirational stone yet to be engraved!  Continue reading

Age-Friendly Boston Reveals Progressive Action Plan

After a comprehensive assessment that drew the participation of more than 4,000 older adults from 23 neighborhoods across the city, Age-Friendly Boston announced a major milestone with the release of their 75-point action plan to enhance the quality of life for residents of all ages and abilities.

At an event emceed by Boston’s Commissioner for Affairs of the Elderly Emily Shea and featuring Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, AARP Massachusetts State Director Mike Festa, Tufts Health Plan Foundation president Nora Moreno Cargie, and Secretary for the state’s Executive Office of Elder Affairs Alice Bonner, the action plan was framed as the result of an impressive grassroots-style collaboration with the support of UMass Boston. The action plan was also touted as one of the most detailed and well-constructed that has crossed AARP’s review process. Continue reading

Age-Friendly Berkshires Announces Grant to Pilot Transportation Program

Transportation for older adults is a common topic of discussion for communities looking to become more age-friendly in both urban and rural settings, and Age-Friendly Berkshires will be testing a solution for their region.

Inclusive of 32 cities and towns in a predominantly rural part of Massachusetts, Age-Friendly Berkshires joined the AARP network of age-friendly communities as a region in 2015 and is coordinating a wide range of organizations, planners, businesses and local leaders to improve healthy aging policies and practices.

The new pilot project, which will run from June to December of 2017, is funded by the National Aging & Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) and will provide transportation to pre-arranged medical visits for older adults and those with disabilities without other transportation options. Continue reading

Patient Navigators: Creating a Healthier Community through Volunteering

By Malka Young, LICSW, Director of Community Impacts, JFS of Metrowest

The last time I saw the doctor; I drove into Boston, went through a maze of dark parking levels, backed into a narrow parking space, and traversed long corridors. I rushed, only to fill out my personal information forms that I had completed on previous visits and wait.  I marvel that individuals much older than me had to do this on their own before the Jewish Family Services (JFS) of Metrowest’s Patient Navigator Program started in late 2012. Continue reading

A Fall May Signify More Than Just an Accident

By John L. Brusch M.D., Associate Chief of Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance

Falls are common among adults older than 65.  An estimated 14% of older adults in Massachusetts reported falling in the past three months. In about a third of these cases, they suffered an injury that needed medical care or restricted their usual activities for at least a day. Injuries from falling can include bruising, hip fractures, head trauma, or major lacerations. Sometimes complications from falls can be fatal— they are the fifth leading cause of death in older adults. Even the mere fear of falling can adversely affect elders, who may restrict their activities to avoid possible injury.  Such social isolation can lead to significant physical and emotional consequences. Continue reading

How to Identify Depression, and the Strength Behind the Pain

By Kathy Kuhn, Center for Aging and Disability Resource (CADER), BU School of Social Work

In my last blog post on mental health and aging, I described Ms. McKay, an older woman who was coping with multiple losses. She had significant hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis. She had been active in her church but was spending more and more time alone in her apartment and not even collecting her mail. Her closest relative had recently moved away. She felt that nobody really cared if she even showed up. Despite the clear signs of depression, Ms. McKay’s provider did not notice them during her last doctor’s visit. Continue reading