MA is one of the states with the most extensive arrays of resources for Seniors. It doesn't always feel like it when you need help, but MA citizens are actually fortunate to have so many options and programs available.
If you know any expert in gerontology, we'd love their help compiling resources for seniors. Please have them contact admin@HelpAroundTown.com
Until then, we'll share here some of the resources we have come across that people might not know about.
MA law requires a COA in every town. The Senior Center tends to be the building and professional staff where events are held for seniors. The COA is a representative group on town government whose mission is to promote seniors' well-being. They provide the vision and direction that the Senior Center implements.
Every town in MA is associated with a Regional Access Point. Those are regional organizations whose job it is to compile resources in their area. They can also guide you in term of eligibility for resources. So they tell you what's available and whether you can get financial help paying for it. They're a wealth of information, and most of their services are free!
Find your Regional Access Point here https://contactus.800ageinfo.com/findagency.aspx
Minuteman Senior Services is the Regional Access Point for Acton, Arlington, Boxboro, Burlington, Carlisle, Concord, Harvard, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Stow, Wilmington, Winchester, Woburn. It is a non-rpofit that offers paid and free services (often subsidized by grants). Among the free services offered are:
Options counseling https://www.minutemansenior.org/our-services/options-counseling
The Aging Info Center https://www.minutemansenior.org/our-services/aging-information-center
Money Management (trained volunteers) https://www.minutemansenior.org/our-services/money-management
SHINE insurance options counseling https://www.minutemansenior.org/our-services/shine
Nutrition counseling for Alzheimer's https://www.minutemansenior.org/assets/media/documents/NutritionCounselingforDementiaCaregivers.pdf
Free Healthy Living programs for patients and caregivers (eg Chronic Pain Management) https://www.minutemansenior.org/our-services/healthy-living/overview
http://www.800AgeInfo.com is the most extensive compilation of resources in the state. It is an excellent place to start your research.
They offer a Family Caregiver's Handbook, Information on Programs, info for people with disabilities, and a searchable database of services. They can also help guide you on eligibility, if you are a Boston resident.
MA residents with a permanent disability can get from the state free or subsidized phones with
super large buttons for the vision-impaired
loudspeakers, talking caller-ID and visual ringing for the hearing-impaired
remote-control speaker phones for the motion-impaired.
Contact MassEDP: Mass Equipment Distribution Program 1-800-300-5658, M-F 8:30 AM-5 PM
If a child or adult has a permanent disability that requires modifications to the home for the person to live there safely, the family may be eligible for a state-funded Home Modification Loan Program (HMLP).
Depending on income, these loans can be at 0%, repayable when the home is sold, or at 3%, repayable over 5-15 years. The loan entails a promissory note and a mortgage lien.
Apply to one of six regional provider agencies. More info at <www.mass.gov/mrc/hmlp>
MRC - Susan Gillam - 1-866-500-5599
Mass Rehabilitation Commission in collaboration with CEDAC: Community Economic Development Corporation
To find a networking group near you, go to http://www.mcoaonline.com/50plus or call Susan D Kelly, Director at (781) 378-0520 You'll get support from your peers, and guidance in refreshing your resume, LinkedIn profile, elevator pitch, etc. All sessions are facilitated by a professional career coach.
The Institute for Careers in Transition (ICT) http://www.ictransitions.org started at MIT by Professor Ofer Sharone, provides resources and support for long-term unemployed people 50 and above.
Ask your local Aging Access Point what low cost dental resources are available in your community.
The Elder Dental Program is a free non-profit, community based program serving 23 southern Massachusetts communities from the Neponset Valley to Greater Attleboro.
The Elder Dental Program’s mission is to connect low-income seniors (age 60+) with local dentists who volunteer to participate by providing DISCOUNTED dental care in their offices to elders we refer who have been pre-screened by the Elder Dental Program to confirm financial need. Participating dentists agree to abide by the Program’s reduced fee schedule which is a fraction of their usual fees, so patients pay an amount that is more affordable to them. The participating dentists are essentially donating their time and services in order to benefit seniors who are at the lowest income levels (under 250% of Federal Poverty Guidelines) and truly in need. The Program manager receives referrals through elder-services sources including Councils on Aging outreach staffs, area senior services agencies, area physicians and dentists as well as inquiries from seniors and/or their family caregivers.
Please visit http://www.elderdental.communityvna.com or call 774-203-1326 for more information.
Check out the free support groups in your area, moderated by a trained specialist. If your loved one suffers from dementia or Alzheimer's, then look for a local Memory Cafe. http://www.elderdayservices.org/Services-CareGiver
Some towns offer:
Volunteer rides for Seniors. Rides offered might be restricted by purpose (e.g. medical appointments) and might have an income qualification requirement.
Mass Ride Match is an online service that provides links and phone numbers to a wide variety of transportation options and services available in Massachusetts to help seniors, persons with disabilities, and veterans locate accessible transportation services.
Check out http://www.TRIPPSMass.org This grant-funded program focuses on Newton & Brookline, MA, but they have collected resources and advice that are valuable across the state.