Boomers and Beyond: Brookline Senior Center announcements
Food commodity: Due to COVID-19, the senior center conducts its modified Food Commodity program outside the senior center. Participants pick up their food at specified appointment times wearing masks and maintaining strict social distancing. Any low-income senior older than 60 wishing to participate in the program to receive 35 pounds of shelf stable food on the third Wednesday of each month should contact Patricia at 617-730-2743 or [email protected]
New no-contact activities with Brookline High School SHOP students: COVID-19 has put many Brookline Senior Center programs on hold in the way that they have been implemented for so many years. This includes the SHOP program. However, the students are still eager to help seniors with no contact activities. No contact is essential as seniors are in the very high risk category and young people who often do not exhibit symptoms may be positive and could inadvertently and unwillingly spread the virus. The Senior Center is excited to work with BHS on new no-contact activities as part of an interim SHOP program. These might include pen pals – handwritten or by email, Zoom vocal or instrument sharing, virtual/on-line game playing, crossword puzzles and other online games, phone calling, taking turns picking a short story to read and discuss, reading poetry together, going on virtual museum tours together, having seniors help students with school work, critique an essay or paper or be interviewed for a class, helping seniors with their technology, teaching a senior a skill they don’t know or letting them teach one. Brookline seniors over 60 who are interested should contact Patricia Burns at [email protected] or 617-730-2743.
Tech Buddy Program: As the COVID crisis continues, elders who live alone are becoming more isolated, which leads to increased depression and other serious medical problems. Many can’t or won’t leave their houses and need internet access to stay connected. However, without the shared internet access resources they relied on in the past, such as computers in libraries and community rooms (now closed due to COVID-19), many seniors have lost the little access they had to technology. The Senior Center is planning to pilot a Tech Buddy program. They would purchase 20-plus tablets to distribute to willing, low-income participants. The tablets will be pre-populated with apps the center believes they will need, such as a Food Pantry app, Zoom, transportation apps and more. Each participant will be matched with a tech coach volunteer who will help educate them on how to use the device and help them troubleshoot when they have issues. The center will also create easy-to-follow instructions for them to reference. The Senior Center is reaching out to volunteers to serve as tech coaches. High school and college students are encouraged to participate. The goal is to enable elders to reach the outside world in a safe way during this pandemic. The Senior Center is hoping to start the Tech Buddies Pilot program in the fall and are looking for volunteers who are tech savvy and have a lot of patience. Responsibilities are to prepare tablets with appropriate apps; teach the buddy the basics on how to use the tablets; be able to teach and troubleshoot problems over the phone; help develop simple, step-by-step reference sheets; and be patient and make a connection with an elder. Requirements are to be older than 16 years old with parental consent; be or become a MRC volunteer if they are older than 18 (set up an account in MA Responds); knowledge of tablets; be able to communicate clearly; and have patience. Those who are interested in this pilot program should enter their information at https://surveymonkey.com/r/R9CRRCX.
For more information on weekly, ongoing Senior Center events, call 617-730-2770.
Springwell grab-and-go hot lunches
The center is now offering hot “grab and go” lunches Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays in collaboration with Springwell. To reserve a hot lunch, residents must call the Senior Center at 617-730-2747 two business days in advance. There will be no admission to the Senior Center for any reason at the time of pick up. Those who are not feeling well and/or have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher should stay home and contact their physician. Face coverings (i.e., scarf, mask, bandana) are required when picking up the meal. Residents will be required to follow the directions provided by staff and volunteers at the time of arrival. Employees will ask residents for information on the phone so that they do not need to fill out forms at the time of pick up. For more information on the menu selections, call 617-730-2747.
While participants cannot get together to play in person, the center has an opportunity for them to play virtual games on a computer or iPad. If interested, contact Jamie Jensen at [email protected] or 617-730-2753.
Craft-along with the Public Library of Brookline
The Public Library of Brookline has created craft-along kits. Each month, residents can reserve a free kit containing all the materials they need to create a one-of-a-kind craft plus DVD video instructions recorded by one of the local librarians. Participants can keep everything in the kit — no returns necessary. In March, participants will be crafting their own Terrazzo-inspired clay jewelry and keychains. The Senior Center is partnering with the library on this project and will have 15 kits available for distribution in March. To reserve a kit for pick-up at the Senior Center, call Julie Washburn at 617-730-2760. Limited delivery is available for homebound Brookline residents.
BrooklineCAN Online Election Forum
The Brookline Senior Center and BrooklineCAN will hold an election forum for Select Board and Town Moderator candidates at 3 p.m. April 27. The forum, which will be held on Zoom, will engage with town issues generally and pay special attention to concerns of older residents. Michael Allen of the Council on Aging staff will serve as moderator. Questions will be gathered ahead of time. To submit a question for the candidates, contact Michael in advance by phone at 617-730-2754 or email at [email protected] Contact Michael to preregister for the event on Zoom or to get the link to watch live. A recording of the forum will also be posted on the BIG and BrooklineCAN websites. The election will be held May 4 when polls will be open. If To learn more about the election, visit https://brooklinema.gov/131/Town-Clerk/Town-Clerk.
Memory Connections Café
The café is for people with early memory challenges and their care partners to connect with their peers through socialization and programming. It is being held virtually until the Senior Center reopens. The next session will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. March 29. Contact Jamie at 617-730-2753 or email her at [email protected] to RSVP and to get the Zoom link.
Medicare Wellness Webinars
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts wants to help residents stay well, with no‐cost health education webinars in partnership with the Brookline Council on Aging. Join a webinar to participate in educational activities, practice new hobbies, stay connected to other community members while remaining at home and learn more about how to stay healthy and safe during these challenging times. For more information, contact Julie Washburn at [email protected] and she will send you the links directly. All are welcome. Residents do not have to be a Blue Cross member to participate.
Food for Thought: Superfoods to Boost Memory, Mood and Mental Functioning: 10-10:30 a.m. April 15. Presenters are Luisa Lewis and Tricia Silverman
For information on how to connect, contact Julie Washburn at [email protected]
Virtual Death Café will return from 3-4:30 p.m. April 15. Death Cafés are a place for people of all ages to socialize, eat and drink while talking about death and dying — with no agenda, advertising, objectives or themes. The only goal of a Death Café is to increase awareness of death, so participants can make the most of their lives. Registration is not required. To attend the event and get the link or call-in directions, or for more information, call Kate Jovin, LCSW, at 617-730-2751, or Michael Allen, LCSW, at 617-730-2754. For general information about Death Café, visit https://deathcafe.com/what.
Brookline Bees Weekly Sewing Group
The group is hosting weekly Zoom meetings at 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. For information on how to connect, email [email protected]
Living Our Values
This discussion group is hosting weekly Zoom meetings from 9 to 10 a.m. every Wednesday while the Senior Center is closed. To obtain a copy of the discussion material and for information on how to connect, email [email protected]
This discussion group is hosting weekly Zoom meetings from 10:30 a.m. to noon Friday mornings while the Senior Center is closed. For information on how to connect, send an email to [email protected]
Online Dance Party
Lynn Modell will play music and lead participants in a virtual dance party from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Very little space is needed. Participants should choose a flat floor clear of small rugs and objects that are trip and fall hazards. For information on how to connect, send an email to [email protected]
Weekly Zoom Exercise Classes with Sharon Devine
Sharon is offering “Exercises for Aching Joints” from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesdays. This class is very similar to the Arthritis Exercise class with its focus on improving joint flexibility. “Exercises to Improve Your Physical Balance” will also be offered from 2-2:30 p.m. Fridays. These classes are open to any interested older adult. Contact Sharon Devine at 617-730-2769 or [email protected] for the meeting ID and meeting password, or to join by phone.
Virtual French Conversation Group
The French Conversation Group is now meeting online from 1-2 p.m. Tuesdays. New members, regardless of level of proficiency in speaking French, are invited to join the group. For additional questions and for more information on how to connect, email Monique Richardson at [email protected]
Singing Together Virtually
The Senior Center started a gathering of people who would like to sing together and will be meeting periodically at 4 p.m. Mondays for about 45 minutes. The March meetings will take place March 15. The group will be doing mostly folk songs, but the group can help decide what to sing. When singing together, everyone has to be muted except the song leader. To join on Zoom, contact Judy Chasin at [email protected]
Computer One-on-One Assistance
Thirty-minute appointments are available by phone to answer computer and smartphone questions. This includes assistance with setting up Zoom. For an appointment, call 617-730-2777.
Tripps Transportation Resources
The town of Brookline Council on Aging offers subsidized transportation services to older adults aged 60 and older. Some programs are income limited. Others are open to all residents. In addition, staff and volunteers are available to answer questions about other transportation resources including the RMV, MBTA, “The Ride” and Uber/Lyft. For questions, contact Maria Foster, transportation coordinator at the Senior Center, at 617-730-2644 or [email protected]
Non-emergency Medical Transportation
The Senior Center is piloting a program to provide transportation to non-emergency medical appointments within Brookline and the Longwood Medical area only using the Senior Center van and bus. Priority will be given to those residents who are currently using the BETS Program. The hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Pickups in Brookline will begin no earlier than 9 a.m., and the last pickup in the Longwood area will be at 3 p.m. Face coverings are required and there will be a limit of one passenger per vehicle, although each person will be able to bring a PCA or companion if needed. To schedule a ride, call the Senior Center Van Line at least three business days in advance at 617-730-2750.
Support for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
Given that the Senior Center is open on a limited basis, currently by appointment only, Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Groups are not meeting in person at this time. However, facilitator Ted Sturman has offered to be available by phone to support caregivers who are coping with the stress and demands of caring for a loved one who is struggling with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Those who need support can call Ted Sturman at 617-803-6105.
The Serving the Health Information Needs of Everyone program provides free, confidential and unbiased health insurance information, assistance and counseling to Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers. While the Senior Center is closed during the COVID-19 emergency, SHINE counselors Sonia Wong, Steve Maas and Sybil Levisohn are offering telephone appointments to help individuals explore their health insurance options. To schedule a telephone appointment with a SHINE counselor, call 617-730-2777 and leave your name and telephone number. Callers will receive a call back to schedule a time.
The program is loaning out and accepting donations of durable medical equipment, with precautions in place and with limitations on available days and times for pickups and drop-offs. Only certain items will be accepted for donations. Contact the HELP line at 617-730-2752 to request items or to learn what is available, as there are many special miscellaneous items too. Do not come to the Senior Center without speaking to the staff first.
Brookline Senior Center Online Mindfulness Practice
The Brookline Senior Center is offering semi-weekly online mindfulness practice sessions. Brookline and surrounding community residents age 60 and older are invited to join a video call by computer or phone from 10-10:45 a.m. any Wednesday and/or Friday am to practice mindfulness with other community members. No previous experience is needed. Sessions will be facilitated by Michael Allen, LCSW. Email or call Michael at [email protected] or 617-730-2754 with any questions or for instructions on how to join.
Drop-in Coffee Hour
The Senior Center will be hosting an open coffee hour from 10-11 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. Drop in on Zoom to say hello, see some friendly faces and chat. For more questions or to find out how to attend, contact Michael Allen at 617-730-2754. For support around how to use Zoom, contact the Senior Center staff at 617-730-2777.
Short Story Social
A good short story can provide the basis for a great discussion. The story will be sent by email or hard copy. Participants will then meet up on Zoom (accessible via computer or telephone) from 10:30-11:30 a.m. twice a month on Mondays. For more information and to sign up for the story and discussion, contact Kate Jovin at 617-730-2753 or at [email protected]