By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – On Jan. 7, Holly Lucht hit the ground running on her first day as Shrewsbury’s new Council on Aging director. It was a whirlwind of introductions to other town department heads and staff. Since then, she has had time to get settled and get to know her staff. She has a good sense of where she wants to go.
“Everybody has been really receptive,” she remarked. “People have some great ideas and have been extremely helpful.”
Some of these ideas mirror hers, such as better utility of the space within the senior center, moving things around, giving it a facelift – all easy things to do.
Others may be harder such as addressing people’s concerns, especially if they not within her control, such as walkway conditions. She is trying to respond quickly and is making it a point to talk to the right people to address these types of concerns.
Lucht has a long history of working with seniors.
“I started working in long-term care when I was 16 years old,” she explained. “It started when I took care of my grandfather who lived with us.”
She has degrees in childhood education and psychology and worked her way through school as a certified nursing assistant in a Holden nursing home.
Prior to starting her family, she was the Alzheimer’s director in a 35-bed locked unit at a facility in Northborough. She was a stay-at-home mom for her three sons – now 12, 15 and 16 – for 15 years in Sterling, where she volunteered on several Parks & Recreation committees.
When she re-entered the workforce, she was a special education paraprofessional with the Wachusett Regional School District, then she took a position with the Princeton Parks & Recreation Department before becoming the director of Council on Aging in Berlin.
“I can’t wait to see what I can do here,” Lucht said.
She has a long range vision for transforming the senior center and making it a vibrant place where seniors of all ages will want to be.
“One of the things that will be a challenge is to get the young seniors who are still working into the facility,” she noted. “One of things that I want to do is to change the hours around a little to accommodate them.”
Program planning is critical to Lucht. She is already thinking of what will appeal to them such as ladies’ nights, painting classes, trivia nights, art exhibits, exercise classes, outdoor activities, maybe a wine tasting – things that are active and social. She has ideas and she has energy.
Lucht knows that it will take time but she is committed to working with all town departments to provide opportunities for Shrewsbury seniors, whether through outreach or connecting them with other community organizations.
“I’m excited about the things that I can bring in working with people,” Lucht said. “We can do so many awesome things if we work together.”