Shrewsbury’s council on aging director shares update on programs and resources

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Shrewsbury – Hollie Lucht, director of Shrewsbury Council on Aging (COA), reported recently that her staff has been back at work at the Senior Center since Sept. 28. While it isn’t yet open to the public, programs are taking place and Lucht and her team have been actively working to serve the town’s seniors during an exceedingly difficult time.

“We are trying to connect with all of the seniors in town who are 60-plus, whether they are isolated or whatever their needs might be and assisting them with finding the resources that will help them,” Lucht explained.

Further, they developed the “Connect and Assist” program with the goal of assisting all seniors with living a quality life at home.

“We developed a resource guide which is on the website and we’ve pulled information from Shrewsbury and surrounding communities with phone numbers and short detail about each organization,” she added.

To access the program and resource guide, visit: https://shrewsburyma.gov/963/Connect-Assist-Senior-Resource-Guide

“We are still working on providing some online (Zoom) programs…We are finding that the general interest and participation is quite low,” Lucht noted. “I’m not sure if that just comes from the fact that this [the pandemic] has been happening now for … almost eight months and people are needing something different.” 

The COA offers virtual Bingo with staff and a low impact exercise class. Contact 508-841-8758 for more information.

She noted that programs such as exercise, mediation and yoga can also be found online through the Shrewsbury Media Connection website, www.shrewsburymediaconnection.org

“We are still offering Meals on Wheels,” Lucht said. “We are now offering grab-and-go hot meals that come to us from Elder Services, the same people that make the meals for Meals on Wheels.”

The COA Board voted to pick up the tab for the grab-and-go meals in September to see how well the program would be received. The purpose was to provide seniors with an option in addition to Meals on Wheels and to assess which seniors in the community need food assistance. More than 400 meals were requested. 

Going forward, a suggested donation of $2.50 per meal will be appreciated. For monthly grab-and-go menus, visit https://shrewsburyma.gov/941/Grab-Go-Meals

Lucht reported that COA van transportation has been available since June 15 and has recently expanded to include non-medical appointments and trips to local retail stores. 

Van services are for anyone 60 years and older and those with disabilities who need transportation. 

Medical and work-related trips take priority and only one rider (with personal care attendant if they have one) may ride at a time. All must wear masks.

The COA vans will also be available to assist those who need transportation for early voting and on Tuesday, Nov. 3, for in-person voting. 

For information and to schedule a ride, call 508-841-8640.

Meanwhile, because of the pandemic, the Council on Aging is unable to celebrate its 20th anniversary. 

“We are starting to plan for the 21st celebration and we are hoping for next September,” Lucht said.