Information for Seniors

TRANSPORTATION

Need a Ride?


Senior Van: Transportation to and from Eating Together on Wednesdays and Fridays, 9:30 a.m. – Noon. Please call at least two business days in advance to RSVP.

Volunteer Drivers: Travel anywhere in Winchester, and to adjacent towns for medical appointments only. Monday– Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Please call two days in advance to schedule.

Medical Transport: Transportation to medical appointments in the greater Boston area and the Arlington and Burlington Lahey Clinics. Monday–Friday. Please call one week in advance to schedule.

Taxi Vouchers: Sold on Tuesdays 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Jenks Center.

Grocery Shopping Trips: Thursdays 9:45 a.m. – Noon. Please call at least two days in advance to RSVP.

HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES

Need Some Help?


Social Worker and Housing Counseling: Home visits and consultations; Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Financial Counselor: Workshops and individual counseling, by appointment only.

Eating Together: Hot lunches and socialization; Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 11:30 a.m. & 12:15 p.m. Please call at least two day in advance to RSVP.

Handyman Services: Small repairs on request. Please call and ask for the social worker for more info.

After Care Nurse: Post hospital home care coordination and medical loan program; available Monday & Tuesday, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., and Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Keep Well Clinic: Blood pressure and weight check-ups, 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

SHINE Counselors: Insurance clarifications; Thursday, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Appointments required.

Caregivers Support Group: 4th Thursday of each month, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. For more information please call our Social Worker, Suzanne Norton, at 781-721-7136.

Legal Consultation: Last Monday of each month, 10:00 a.m. – Noon. Appointments required.

Meals on Wheels: Monday – Friday. For informaiton, call 781-721-9817 or send email to winchestermow@gmail.com.


Contact the Jenks Center for more assistance with any of the above mentioned programs at 781-721-7136.

Property Tax Relief for Seniors

The Winchester Council on Aging works with town departments to offer seniors (60 years or older) the opportunity to work 125 hours in designated Town departments to earn $1,250 off of their annual property taxes.

To qualify for participation in this unique program, you must own your home in Winchester, have a maximum income reported to the IRS of no more than $58,000 for an individual and $87,000 for a couple, and your house cannot be assessed for more than $975,000.

Participants generally enjoy the opportunity to get out of the house and engage in meaningful work in exchange for property tax relief.

For more information, contact Phillip Beltz, Council on Aging Director, at 781-721- 7136.

Deadline for acceptance to the program is September 15th. Returning applicants receive priority, but we anticipate several additional openings available for seniors.

911 Silent Call Procedure

It’s a terrifying thought. You need to call 911, but you can’t speak. Maybe you’re choking, or you’re trying to seek help without alerting a criminal. In these sometimes life or death situations, there is a silent way to let emergency responders know that you need their help. It’s known as Silent Call Procedure.

The silent call procedure also helps people with certain disabilities communicate their needs. The state’s public safety office says this method can be used on a touch-tone, wireline telephone, or a cell phone.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Call 911
  2. When the dispatcher answers, use your telephone’s keypad to “talk” to the dispatcher:
    • Press 1 if you need police
    • Press 2 for fire
    • Press 3 for an ambulance
  3. If the dispatcher asks you questions:
    • Press 4 for “yes”
    • Press 5 for “no”

If a Massachusetts dispatcher answers a 911 call and it is silent, they will go through these steps to see if there is a response. You do not have to remember the procedure, they will ask you while on the telephone. The dispatcher’s screen will show them which numbers are being pressed.

SOURCE: MA State 911 Department and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security

Winter Reminders for Seniors


During the winter months, ice, snow and cold temperatures can make life challenging for everyone. Slippery sidewalks and cold weather can cause a wide range of injuries and illnesses, especially for seniors. Here is some helpful advice for preventing common winter dangers that the elderly population faces:

Avoid Slipping on Ice
Icy, snowy roads and sidewalks make it easy to slip and fall. Falls are a common occurrence for senior citizens, especially during the winter months. Often these falls cause major injuries such as hip and wrist fractures, head trauma and major lacerations.

While younger people often recover relatively quickly from such injuries, older adults face complications, which are a leading cause of death from injury in men and women over the age of 65.

While younger people often recover relatively quickly from such injuries, older adults face complications, which are a leading cause of death from injury in men and women over the age of 65.
Dress for Warmth
Cold temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia – a condition where the body temperature dips too low. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of hypothermia-related deaths were of people over the age of 65.

So don't let indoor temperatures go too low and dress in layers. Going outside? Wear warm socks, a heavy coat, a warm hat, gloves and a scarf. In very cold temperatures, cover all exposed skin. Use a scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs.

Your body temperature should never dip below 95 degrees – if it does get medical assistance immediately.
Fight Wintertime Depression
Because it can be difficult and dangerous to get around, many seniors have less contact with others during cold months. This can breed feelings of loneliness and isolation.

To help avoid these issues, family members can check in on seniors as often as possible; even a short, daily phone call can make a big difference. Seniors can also arrange a check-in system with neighbors and friends, where each person looks in on one or two others daily.
Check the Car
Driving during the winter can be hazardous for anyone. But it is especially dangerous for older people, who may not drive as often or whose reflexes may not be as quick as they once were. Get your car serviced before wintertime hits or ask a family member to bring it to a garage for you. Checking things like the oil, tires, battery and wipers can make a big difference on winter roads.
Prepare for Power Outages
Winter storms can lead to power outages. Make sure you have easy access to flashlights and a battery-powered radio in case the power goes out. Stockpile warm blankets. Longer power outages can spoil the food in your refrigerator and freezer so keep a supply of non-perishable foods that can be eaten cold on hand. If the power goes out, wear several layers of clothing, including a hat. Move around a lot to raise your body temperature.
Eat a Varied Diet
Because people spend more time indoors and may eat a smaller variety of foods, nutritional deficits – especially Vitamin D deficiency – can be a problem. Consuming foods that are fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, grains and seafood options like tuna and salmon, will help to alleviate this.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Using a fireplace, gas heater or lanterns can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Ensure your safety by checking the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector and replacing it if needed.

The most important tip to keep in mind during the colder months, however, is to ask for help. If you need to clear your property of snow and ice, don’t hesitate to ask a family member or neighbor or hire a professional. Arrange rides to the grocery store and doctor appointments. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Wintertime certainly poses challenges for seniors, but with a bit of planning and awareness, you will stay healthy and experience the joys of springtime soon enough.

Summer Reminders For Seniors


The Executive Office of Elder Affairs advises elders to enjoy the summer weather but take careful precautions during extremely hot weather. High temperatures can take a toll on health. Seniors especially should take extra care to keep cool and hydrated during hot, humid days. In normal weather, the body’s internal thermostat produces perspiration that evaporates and cools the body. However, in extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain normal temperature, which may lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you believe you, or anyone you are with, is experiencing a heat-related medical emergency, promptly call 911, and if possible, move to a cooler place.

Here are a few tips for enjoying the summer weather while keeping comfortable and safe:

Keeping Cool

Clothes
– Wear light colors and light materials such as linen and cotton.
– Wear loose fitting clothing.
– Wear a wide-brimmed hat for protection.
Home
– Stay indoors during extremely hot weather.
– Lower shades, blinds or close drapes on the east side of your home during the morning hours and on the west side during the afternoon.
– Use a fan in the rooms where the windows are covered.
– If you do not have air conditioning in your home, go to your local Council on Aging or Senior Center, Aging Service Access Point, mall, movie theater or library in order to stay cool.
Outdoors
– Wear sunscreen Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
– Wear a wide-brimmed hat or take an umbrella to block the sun.
– Schedule outdoor activities before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. when the temperature is lower.
– Avoid strenuous activity.
– If you are outside, take frequent breaks in shaded areas.
– Avoid crowded places.
– If possible, go to a place where you can get relief from heat, such as air conditioned libraries, theaters, and other community facilities that may offer refuge during the warmest times of the day.

Keeping Hydrated

Fluids
– The best liquid to drink during hot, humid days is water. Drink plenty of water, even if you are not thirsty, in order to stay hydrated.
– Avoid drinks with caffeine.
– Avoid alcoholic beverages that will dehydrate your body.
– Drink sports drinks that have the added minerals that your body loses when it sweats.
Food
– Keep frozen treats, such as ice cream and popsicles in the freezer to eat to cool you.
– Eat cold foods such as sandwiches and salads.
– Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is another way to keep hydrated.

Keeping Safe

Buddy System
– Make sure that you have someone to check on you to make sure that you are well.
Common Sense
– Avoid long walks, particularly from noon - 3 p.m. when the sun is at its peak.
– Slow down and avoid strenuous activity.
– Pay attention to weather reports.
– Contact your doctor if you are taking several different medications. These may make it harder for your body to keep cool through perspiration. A few examples would be diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and also some heart and blood pressure medicines.

For more tips on staying cool, please visit the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency’s website.

Energy and Utility Assistance


December is here and the cold weather is upon us. Here are some ideas on how to keep warm this Winter Season:

Cold Relief Heatline
For general inquiries, call 1-800-632-8175. To find out where to apply for Fuel Assistance (LIHEAP), Weatherization (WAP), and the Heating System Repair and Replacement Program (HEARTWAP):
  • Fuel Assistance (LIHEAP) - Each year, from November through April, Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) offers opportunities for low-income, elderly, and handicap residents to get help with Fuel assistance and direction toward other energy related issues during New England’s Coldest Months. 2017 income guidelines are 1 person $34,001 2 person $44,463. Call 1-781-322-6284 to see if you might be eligible.

  • Weatherization (WAP) and the Heating System Repair and Replacement Program (HEARTWAP) - The Weatherization Assistance Program is a year round program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) which serves LIHEAP-eligible households by providing energy efficiency services designed to help reduce home heating bills. Typical work includes: air sealing, attic and/or sidewall insulation, weather stripping, and minor repairs associated with the weatherization work. This brochure is intended. For more information call 617-884-6130 or visit www.capicinc.org/.
Improving Energy Usage
  • MassSave - Free in-home assessments to educate yourself on your home’s energy performance, reduce your energy bills, and make your home more comfortable. Call 866-527-SAVE (7283) to schedule your no-cost Home Energy Assessment with a Mass Save Energy Specialist, or see www.masssave.com.

  • National Grid - To qualify, your household income must also meet eligibility requirements and your utility bill must be in your name. Please contact your local Community Action Agency for additional guidelines. Application and income guidelines available online at www.nationalgridus.com.

  • Eversource Discount Rate Program - To qualify, your household income must also meet eligibility requirements and your utility bill must be in your name. Please contact your local Community Action Agency for additional guidelines. Application and income guidelines available online at www.eversource.com.

  • Arrearage Forgiveness - National Grid and Eversource also offer arrearage forgiveness programs where eligible clients may have their utility debt forgiven while adhering to a structured payment plan. NGRDI: 1-800-233-5325, EVERSOURCE: 866-315-2496.

  • Good Neighbor Energy Fund - To be eligible to receive energy assistance through The Massachusetts Good Neighbor Energy Fund you must be a Massachusetts resident who, because of temporary financial difficulty, cannot meet a month's energy expense and is not eligible for state or federal energy assistance. For more information about eligibility requirements, please call:
1-800-334-3047, 339-502-5900 or visiting www.magoodneighbor.org.

  • JOE-4-OIL - The Oil Heat Program offers free heating oil to people in financial need who can't afford to pay their heating bills. Each eligible household is allowed a one-time delivery per heating season of 100 gallons of home heating oil for free. Call 1-877-JOE-4-OIL to request an application.

  • Winchester Senior Energy Grants - For Winchester Residents who own and occupy their home, are 60 years of age, and whose income does not exceed $70,000 for individual and $80,000 for couple could be eligible, after completing an energy audit by MassSave, for a grant amount per project for up to $800 to make improvements on their homes energy efficiency.

    These grants, which are subsidized by the federal government and some other local utilities, offer financial assistance as well as home improvements, new appliances, and other help for eligible clients – all at no cost. Call 781-721-4759 for details.
Utility Protection Information
There are utility protections such as for the Elderly, someone with a serious illness, infant, the Cromwell Waiver, Winter Moratorium. When facing termination of heating-related utility services, households can protect themselves if they meet certain conditions or criteria. Please contact your utility company for full details to see if you qualify.

Contact the Jenks Social Worker for more assistance with any of the above mentioned programs via email or by calling 781-721-7136.

Know Your Legislators

Contact information for Winchester State Legislators:

  • Senator Jason Lewis (Precincts 1, 2, 3 and 8)
    State House, Room 511B
    Phone: 617-722-1206
    Email: Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov
    Office Hours: 2nd Friday of each month, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the Winchester Public Library, 12-1 p.m.

  • Senator Patricia Jehlen (Precincts 4, 5, 6 and 7)
    State House, Room 424
    Phone: 617-722-1578
    Email: PatriciaJehlen@masenate.gov

  • Representative Michael S. Day
    State House, Room 448
    Phone: 617-722-2582
    Email: Michael.Day@mahouse.gov