Thursday Schedule

Thursday Plenary Session  12:00PM to 12:45PM

An address from EOEA with remarks by Secretary Elizabeth Chen

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Thursday Session 1  1:30PM to 2:30PM


R1-1  Dementia Friends Massachusetts is working to reflect the cultural/linguistic composition of the Commonwealth

Statewide (or local or regional) initiatives , as well as COA’s should include the mosaic of cultural and linguistic communities that reside there. However, barriers such as language differences, disparities in resources, residential segregation, and historic and ongoing discrimination must be actively addressed and overcome to achieve this goal. Kun Chang of Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center and Beth Soltzberg of Jewish Family & Children’s Service will discuss how Massachusetts’ chapter of the global public awareness program, Dementia Friends, has worked to become more reflective of the state’s population.

Kun Chang, MSW, Associate Director, Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center
Beth Soltzberg, LICSW, MBA, Lead, Dementia Friends Massachusetts, JF&CS

1 Nursing CEU


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R1-2 & R2-2  Be Seen, Be Heard

Many MCOA directors/coordinators are women in the midst of a lot of men – town officials like selectmen [!], employees like road crews and custodians. On top of that, COAs represent an historically marginalized population – elders. It’s no surprise that directors/coordinators struggle to have their proposals taken seriously, or even acknowledged.

In this session we’ll gain awareness and learn skills/strategies.  We’ll practice * staying centered even in difficult situations; * clarifying what we’re trying to accomplish; * identifying stakeholders, influential bystanders, and allies; aligning their interests with ours. Although the skills can be useful with a general audience, this workshop is more about internal relations than public relations.

Bring a challenge to work on – from the past, the present, or something anticipated — to experiment with the skills and strategies. Although a single interaction is unlikely to change the culture, every opportunity to present ourselves authentically and powerfully is welcome.

Pam Kristan, Owner, Pam Kristan Consulting



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R1-3  Integrated Care Programs and Assistance for Medicare Beneficiaries

Presentation participants will learn about the benefits and availability of PACE, SCO and One Care programs for people who have Medicare and MassHealth. They will also learn about role of the SHINE Program to explain options and MyOmbudsman’s role to negotiate consumer’s concerns or complaints.

Kayla King, PACE and SCO Program Manager, EOEA
Henri McGill, One Care Program Manager, EOEA
Cindy Phillips, SHINE Program Director, EOEA
Leslie Diaz, My Ombudsman Program, EOEA


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R1-4  Increasing Strength for Older Adults

In this session, we will review some of the latest research on how to increase and maintain maximum strength and muscle mass.  Topics will include protein, including its functions, calculating daily needs and top sources of protein.  We will also cover the impact of exercise on muscle mass.

Group education sessions on increasing strength are being provided virtually and in-person at senior centers throughout the Commonwealth.  We will discuss the outcomes and impact of these sessions as well as other education programs the ASAP nutrition programs’ offer.

Amy Sheeley, PhD, RDN, LDN, Nutrition Specialist, EOEA
Katie Defoe-Raymond, MS, RDN, LDN Nutritionist, WestMass ElderCare

1 Nursing CEU


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R1-5  The Spend-Down Scheme: What the nursing home won’t tell your clients about protecting their assets

Whether currently healthy or imminently needing a nursing home, seniors and their families are fearful that the cost of long-term care will deplete their life savings. There is so much misinformation and so many attractive options that promise a quick solution, leading to confusion about where to turn and resulting in disastrous consequences for the senior. This seminar will teach participants the facts about Medicaid/MassHealth eligibility, help them understand the nuances of the five-year look-back rule, understand why a spend-down is unnecessary, and learn that asset protection can take place well in advance, or even after admission to the nursing home. Get your questions about MassHealth answered!

Melissa McCullough, Managing Senior Paralegal, Spano & Dawicki, LLC
Christine Hurley, Esq., Spano & Dawicki, LLC
Andrea A.J. Witt, Esq., Spano & Dawicki, LLC

1SW CEU, 1 LMHC CE, 1 Nursing CEU


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R1-6  Re-Creating Caring Communities

Jewish Family & Children’s Service has been committed to promoting connection and aging in community for over 20 years by providing workshops and consultation on social isolation, aggression, and older adult mental health. These workshops have become even more significant now as we face reentry and forming community during a time of increased tension that often results in agitated and aggressive behavior. Re-Creating Caring Communities, and the accompanying guide, Creating Caring Communities: A Guide to Addressing Social Aggression in Older Adult Communities, faces these concerns head on and offers practical, evidenced based, responses to the challenges and opportunities our communities are likely to face as we prepare to re-create community. This workshop will be interactive and draw from the wisdom JF&CS has gathered from housing and aging professionals as well as current trauma and older adult mental wellness research over the past year. Our guide, Creating Caring Communities, will be provided to participants, as well.

Mary Curlew, LICSW, Community Education and Training Specialist, Jewish Family & Children’s Service


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R1-IP  Innovative Practices – Civic Engagement Opportunities

Learn how your COA could improve your community by engaging older adults in advocacy and leadership. This session will highlight two innovative programs that seek to inspire civic engagement. The Waltham Senior Civic Academy, which is based on the Boston Age Strong Civic Academy, and the TALL (Tallahassee Active Lifelong Leaders), a community 50+ leadership program in Florida will be highlighted.

Betsy and Walter Leutz, co-founders of the Waltham Connections for Healthy Aging.
Hella Spellman, Program Supervisor, Tallahassee Senior Services, Tallahassee, Florida; Tallahassee Active Lifelong Leaders Coordinator


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Thursday Session 2  3:00PM to 4:00PM


R2-1  Explore Driving Retirement and Rediscover Public Transit!

Most of us have been lifelong drivers but our ability to drive safely diminishes with age, illness, and medication. Sobering statistics show that older drivers are more likely to die in a car crash then others. Although difficult at first, it is important to have a conversation with family members and draw up a Driving Retirement Plan to preserve mobility after one’s safe driving years passed. In this workshop you will learn how to initiate that conversation, identify alternative forms of transportation and map out available assistance options, before driving becomes a crisis. The RMV’s Community Outreach and the MBTA’s Travel Instruction & Mobility Training programs joined forces and frequently hold webinars at senior centers –for now in the digital space- to discuss the rich resources and assistance that the RMV, AAA, and the MBTA can provide to older drivers as they come to terms with limits to safe driving, learn about options in public transit, and other community transportation services in the Greater Boston Area. Come and learn elements of this teaching model which can be customized to each RTA region.

Michele Ellicks, Program Coordinator, MassDOT/RMV
Kelley Campbell, Program Manager, MBTA Travel Instructions – Paratransit Inc.


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R2-3  The Soul in the Wisdom Years

The wisdom years offer an opportunity for a person to be in closer contact with their soul, that eternal part of their being that is connected to all that has come before and is yet to come.  If given the right supports people in their later years may find life can be renewed.  This can happen when there are opportunities for people to experience the reconciliation of deep hurts;  where greater meaning is found in ordinary life and service or contributions are able to be expressed and appreciated.

Explore how often it is the challenging experiences of ill health, loss or other limitations that create a vulnerability in us but can sometimes move us to seek help or find deeper connection to community. In these later years, there can also be potential for people to develop spiritual senses that help connect one to the spirit or invisible worlds.  These are often part of a preparation process for reconnecting to the deepest part of ourselves as we reconcile the life we lived and prepare for the one to come.

Diana Bella, Founder of Doors of Light

1SW CEU, 1 LMHC CE, 1 Nursing CEU


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R2-4  How to Support Those at Risk for Suicide After Covid-19

In this hour-long workshop, you will review the foundations of suicide: statistics, myths, and complexities, accompanied by the many intricate challenges that have presented themselves throughout the last year. How can we support ourselves while supporting others? How has social media impacted our mental health? How will the impacts of Covid-19 stay with us as the world opens back up? During this session, we will discuss all of these questions within the context of the latest research, while also reviewing effective skills used by our helpline volunteers to support those who may be feeling the effects of this time to their mental health.

Samantha Joseph, Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors, Samaritans, Inc.

1 Nursing CEU


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R2-5  Getting Started: Steps to Becoming a Dementia Friendly Community

What inspires a community to join the Dementia-Friendly MA movement? Calls from caregivers for support? An increase in the number of people living with the dementia as an impact of COVID? Increased demand for supportive services for people living with a cognitive impairment?

Join us for a conversation about the first steps to becoming a Dementia-Friendly community.

Patty Sullivan, MS, Director, Dementia Friendly Massachusetts, MCOA
Deb Galloway, Director, Sudbury COA
James Leyden, MS, Director of Adult Services – Longmeadow Council on Aging


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R2-6  Protective Services

This presentation will cover the role of Protective Services in assisting Older Adults within the Commonwealth. Topics covered will include what Protective Services does and it’s limitations. What kind of abuse is investigated and what signs and symptoms of abuse to look for. Additionally it will cover how and when to report suspected abuse for those over 60 residing in the community.

Taryn Lee-Turgeon, Assistant Director of Protective Services, Executive Office of Elder Affairs

1 Nursing CEU


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R2-7  Seniors Mentoring Seniors

The “Seniors Mentoring Seniors” program will:

  1. Describe the history of the Andover Senior Mentors and their mission of sharing some of their professional insights and knowledge with other seniors.
  2. Discuss the program-sharing architecture the Mentors have developed for their presentations.
  3. Develop a sample program, with audience participation, detailing how the program-sharing architecture can be used to assist seniors in developing and delivering a program.

Roland Jacobson, Andover Senior Mentor
Jeff Kaplan, Andover Senior Mentor
Don Schroeder, Andover Senior Mentor


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R2-IP  Innovative Practices – Programming on the Go!  NCOA/NISC Programs of Excellence Award Winner

This interactive workshop will focus on two types of “on the go” or “at home programming” that you can replicate in your center.  First, we will discuss, then brainstorm Pandemic friendly special events with an emphasis on pairing a grab n go meal/dessert with entertainment shown on local cable.  Secondly, we will go over best practices for art and craft activity kit hand out and share ideas on partnering with others to expand your center’s offerings and work smarter, not harder.

Bethany Loveless, Executive Director, Dracut Council on Aging

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