Tuesday Schedule

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

Keynote: Making the Case: data-driven planning and advocacy

Data can serve as a key resource in understanding the local population and demonstrate the value that COAs bring to the community. Identifying, using, and contextualizing data, however, may not be obvious to some. The purpose of this presentation is to breakdown apprehension about utilizing data in your planning and advocacy efforts. This workshop will include a presentation from the Gerontology Institute at UMass Boston about using publicly available data, including the MCOA database, in your local work. As well, three senior center directors will provide examples of how data is used to inform planning programs or adapting to changing demographics of their community. By attending this session, participants will learn to identify sources of existing, publicly available, data. Participants will also be able to articulate how data is used to both improve program and service capacity of their organization and have insights with respect to communicating with policymakers and local officials about the breadth and depth of their organization’s contributions to the aging service network both locally and statewide.

Presented by Dr. Caitlin Coyle and Ceara Somerville, MS, UMass Boston Gerontology

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Tuesday Session 1  1:30PM to 2:30PM


CANCELLED — T1-1  Social Media, Web and E-Marketing: Growing Tomorrow’s Senior Centers with Today’s Communication Tools

Seniors are increasingly using the internet, social media and email engagement. Is your senior center meeting and greeting seniors where they are, in their digital space?

Are you maximizing use of online tools to reach the adult children and caregivers of your senior clientele? Can your center and its resources, be found easily online, by a senior seeking help, support and social time? Do you wish more people would attend your exercise and art and and crafting groups?

If your monthly newsletter is a printout left at your senior center or library, it’s time to pivot to a more robust outreach plan, with the best tools available.

Using Great Barrington’s Claire Teague Senior Center as a case study, you can learn the steps you can take to reach a wider audience and make a bigger community impact.

Ellen Lahr, EGLahr PR & Media



T1-2  Introduction to Transportation & “Transportation Office Hours”

Looking to reopen your transportation services or expand mobility for older adults in your community? Join MassMobility for an hour focusing on your questions about transportation and mobility for older adults. For the first 15 minutes, MassMobility will provide a brief overview of mobility options and transportation resources, leaving the majority of the session for your questions and discussion. This session will be targeted to new Directors and staff, but all are welcome.

Rachel Fichtenbaum, EOHHS Mobility Manager, MassMobility


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T1-3  Overcoming barriers to employment for 60+ job seekers

Facilitated discussion on challenges and opportunities for the Massachusetts Senior Centers on helping mature job seekers.

In an interactive exercise we will learn together what senior centers are currently doing and what they could be doing in the future to help 60+ job seekers to find meaningful work.

As the outcome, you will walk away with tools and techniques to apply in your local community.

Rosemary Alexander, Director of MDCS Training, MassHire Department of Career Services
John Bates, The Job-Guy, independent job coach
Dave Bassett, Operation ABLE, SCSEP Director


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T1-4  Mind Body Spirit: Connecting during COVID

Being socially isolated can be difficult at any time but has been especially challenging during COVID. In April and May of 2021, Waltham Connections for Healthy Aging (a coalition of Waltham seniors and agencies) conducted a six week program entitled Mind, Body, Spirit (MBS) for Waltham seniors. The primary goal of MBS was to counter social isolation among older adults in Waltham by developing a short program that focuses on mental and physical health and supports the development of social connections.

The program consisted of six, weekly, 90 minutes sessions via zoom. Session 1 and 2 focused on activities that relate to “Mind”.  The sessions were the History of Waltham and Journaling and Reminiscing, Sessions 3 and 4 related to “Body” and included Use It and Gentle Yoga. The last two sessions focused on “Spirit” which included sessions on Emotional Well Being during COVID and Mindfulness.

Each session included a presentation on the selected topic which we called Learn It!, feedback on the session called Like It?, and resources related to the topic, with the suggestion of Try It! at home.

Outcomes were positive in that there was diversity among participants, almost all participants came to all sessions and participants felt that this program should be continued.

The workshop will discuss the planning, outreach and evaluation of the program. There will be a discussion of how the MBS format can serve as an introduction to senior center activities as well as lead to additional opportunities for connection.

Kathy Kuhn, MSW, Waltham Connections for Health Aging Volunteer
Karla Armenoff, MSW Intern, Project Coordinator, Waltham Connections for Health Aging
Marybeth Duffy, Director, Waltham COA

1 Nursing CEU


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T1-5  Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Recognizing and Protecting Against Real Estate Scams on Seniors

Scams targeting the elderly are despicable, ruthless, and sadly, all too common. A vulnerable senior facing even the early stages of memory loss, or grieving after the death of a spouse, or financially uncertain because of a fixed income and rising care expenses finds themselves preyed upon by vultures who are sometimes strangers but all too often “caring” family members. As elder law attorneys we find that a senior’s biggest asset – their home – is the target. This seminar will present common real estate scams such as “cash for your home!” marketing schemes, reverse mortgage pitfalls, inappropriate transfers of real estate in an attempt to “protect” the house from a nursing home, and others. Learn how to recognize scams versus positive opportunities, and how to counsel seniors who may be afraid of their own financial vulnerability, regarding better options.

Christine Hurley, Esq. and Andrea A.J. Witt, Esq., Spano & Dawicki, LLC



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T1-6 & T2-6  Building Dementia Capacity in Your COA

Join MCOA and the Alzheimer’s Association for a three-hour training opportunity to increase the capacity of Councils on Aging (COA) staff to support people living with dementia and their care partners.As a result of the training, Councils on Aging (COA)s will:

1) Develop awareness about the importance of building dementia capacity in Councils on Aging.

2) Provide strategies for working effectively with people living with dementia, including communication strategies.

3) Enhance skills for detecting and addressing dementia-related challenges in Councils on Aging.

4) Develop appropriate procedures and policies for Councils on Aging in working with clients who exhibit dementia-related behaviors.

Julie McMurray, MA, LMHC, CDP, Senior Manager, Central Regional Office & Community Outreach |Alzheimer’s Association, MA/NH, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter
Julia Perriello, LMHC, CDP | Manager, Helpline and Community Referrals | Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter
Patty Sullivan, Program Director, Dementia Friendly MA/MCOA


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T1-IP  Innovative Practices – Individual and Systems Advocacy to support your COA and Community

This session will cover two advocate groups that support the COA and their community. The Chatham Elder Working Group, a community inter-organizational task force seeks to share best practices and implement risk-reduction practices in Chatham while advocating for individuals in the community.  The second group from the Brookline COA, trains their COA board to be advocates for the center in order to support its funding, state initiatives and national campaigns like anti-ageism.

Eva Orman, Outreach Coordinator, Chatham Council on Aging
Mandi Speakman, Director, Chatham Council on Aging
Ruthann Dobek, Director, Brookline Council on Aging/Brookline Senior Center


Tuesday Session 2  3:00PM to 4:00PM


T2-1  Feel Happier (even in tough times)

In this interactive presentation, you will learn about Positive Psychology, the Science of Happiness, and how happiness can give you the advantage you seek in your career, personal life and relationships.  Experience practical, science-based strategies that increase productivity, joy, happiness, and physical/mental wellbeing. When we feel better, we do better.

Pam Garramone, M.Ed., Positive Psychology keynote speaker, author, coach


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T2-2  COVID Silver Lining and Volunteer Management

This program will familiarize participants with the many tools available through technology that enable counselors to work with beneficiaries while maintaining privacy and confidentiality.  SHINE videos, web sites and virtual presentations will be discussed. Hear about opportunities to connect to health benefits counselors and several positive beneficiary outcomes.

Kathleen Gouveia, Training Coordinator, SHINE Program, Executive Office of Elder Affairs


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T2-3  Understanding Deaf and Hard of Hearing  Competency, Culture and Language

Lori Siedman is the first and only Deaf healthcare Ombudsman in the country.  She works closely with the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, LateDeafened, and DeafBlind community. In addition, she has worked extensively with hearing-led organizations ranging from small nonprofits to large government agencies. Lori’s collaborative relationships with both Deaf and hearing-led organizations strengthen My Ombudsman’s ability to work efficiently within the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, LateDeafened, and DeafBlind community.

In this workshop, Lori will provide the information on how to work with hearing loss, Deaf, Hard of Hearing, LateDeafened, and DeafBlind people, such as their culture, language, communication, and assistive technology.    She also will provide some resources for their needs.

Lori Siedman, My Ombudsman Director of Deaf Services, Disability Policy Consortium

1 Nursing CEU


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T2-4  Food, the Amazing Medicine

Learn about food and nutrition strategies to prevent against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other chronic health issues. See why food truly is medicine, and how eating strategically may help keep the doctor and medicine away.

Tricia Silverman, RD, MBA, Registered Dietitian, Wellness Coach, Fitness Instructor, Tricia Silverman Wellness

1SW CEU, 1 LMHC CE, 1 Nursing CEU


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T2-5 How Do You Say . . . ??: Using Intergenerational Programs to Build Linguistic and Cultural Capacity

In a changing Commonwealth, it’s essential to create opportunities to engage older adults for whom English is not a first language. This session will explain how LBFE uses intergenerational programming to reach diverse communities and how younger people can help address the growing issue of linguistic isolation.

Stephenie Hou, Intergenerational Program Manager, Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly (LBFE)
Isaac Li, Program Coordinator, LBFE
Gabriela Romero, Program Coordinator, LBFE
Cynthia Wilkerson, Program Director, LBFE

1 Nursing CEU


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T2-7 Supporting the Most Vulnerable Elders: Starting Up Public Guardian Services During Covid

Supported by a Memorandum of Understanding with the Massachusetts Family and Probate Court, Public Guardian Services (PGS) has been implemented as a pilot project in three Counties (Suffolk, Plymouth and Norfolk) to provide free guardianship and conservatorship services for  elders and people with a disability in need of decisional support, who have no suitable family or friend to act as guardian or conservator. Our goals include; expanding our services statewide, outreach and education, utilizing least restrictive alternatives, supporting family and friends who may be able to step up to support their loved ones and ensuring our clients’ human rights are respected and advocated for.

Sandy Hovey, Executive Director, Public Guardian Services
Wynn Gerhard, Elder Justice Fellow, Guardian Community Trust, and Board Chair, Public Guardian Services


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T2-IP  Innovative Practices – Connecting Across Cultural Boundaries

This innovative practice discussion will look at how councils on aging are adapting to provide a welcoming environment for different cultures. You’ll find two directors who are persistent, consistent and working to create a welcoming environment for all. They’ll share their successes and challenges in maintaining activities with various cultural groups.

You’ll also hear about a pilot project in partnership with UMASS and the AARP Foundation that is focused on developing cultural training materials for aging service providers. This project overview may provide some tips in being culturally responsive as you reopen onsite programming. We encourage you to bring your questions and be ready to share your challenges, as well as promising practices with the group.

Susan Pacheco, Executive Director, Cambridge Council on Aging
Amy Vogel Waters, Director, Worcester Senior Center/Elder Affairs
Yung Phan, Multicultural & Senior Services Coordinator, Worcester Senior Center
Caitlin Coyle, PhD, Research Fellow, Center for Social & Demographic Research in Aging Gerontology Institute, John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts, Boston