Senior Center Accomplishments
During Fiscal Year 2013
- To date this fiscal year (7/1/12-3/2013) the LCOA has served over 1,103 unduplicated seniors on site (THIS NUMBER ONLY INCLUDES SENIORS THAT HAVE AND UTILIZED THEIR SWIPE CARDS UPON ENTRANCE). This number represents the amount of unduplicated seniors that attend an activity or rendered service on site and obtained a swipe/Identification card. Many other senior participants are served that have not yet obtained a card (for whatever reason; time, personal, swipe card sometimes is down for repairs & maintenance). The staff does their best to advise the seniors attending programs to obtain a swipe card. This allows for the LCOA to receive an unduplicated number of seniors served, provides personal client information as well as emergency contact and health related information. Several other seniors are served annually through drop in visits, telephone contacts and referrals.
- The LCOA has implemented some new programs this year in addition to the over fifty various programs/activities/services already offered weekly (2,600 annually). The new activities include; getting fit classes on Wednesday’s, Bereavement Support Group, Ask a nurse, and have added new educational seminars, to include optimal estate planning and money management seminars and various City of Lowell department education for those departments that serve the public, such as Health, LPD, Fire, Recycling, Building/Inspectional services, Assessors and more. The LCOA worked with the various City of Lowell departments to both benefit the senior population to increase their knowledge of how the city government offices work and what they have to offer. It also gives the various City departments a chance to see what areas are working and what areas can be improved. The LCOA has also added narrative information provided by other City of Lowell departments to the monthly newsletter “The Heritage”, such as, Human Relations insurance updates for changes and open enrollment dates, Public Health updates and concerns (Shingles, Flu and more), recycling information (pick up dates and how garbage and recyclables should be put out for pick up), Building department (permit information, rules and guidelines), Library activities and more.
- The LCOA has been able to re-secure funding for the continued employment of the part time Minority Outreach Coordinator (Khmer & English speaking) through the FY13 State-Formula Grant. The Minority Outreach worker makes it possible through translation for the Cambodian elders whom only speak Khmer to communicate with staff and receive services needed.
- The LCOA has partnered with Burlington Council on Aging to offer an on-site Indian Outreach Program to non-English speaking Indian seniors. Two Outreach workers are available on Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 am – 12 noon. A special ethnic Indian meal is served on Fridays at 12 noon and speakers are brought in once per month for education on various topics. These services are made possible through a grant obtained by the Burlington senior center.
- The LCOA continues to serve approximately 200 unduplicated low income seniors with a free monthly grocery bag ”Brown Bag Program” through a partnership with Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley.
- The LCOA was able to assist another 30 seniors with taking part in the City of Lowell Tax Incentive Program. Each senior receives a $750 rebate of their real estate tax bill by volunteering/working in various City departments where they perform 100 hours to receive this abatement. The interest in this program has increased by both seniors and city departments.
- The LCOA was able to assist over 250 seniors with free tax preparation by partnering with AARP tax services.
- The City of Lowell and the LCOA opened an emergency shelter a few times during this fiscal year. The first shelter was opened for the Easter Sunday 2012 fire that affected many families and the shelter opening for the Blizzard of 2013. Many shelter management trainings have been attended by the Director of Council on Aging.
- The LCOA installed four additional surveillance cameras in 2013 to increase the monitoring of public program space entrances/exits. This assists in decreasing items being taken from the public areas, as well as increases the public’s well-being and safety.
- The LCOA replaced the picture identification software program through “Identicard” to enable seniors to obtain a new picture identification card. The previous system was aging and not responding with computer software and memory. Many senior’s participants and senior volunteer received their cards in FY13 before system broke. Others will begin receiving their new identification cards during March 2013 and will be completed by June 30th. The identification cards assist in many ways. They enable participants to easily seek out a COA volunteer for assistance when needed, assist seniors in receiving elderly discounts when shopping at various stores, help COA staff and employees identify a senior on site if during an emergency and can be utilized as a second form of Identification (it is not a government issued id).
- The LCOA has added a second floor telecommunications TV/board that advertises upcoming programs and activities for senior enjoyment, updates and education. It also shows the weather. This telecommunication board ties into the telecommunication board that is in the first floor Great hall of senior center.
- The LCOA replaced one of the aging treadmills with a brand new treadmill in the senior exercise equipment gym.