Sunday, January 4, 2015

Franklin Annual Report 2014: Council on Aging (Senior Center)

Continuing our reading of the 2014 Annual Report we come to the section from the Council on Aging which is responsible for the Franklin Senior Center

The Franklin Senior Center

The Franklin Senior Center is located at 10 Daniel McCahill Street and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Center provides programs, services and activities along with outreach, information and referral to serve the needs of older adults, disabled individuals and their families.

The Senior Center offers a health screening and wellness, nutrition, social service coordination, socialization, recreation, transportation, educational programs, a supportive day program, and volunteer and intergenerational opportunities.

The Center’s mission is to enhance the independence and quality of life for Franklin’s older adults by:

  • Identifying the needs of this population and creating programs that meet those needs.
  • Offering the knowledge, tools and opportunities to promote mental, social and physical well-being.
  • Advocating for relevant programs and services in our community.
  • Serving as a community focal point for aging issues and as liaison to local, state and Federal resources for older adults and their families.


Last year, we added several new activities including: a weekly Open Art Studio for aspiring artists, an Aging Mastery Program which offered ongoing presentations on health and wellness, and lessons for using tablets and smartphones. In addition, we started to offer Reflexology sessions and a Chess Club.

We recruited a Senior Greeter to provide a brief orientation and tour of the Senior Center for newcomers, and we hosted an Open House to showcase the programs, services and activities offered at the Senior Center. Authors, Jennie Coughlin and Marjorie Turner Hollman gave presentations about their recently published books, and we hosted lectures on the History of Cathedrals and Travels in Southern India. We offered two evidence-based programs: Powerful Tools for Caregivers, and Chronic Pain Self-Management.

We collaborated with the Franklin Food Pantry to offer a mobile food pantry at the Senior Center. The Norfolk County District Attorney sponsored a Prescription Drug Mobile Take-Back. The 2013 WMRC Senior Expo was hosted by the Senior Center. The Expo featured 35 exhibitors, health screenings, a senior fashion show, and attracted over 400 seniors.

Caregiver Support

The AARP reports that 42% of U.S. employees have cared for an older relative or friend in the last five years, and 19% of retirees stopped working to provide elder care. Clearly, assistance is needed for members of our community who are struggling with this issue.

As part of our commitment to caregivers, we offer several respite and support services to alleviate the physical and emotional stress caregivers’ experience. They include:
• Supportive Day Program “The Sunshine Club” offers a structured, stimulating day program for frail elders and respite for their caregivers. This program enhances the quality of life for participants who enjoy fun activities, socialization and gentle exercise.
• Companion Caregivers is an in-home service that provides a companion for frail elders and respite to their caregivers by offering an affordable companion service.
• Caregivers Support Group is facilitated by two moderators who have completed a training program with the Alzheimer’s Association. The group meets biweekly.
• Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a 6-week evidencebased program that teaches caregivers how to reduce guilt and stress, communicate effectively, set goals and problem solve.

Health & Wellness Programs

The concept of Healthy Aging has become an integral component of our Wellness Program. This is a multi-faceted approach to encourage and maintain elder independence by fostering optimal mental, social and physical well-being.

The program provides chronic disease self-management, fall prevention, physical activity, healthy eating, social connection and community engagement. The Center’s Health & Wellness program offers the following:
• Health Clinics: Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, Podiatry, Flu Vaccinations, and Vision & Hearing screenings.
• Evidence-based programs: Developed through rigorous research, these programs provide clear physical, psychological, and social benefits with
measurable outcomes; e.g, reducing doctor’s visits and hospitalizations.
• Fall Prevention: Evidence-based seminars, Gait Assessments, Fall Risk Assessments, Medication Management and Home Safety evaluations, which
evaluate elders’ home environments to determine if the risk for dangerous falls can be reduced. Based on this evaluation, installation of grab bars and adaptive devices are provided.
• Fitness: Cardio Tone & Stretch, Zumba, Yoga, Tai Chi, Chair Exercise, Walking Club, Bocce, Line Dancing, Chair Volleyball, Reiki, Reflexology and Meditation are offered.
• Support: Eye Health, Weight Loss, and Caregivers Support Groups; individual consultations with our Health & Wellness Nurse.
• Education: Monthly presentations such as Paring Down to Essentials, Medicare Boot Camp, Cooking for One, and Five Wishes Advance Directive.
• The Center’s Health & Wellness Nurse provides weekly blood pressure testing.

The Center provided over 3,500 health service contacts last year. We offered 2 seminars, the Aging Mastery Program and Living Your Best Life; 2 evidence-based workshops, Chronic Pain Management and Powerful Tools for Caregivers; a Flu Vaccine Clinic, and 3 Gait Assessment clinics over the course of the year. In collaboration with the Medway Senior Center, we offered the Aging Mastery Program, which encourages elders to take key steps to improve their well-being and add stability to their lives. Built on the foundation of actionable goals, sustainable behaviors, clear incentives and peer support, this self-paced program enables participants to create their own personal pathways for aging well.

Outreach/Social Service Coordination

The Franklin Senior Center provides assistance with housing, employment, home care services, tax abatements, long-term care placement, prescription drug programs, and many other programs and services for elderly and disabled residents through the Center’s Social Service Coordinator. The Coordinator can make home visits to homebound residents to assess needs and make referrals. The Social Service Coordinator can also assist the non-senior population. The Coordinator can help seniors and others access several social benefit programs, including Food Stamps, Fuel Assistance, Mass Health, Supplemental Security Insurance, Veteran’s benefits, and many other public benefits.

The Social Service Coordinator assists seniors and the nonsenior community by referring them to monthly legal clinics, and the SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Elders) program, which provided assistance with health insurance questions and problems for 152 elders last year. Free income tax preparation assistance was also provided by Senior Center for 115 seniors and by the AARP for 140 seniors. An information session providing assistance to seniors in obtaining real estate tax abatements and the State’s Circuit Breaker tax credit was also offered. Our volunteer completed Circuit Breaker Tax Credit returns for 48 elderly residents, resulting in a total of $43,350.00 in senior tax relief.

The Council on Aging tapes a cable television show, The Senior Circle, which offers a wealth of information on senior topics and issues of interest. The show is shown on Franklin Public Access, Channel 8.


The Center’s Common Grounds Café offers seniors a nutritious, affordable breakfast and luncheon in a social setting, as well as monthly theme parties. By utilizing volunteers, we can offer an extremely affordable meal that accommodates senior budgets. A recent study found that “Social contact may be as effective as physical activity in improving mood and quality of life.” The Café and our monthly parties offer a great
opportunity for seniors to enjoy a delicious meal enhanced by social interaction. Last year we served over 20,000 nutritious, affordable meals at the Café, a 5% increase over last year.

Educational Programs

We offer instruction and educational programs in numerous areas including the following:
• Computer, Tablet & Phone Instruction
• Italian Conversation Group
• Current Events Discussion Group
• CPR Certification
• Painting Instruction
• Woodcarving Instruction
• Knitting & Quilting Instruction
• Arts & Crafts Instruction
• Writers Group – Senior Scribblers
• Book Discussion Group
• Cribbage Instruction
• Smart Driver Classes
• America- An Artful Journey

Social and Recreational Programming

The Senior Center offers a varied assortment of social and recreational activities in an effort to reduce social isolation by encouraging friendship and engagement. The Center’s Café and social events foster social interaction as do many other social and recreational opportunities offered at the Center. Some of these include: cards, board games, arts & crafts, pool/billiards, movies, day trips and our chorale group.


Handicapped accessible transportation is available to Franklin’s elderly and disabled residents through GATRA, the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority. Dial-ARide service is available to Franklin’s older residents within Franklin or out-of-town within a 15 mile radius.

GATRA also offers a fixed route bus through town and long-distance transportation for medical appointments to Boston and other destinations. GATRA transportation can be scheduled by calling 800-698-7676.

The Council on Aging works with GATRA to assure optimal access to, and quality of both Dial-A-Ride and the fixed bus route services for senior and disabled riders. The Senior Center also offers weekly recreational trips at an affordable price for older adults.

Friends of Franklin Elders

The Friends of Franklin Elders, Inc. (FOFE) is a private, non-profit organization, which was founded to assist the Franklin Senior Center with funding. The Friends supplement town funding for the Senior Center by funding programs, services, and equipment. FOFE raises funds through its annual membership drive. The Center relies on FOFE to help fund salaries for our Grill Cook and Health & Wellness Nurse. The Friends also funded our annual Veterans Breakfast, our Volunteer Recognition Luncheon, entertainment for social events, and various other expenses. The Friends publish our monthly newsletter, The Franklin Connection. In collaboration with the Benjamin Franklin Charter School, FOFE provides gifts to 40 homebound elderly residents.

Tax Work-Off Program

Franklin offers a Tax Work-Off Program for senior homeowners aged 60 and over. Seniors can take a credit of up to $800.00 off their real estate taxes by working in various town departments at the minimum wage. This program provides important tax relief to senior citizens, while supplying the town with knowledgeable workers. In 2013, ninety-three participants worked for a total of 8,495 hours at a total cost of $67,960. Senior workers were placed in the Library, Treasurer/Collector’s office, the Recreation Department, the DPW, the Assessors’ office, the Building/Inspection office, the Senior Center and several schools.


The Council on Aging is deeply indebted to our volunteers for their steadfast service and commitment to the Senior Center. They enrich our programming and enhance our ability to serve older adults effectively. Volunteers donate their time working in our gift shop, café, Supportive Day Program, as instructors, and in many other capacities. Last year, 106 dedicated volunteers contributed 11,212 hours of service to the Senior Center. Each year, we pay tribute to our volunteers for their dedicated service at our annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon, which is funded by the Friends of Franklin Elders.

Intergenerational Activities

The Senior Center is committed to joining generations and we enjoyed many intergenerational activities with students of all ages over the course of the year. These activities help to create a sense of community, improve self-esteem in both generations, and dispel age-related stereotypes.

The Tri-County Technical Regional Vocational School Health Services students visited the Center bi-weekly to interact with seniors and assist with activities; they also hosted a Health Fair. Tri-County’s Honor Society offered free gift wrapping for seniors during the holidays.

National Honor Society students at Franklin High School hosted their annual Spring Fling for seniors with a free luncheon, entertainment by talented students, and generous raffle prizes which the students solicit from local merchants.

Our Supportive Day Program met monthly with students from the Early Child Development Program. Horace Mann students organized a Poetry Day at the Center and shared classic poems with seniors who shared their poems as well. Our seniors mentor students at the Parmenter School’s Book Buddies program. We hosted two interns from Franklin High School and two interns from Xaverian Brothers High School.

Some further conveniences offered at the Senior Center include:
• Hairdresser/Barber/Manicures
• “Ben’s Bounty” Gift Shop
• Free Medical Equipment & Supply Loans
• Fitness Equipment
• Franklin Connection Newsletter
• “Senior Circle” Cable Program
• Recycling – Batteries & Light bulbs

Funding & Partnerships

The Center’s total funding from all sources was $285,921 last year. When broken down, this includes 54% from the Town’s General Fund, 22% from Revolving Funds, 12% from the state’s Elder Affairs grant, 8% from the Friends of Franklin Elders and 4% from the MetroWest Health Care Foundation.

The Franklin Council on Aging partners with the Franklin Police Department and the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office. The Franklin Police Patrolmen’s Association officers offer a holiday luncheon at the Senior Center every year, along with educational presentations and Bingo parties.

The Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office collaborates with the Senior Center and the Franklin Police to create awareness of scams and fraudulent schemes to reduce elderly victimization and enhance the safety of older adults.

The Sheriff’s Office sponsors the Yellow Dot Program which furnishes a sticker for an elder’s vehicle, which directs first responders to the driver’s medical information in the glove compartment.

The Sheriff’s Office and the Franklin Police Department also manage the Project Lifesaver program, which recovers elders with dementia who may wander. The program provides subscribers with a wrist bracelet with a radio transmitter. Should the subscriber wander, a search and rescue team is deployed to track the signal. The program is available to elderly residents suffering from dementia.

The Senior Center also worked with a Veterans organization, “IPods for Wounded Veterans” to send afghans to military hospitals in Washington D.C.

In Memorium: Stella Jeon

The Franklin Council on Aging was greatly saddened by the loss of long-time member, Stella Jeon. Stella was a passionate advocate for the Senior Center, the town of Franklin and those with low vision. Stella was the embodiment of kindness and touched many lives in our community and beyond. Stella will be commemorated with the re-naming of the Center’s library as the “Stella Jeon Memorial Library” and the addition to our parking lot will be designated as “Stella Jeon Way”.

Respectfully Submitted,

Karen Alves
Senior Center Director

Mah Jongg lessons start in January at the Senior Center
Mah Jongg lessons start in January at the Senior Center

For additional information on the Council on Aging (Senior Center) you can visit their page on the official Franklin website


The full annual report can be obtained from the Town Clerk's office (hard copy) or viewed and/or downloaded from the Franklin website here

Annual reports of prior years can also be found online at

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