Aging in Acton

January 15, 2022

In this episode of “A Healthier You,” Producer and Host Saad Dinno speaks with a panel of experts on the topic of aging and some of the important things that you need to know about health services and care options that are available to seniors in our community.

Panel Guests:

  • Sharon Mercurio, Director, Acton Council of Aging,
  • Heather York, Director, Acton Nursing Services
  • Samantha Gentel, Attorney, Generations Law Group
  • Chris Foye, Executive Director, Life Care Center of Acton
  • Amanda Scribner, Marketing Director, Visiting Angels
  • Jay Beausoleil, Director of Community Relations, Benchmark Senior Living at Robbins Brook
  • Dan Forbes, Hospice Care, Tandem Care Associates
  • Kathryn Kochenour, Attorney, Eckel, Hoag and O’Connor
  • James MacRae, District Director, Acton Boxborough Veterans Services

During the episode, a case study on Kathy, an 80-year-old woman who has memory loss, and the Acton business organization and care services that provided support for her continued care were discussed. Below is an excerpt of a discussion with the Director of Acton Council of Aging, Sharon Mercurio. Sharon Mercurio talks about the types of services and programs that are available to our seniors, which has been helpful for Kathy.

Sharon Mercurio:

Thank you for having us. The Acton Council on Aging, located at 30 Sudbury Road, is in with all the human services that the Town of Acton offers. The Council on Aging really can offer quite a bit to Kathy and her family. We have all types of programs, activities, movies, games, meals and exercise classes that Kathy can attend free of charge. If there’s any type of financial need, we’re able to help her with food assistance, fuel assistance and applications if she’s looking at public housing. For Kathy’s daughter, we can provide services for caregivers because it is stressful when you have a family member with health challenges. Kathy is more than welcome to come to the senior center as her disease progresses. She can also bring a companion or caregiver with her.

We’ve started a memory café, which is a wonderful opportunity for someone with dementia and their caregiver and again we can meet with both Kathy and her daughter to talk about the various services available. Minutemen Senior Services is usually a recommendation we make for home health services and for Meals on Wheels. If there are other needs as their health progresses, we’re able to help them with that too.

The Council on Aging offers about 15 different exercise classes and can handle any level. We start with chair exercises, and we also offer aerobics, tai chi, yoga and many other different varieties for people. You can play scrabble on Mondays, which takes place in the dining room. We always offer a meal at noon, so there are nutrition needs that are being met. We offer different lifelong learning programs such as Art and History. We’re going through a series on classical music right now. We offer various art classes, bridge mahjong and chess.

If Kathy is unable to drive, the Town of Acton has three different vans that offer door to door services. The van can come pick Kathy up at her door and bring her to the senior center, free of charge. It can also bring her to a doctor’s appointment or down to Dinno Health pharmacy if she needed a medication refill. There are transaction associates who can dispatch a ride for her. It’s best to call a day or two in advance. They also do local trips. If she needs to go into Boston or something and her daughter cannot help her, we have a volunteer driver program or we can work with the physicians or other options to try to get her where she needs to go.

Be sure to watch the video for the full discussion!