Having been involved with seniors most of my professional life, I am deeply committed to the idea that if I want to know what people are thinking and what they want, I have to ask them. That’s the reason for the Listening Tours I’ve undertaken around the commonwealth. Since becoming Secretary of Elder Affairs in July, I’ve visited a number of senior centers, councils on aging (COA) and housing sites.
At each stop, I’ve met with seniors, staff, family-members, local veterans’ agents, police and fire personnel, health department staff, town managers, COA and senior center board members, ASAP staff, volunteers – anyone and everyone with an interest in senior life. Although these are challenging times for seniors and their families, many COAs and senior centers are working with other community organizations to provide programs and services in imaginative, innovative ways. Many “Friends” groups are devoting new energy and time to make resources available to the seniors in their communities. As a former council-on-aging director, I know how important their contribution is and I applaud their efforts.
Seniors are describing their efforts to contribute to their communities’ life. They are stressing the need for adequate transportation alternatives, better home and community based services and affordable housing. They, in other words, are saying what all of us want, a way to live and grow in the community of their choice. I applaud them and their families in their efforts and will commit the resources of the EOEA to help them achieve that end.
Tags: commonwealth, communities, community, community service, elder affairs, elderly, elders, executive office of elder affairs, mass gov, mass governor, massachusetts, massachusetts elderly, senior centers, seniors, service, volunteerism
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