Human Services Department
• Jacquelyn Kelly - Assistant Town Manager, Director of Human Services
• Louise Charbonneau - Coordinator of Senior Services
• Maureen Buffone - Senior Clerk
• Naomi Sohlman - Coordinator of Transportation
• Clare Nelson - Activities/Program Coordinator
• Paula Earley - Outreach Worker, Part Time
• Cherylann Owoc - Outreach Worker, Part Time
• Mary Sloan - Van Driver, Part Time
• Marjeanne Adels - Van Driver, Part Time
• George Warden - Van Driver, Part Time
• Lawrence Pierce - Van Driver, Part Time
• Ernest Diesslin - Van Escort, Part Time
The Holden Council on Aging assists seniors and their families by providing services and activities that will enable them to stay independent and living in their own homes for as long as possible. Information and referral services and support groups are available for seniors and their families.
Activities and Services
Advocacy & Outreach
The Holden Council on Aging reaches out to assist isolated, frail and needy elders in Holden to inform them of supportive services, which can help them to remain in their own homes. Our outreach program is funded by the Town of Holden, as well as, through a grant from the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. It employs two part-time Outreach Workers who provide such services as meals on wheels and home aides, etc. They also file necessary reports to elder and/or protective services for intervention, so that our seniors are safe.
The staff can also provide assistance in areas such as legal issues, Social Security, food stamps, health, housing, medical and fuel assistance. If you are unable to come to the Senior Center, you can access this service by calling (508) 210-5570.
SHINE (Serving Health Information Needs of Elders)
A SHINE Counselor is available, by appointment, to help seniors with health insurance questions and needs, including reviewing present coverage to questions about Medicare, Medicaid, Medigap and other private insurances. The volunteer counselor, who is trained and certified by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, also assists seniors in processing claims. To make an appointment with a counselor, call the senior center at (508) 210-5570.
Friendly Visitor Program
We offer a Friendly Visitor program where a volunteer, not necessarily a senior, will visit a home-bound senior who has similar interests. They visit at whatever interval of time they decide upon; as little as once each month or as often as once each week.
RUOK - Computerized Telephone Reassurance
In conjunction with the Police Department, we offer the RUOK system. RUOK is a computerized telephone reassurance program whereby a senior gets a phone call each day at a time of the elder's choosing. When they pick up the phone, the computer will ask "Are you okay?". If the person does not answer, the system will try again a short time later. If they don't answer a second time, emergency personnel are dispatched and next of kin is notified.
If you'd like to sign up to participate in this program, please call the senior center at (508) 210-0270 and speak to an Outreach Worker or the Director.
In conjunction with the Gale Free Library, we have a Book Express Program. For this program, the senior will fill out a form at the Library, describing the kind of books they like to read and/or the movies they might like to see. The Library staff puts together a bag for each participant. Senior Center volunteers deliver the materials to the senior and return them to the library two weeks later.
Wachusett Food Pantry
In conjunction with the Wachusett Food Pantry, we have begun a distribution day just for seniors. The 3rd Friday of each month the food pantry opens its doors to seniors. We also have a program where a home-bound senior can fill out a "grocery list" and volunteers go to the food pantry on their behalf, gather the things and deliver them to the senior.
Other Outreach Programs
Other Outreach Programs offered are:
• Free Legal Clinics (by appointment)
•Free Blood Pressure Clinic
•Free Income Tax Assistance
•Flu Shot Clinics
•Other occasional Health Screenings
Programs & Services
Discussions, lectures and seminars by professionals on topics that seniors have expressed interest in, are held at the Senior Center. Topics have included:
• Elder Law Seminars regarding wills, trusts, protecting assests from nursing home costs;
• Elder Homestead Protection; estate/inheritance taxes and living wills;
• Consumer Protection Programs; financial concerns of elders;
• Health & Wellness presentations; by physicians, nurses, and other medical specialties on health maintenance, symptom assessment and how to talk to your doctor, etc.
The center is equipped with a computer lab with six computers. The computer lab is open during regular business hours and is available for use by seniors except during periods when classes are being held. Use of the internet is available, as long as the rules for internet use are adhered to. Computers cannot be used for any illegal or pornographic activities. Changing computer settings or software is strictly prohibited.
Any senior wishing to use the computer lab, needs to check in at the office before entering the lab. Users of the computers must agree to the Usage Notice posted near the computers.
Computer classes are offered. Currently we offer a beginners' class and a class on using the internet. Other classes will be added in the future. You can receive more information or sign up for these classes by calling the Senior Center at (50) 210-5570.
Intergenerational programming is offered at the Senior Center. Most notably are two programs: a Pen Pal Party with the 3rd graders at Mayo School. Seniors and students write letters monthly and meet twice during the year. The students host the seniors at the school in the autumn and the seniors host the students in June at the Senior Center to say good-bye. This very successful program has been in existence since the 1970's.
Also, once or twice each year we host a Bring a Grandchild to lunch program where seniors invite their grandchildren, nieces/nephews or neighbors to lunch and a program geared to both generations.
Exercise and Recreational Programs
The Senior Center offers several exercise and recreational programs.
We offer exercise programs in Strength Training, Yoga and Walking. We are always looking to add to our exercise program and may do so in the future.
Also offered is weekly Line Dancing and a Bowling League which meets September-May.
We have an exercise room equipped with treadmills, an exercise bike and a bow-flex machine.
We offer recreational programming as well. We have a billiards room equipped with two billiard tables. The room is available during regular business hours for any senior citizen who wishes to play.
Games are offered at the Senior Center as well. We host:
• A Bingo Game
• Pitch Party
• Military Whist Party weekly
• Mahjongg game weekly
• Bridge group twice weekly
Arts and Crafts classes are presented each week. Some of the classes offered are:
• Crafts and Knitting
• Water Color Painting
• Acrylic Painting
• Flower Arranging
The Senior Center offers both day trips (usually one monthly) and occasionally overnight trips. Our trips are not restricted to Holden Seniors. We have begun a Trip Consortium with other local COA's. Holden's Volunteer Trip Coordinator oversees all of the trips.
Trip reservation rules:
• Reservations are on a first come first serve basis
• Payment must be made at the time reservation is made
• Checks are made payable to the HCOA. Please include the trip name and your phone number on the check
• Waiting lists are used, and checks held. If not used, will be returned to individual
• Cancellations for day trips are allowed up to 48 hours before the trip, otherwise, there will be no refund
The gift cart is managed by the Friends of the Holden Council on Aging and sells lovely and unique items at affordable prices. The Friends is a non-profit organization established to raise funds for and to otherwise support the Holden Senior Center. Through the gift cart, fund raising efforts and promoting membership, the Friends work toward the continued development and success of the Holden Senior Center.
Annual Special Events
Annual Special Events offered include:
• A picnic at Trout Brook Reservation
• Victorian Tea
• Strawberry Festival
• Valentine's Day Cookie Sale
• Bring a Grandchild to Lunch
• Halloween Party
• Fall Craft Fair
• Veterans' Appreciation Luncheon
• Christmas Party
• New Year's Party
Our nutrition program through Elder Services of Worcester offers:
• Meals on Wheels
• Congregate Meal at the center every day
The program is overseen by a Nutrition Site Manager, who is employed by Elder Services. Each day, 3-4 volunteers help put out these meals. We also offer luncheon programs, which may include musical entertainment, slide presentations or educational and informational speakers.
Luncheon Programs Include:
Musical Entertainment, Slide Presentation, Educational and Informational Speakers.
Call (508) 210-5570 For Information on Any of Our Services