Latest News

FROM THE DIRECTOR'S CHAIR with BRENDAN ROGERS

I would like to wish all of our participants and their family members a wonderful holiday season! We look forward to seeing you at the center as we celebrate the end of 2018. Often, this time of the year is considered the season for giving.. With that in mind, we hope that many of our members will consider sponsoring a ride for those in need. Currently, ECOA transportation system can only operate in Easthampton and Northampton. As you can imagine, there are many seniors who have essential medical appointments in the Springfield and Holyoke area. To service these individuals, the ECOA has the companion program ( made up volunteer drivers) who can help these individuals get to where they need to be. Consider a small donation of

5 dollars, or even becoming a volunteer for this program yourself. With your support we can continue to help those in need.—-B. Rogers

 

 ACTIVITY & EVENT  COMMENTS  December 2018 

   

Stars. The Winter is full of them. The glitter of wrappings, the decorations on holiday trees, the lights strung across buildings and houses, The sparkle in the snow and ice on a sunnier winter day.

The “eyes of the sky” at night feature in one of our great Holiday celebrations. Among the most beautiful stars are the twinkle in the eyes of people at peace with each other and the shared joy in the season.   The Staff of the ECAOE and myself wish each of you…...many stars – K. Jensen

OUTREACH NEWS

Please call Hayley @527-6151 X136 or Linda @X137
We are here to help! Please Call ahead for appointment so we set aside a time for you.
PREVENTION FOR AN ELECTRIC SHUT-OFF
If you have received letters from Eversource regarding a past due amount, please do not ignore these letters. Programs are available to assist with having your electric shut off.
THERE IS A CUT OFF TO APPLY FOR THESE PROGRAMS
Open & read your mailings and be aware of DATES . Do not wait until there is not enough time for us to help you.
413-527-6151 for assistance

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 SILVER ALERT:

Offered by the Council on Aging,  and the Easthampton Police Department

The Silver Alert Program is a public  notification system used to disseminate  information about missing persons in  order to aid in their quick recovery,  specifically older adults with dementia or  other cognitive impairments who may  wander. The Silver Alert system allows local searching to begin immediately upon the receipt of a missing person report, waiving any waiting period. Wandering is one common challenge foranyone living with a dementia diagnosis. In these instances, although people with dementia  are often found within a distance of less than 2 miles, time is of the essence.

 Please contact Hayley Wood or Linda Talbot, Outreach Workers at 413-527-6151 for additional information or to enroll in the Silver Alert Program. 

This program is free. Enrolled participants will receive a free Medic Alert Bracelet & File of Life Packet. 

NOTARY SERVICE:

The Easthampton Council on Aging Enrichment Center provides notary services to Easthampton residents, 60 years of age and older. Please call Linda Talbot at 413-527-6151 to schedule an appointment. In-home notary service is also available by appointment. You must provide a picture I.D. which is required by law. A suggested donation of $5.00 is requested.

DO NOT SIGN YOUR DOCUMENTS IN ADVANCE. THE NOTARY MUST WITNESS YOUR SIGNATURE IN PERSON!!

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IMPORTANT CHANGES TO YOUR PROPERTY TAX BILL

The City of Easthampton has introduced a new format for property tax bills. Mailing of tax bills will now only take place twice a year and will include two (2) quarterly billing cycles. Quarterly payment of property taxes are still due August 1st, November 1st, February 1st and May 1st. You will not be receiving a mailing for your November payment. The August and November invoices are included in the mailing you have already received.

Questions? Residents can reach the Office of the Tax Collector at 413-529-1414.

SAFE DISPOSAL OF SHARPS CONTAINER IN EASTHAMPTON
Dispose at Public Safety Complex. Needles are NOW accepted at the Public Safety Complex 24/7. There is no fee.
They accept sharps container boxes, 2-liter soda bottles, rigid plastic laundry detergent bottles, rigid plastic coffee cans with taped tops. The Health Department has a supply of sharps containers available to Easthampton residents.

BE ALERT TO TAX SCAMS
In recent years, thousands of people have lost money and had their personal information compromised due to tax scams and fake IRS communications. 
The IRS will NEVER: 
Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a pre-paid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you own any taxes. 
Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrest-ed for not paying. 
Demand you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. 
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media to request personal or financial information. 
The IRS does not threaten with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action.

REPORT ELDER ABUSE
1-800-922-2275
Operating 7 days a week
24 hours a day
What is elder abuse? Elder abuse includes: physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, caretaker neglect, financial exploitation and self-neglect.
Who is protected? Those 60 years and older living in the community are protected by this law.

MOBILE FOOD BANK EASTHAMPTON

Ferry street food market will run through the winter. Please be aware- It is an OUTDOOR market, and you must bring your own bags/ boxes.
Location: 2 Ferry Street
Distribution Day: 1st & 3rd Thursday of every month.
Distribution Time: 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Income Requirement
1-person household $21,590/month
2-person household
$29,101
3-person household
$36,612
Applications for the Brown Bag: Food for Elders Program are available online at: www.foodbankwma.org
You can also call the Food Bank of Western MA at 413-247-9738. Applications are  available through outreach at the Easthampton Council on Aging, 19 Union Street and the Community Center on Clark in Easthampton.

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One to One VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY AT THE ECOA
The Easthampton Council on Aging is seeking a few special people to provide assistance with grocery shopping, prescription drug pickup and transportation, utilizing your own car.
This is a very rewarding experience and you meet the most wonderful people who greatly appreciate your assistance.
Please call Outreach Staff at 413-527-6151

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E-MAIL ADDRESS LIST- CURRENT NEWSLETTER (and previous months) CAN  NOW BE FULLY ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEBSITE.

 

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FREE WIFI 
The EOCA Enrichment Center  offers FREE WiFi & charging stations upstairs in the Living room seating area.  Bring your own laptop or other device.  I

We currently offer computer classes in collaboration with Emily Williston Library twice per month at no charge- as with ALL of our classes we ask that you REGISTER or CALL the library for these classes. 

 READING LIBRARY

The Enrichment Center maintains a reading materials area on the upper level of the Enrichment Center next to the Coffee Station.  Books are taken out on an honor system and should be returned to the Enrichment Center when finished. New book donations welcome.... but please...... call the Enrichment Center FIRST.  DO NOT just "drop off", or stack books on top of the shelves. There IS such a thing as TOO MUCH of a good thing, and we want the area to remain inviting, not unkept looking.

 

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DO YOU HAVE DIFFICULTY READING OR HOLDING BOOKS & NEWSPAPERS?
The Talking Information Center Network (TIC) is a radio reading service that provides around the clock programming for the blind, visually impaired or otherwise disabled. Tune in to volunteers as they read state and local newspapers, magazines, periodicals and other information about state programs and events.
**HOW TO LISTEN
• Call TIC at 781-832-4400 to order a radio receiver.
• Listen by telephone: call 712-832-7025
• Listen via website: www.ticnetwork.org
• Download our free app on your phone.

** For more information go to www.ticnetwork.org or call 781-834-4400

HEAR NOW RECYCLING PROGRAM
We Need Your Used Hearing Aids…What you will receive: 
*An acknowledgement letter for tax purposes
*Knowledge that you’ve helped Starkey Hearing Foundation and its Hear Now Program continue their mission of providing hearing aids overseas and in the United States.
 What you need to do:
Label the package or box with this address:
Hear Now Donation - 6700 Washington Avenue South. Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Include your name and address inside the package (please allow 6-8 weeks to process). 
For further information, please call 1-800-648-4327 or go to sotheworldmayhear.org

EYECARE AMERICA PROGRAM
Assistance with eye care
EyeCare America facilitates eye care for US citizens or legal resident, who are without an Eye MD and who do not belong to an HMO or have eye care through the Veteran’s Administration.
To be eligible for the program an individual should fall into one of the two categories below:
1. Those who are age 65 or older and have not seen an ophthalmologist (Eye MD) in three or more years. These patients may be eligible to receive a comprehensive, medical eye exam and up to one year of care at no out-of-pocket cost for any disease diagnosed during the initial exam. Volunteer ophthalmologists will waive Co-payments and unmet deductibles and accept Medicare and/or other insurance reimbursement as payment in full; patients without insurance receive this care at no charge.
OR
2. If you are not eligible for the above care, those determined to be at increased risk for glaucoma (by age, race and family history) and have not had an eye exam in 12 months or more. These patients may be eligible to receive a free glaucoma eye exam if they are uninsured. Those who are eligible and covered by insurance will be billed for the exam and are responsible for any co-payments.
Whether or not visitors are eligible for a referral, Eye Care America also offers free brochures, other resources and medication assistance information at:  www.eyecareamerica.org

 PRESCRIPTION ADVANTAGE

Massachusetts residents who are 65 or older or have disabilities can get supple-mental assistance through Prescription Advantage to help pay for prescription medication.
Prescription Advantage provides prescription drug coverage for eligible Massachusetts residents, including assistance than Medicare prescription drug cover-age.  
household income, as well as an annual out-of-pocket spending limit. And for members with a Medicare Prescription Drug plan, Prescription Advantage can help fill the coverage gap commonly referred to as the “donut hole”.

Who is eligible?
Massachusetts residents who are not receiving prescription drug benefits under Medicaid may qualify for Prescription Advantage if they are:
• 65 or older, eligible for Medicare and enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan, and have a gross annual household income less than 500% of the Federal Poverty Level
• 65 or older, not eligible for Medicare, and enrolled in a plan offering creditable coverage that is equal to or better
with co-payments based on yearly
• Younger than 65, work no more than 40 hours per month, meet MassHealth Common-Health disability guide-lines, and have a gross annual household income at or below 188% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Income: Single: 0-$16,281
Married: 0-$22,673
Please call the Council on Aging at 413-527-6151 to schedule an appointment with one of our Outreach Workers.
Paying for prescription drugs can be a financial strain. Take the time to explore your options and learn whether you qualify for assistance.

NEED LEGAL ADVICE?
No Money for a Lawyer?
Ask Mass Legal Answers Online!
Mass Legal Answers Online is a free service for low income Massachusetts residents who cannot afford a lawyer. Go to masslao.org to get free legal advice about non-criminal legal problems from volunteer lawyers.
Easy as 1, 2, 3:
1. Go to masslao.org and create an account. No computer or smartphone? Use a computer at the local public library or Council on Aging for free.
2. Use the website to ask your question.
3. A lawyer will answer you on the website.

LIVE INDEPENDENTLY AT HOME
Home Modification Loan Program is state-funded loan program that can help MA residents live more independently at home by providing loans for access and safety modifications for elders and persons with disabilities.
• Provides 0% and 3% loans (up to $30,000)
• Generous income guide-lines
• Approximately 94% of homeowners qualify for a 0% loan.
• 0% loans have no monthly payments and repayment is required when the home is sold or transferred!

Eligibility is based on a few factors; including income, a professional’s documentation of need, and the modifications proposed.
Modifications can include: ramps, wheelchair lifts, stair lifts, safety windows, fences and more.
Call Susan at 1-866-500-5599
Home Modification Program is a program of Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission in collaboration with CEDAC (Community Economic Development Assistance Corp.)

SENIOR COMMUNITY SERVICE EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM

The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a community service work-based and paid job training program for older Americans under the U.S. Dept. of Labor. We are looking for individuals who are 55 and older and who income qualify to inquire and apply for our services. This is for additional job training, helping to keep older adults in the workforce using their work skills, through community service. We place in various government settings, and in non-profits (we don’t place in for profit businesses).
We pay minimum wage for 20 hours per week. Min. wage now is $8.00 hr., and in Jan. will be $9.00 hour. Workers  ompensation is covered by the Federal Govt. The placement in our job training is temporary and all participants in this program work with our staff to find employment away from our job training service so that they can have better opportunities for employment and earn even more income than we are able to provide.
Hampshire County residents may inquire about the program to see if they qualify by contacting the representative of this service by phone or email. We are based at the Franklin/Hampshire Career Ctr. at 178 Industrial Drive Northampton.
Please contact Charlotte Lee, Employment Director at 413-750-2092 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

NORTHWESTERN DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S CONSUMER PROTECTION DIVISION

If you or someone you know in Hampshire or Franklin County has a consumer problem or questions, please contact the Northwestern District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Division:  (413) 774-3186 Greenfield (413) 586-9225 Northampton northwesternda.org.  Working in cooperation with the Attorney General’s Office.

HAMPSHIRE ELDER LAW PROGRAM
Hampshire Elder Law Program (H.E.L.P.) is a program administered by the Hampshire County Bar Association. H.E.L.P.’s mission is to meet the civil legal needs of low income elders in Hampshire County. Civil Legal services provided include: bankruptcy, consumer protection, Divorce, guardianship, Health Care Proxies, Powers of Attorney, Probate of Estates, wills and other elder matters.
Eligibility Requirements:
•    Must be 60 years of age and older
•    A Hampshire County resident
•    Low income
•    In need of Legal Assistance
•    Unable to hire an attorney
If you meet eligibility requirements, you will be referred to one of their attorney's for assistance. Contact H.E.L.P. at (413) 586-8729