Category Archives: Council on Aging

Praise for COA

Email received from renown Medfield basketball player Jerry Cianciolo –


An Open Letter to the Medfield Selectmen


It may be the best kept secret in Medfield.  Certainly to many under the age of 65 it’s something unknown.


But more than nine-hundred older people and their families who use the facility daily, weekly, or monthly will tell you what a gem the town has in The Center at Medfield.


As one who offers a workshop for those with a touch of gray, I’m familiar with senior centers throughout the area.  To their credit many are good, but only a handful are great. Ours falls into the latter category.


Walk into One Ice House Road, home to the Medfield Council on Aging, and what you feel at once is warmth.  There’s not a bureaucrat in sight.  Not only are you immediately at ease but intuitively you sense your needs will be addressed and your questions answered.  What permeates is an atmosphere of competence and conviviality.


What I find equally striking about The Center is the bustle inside.  I’ve visited senior centers in the early afternoon and found many to be strangely empty and quiet.  In Medfield it’s the opposite.  On any given day, The Center teems with exercise groups, enrichment classes, fashion shows, 12-piece swing bands, retirement seminars, ballroom dancing, card games, respite care activities, and a friendly gent or two eyeing the topography of a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle.


Many deserve credit for the success of The Center, among them Susan Bernstein, Cheryl Lavallee, Bill Pardi, Kathy Powers, and the unfailingly friendly receptionists at the front desk.


But it is director Roberta Lynch who is The Center’s fulcrum, the magnet that pulls everyone and everything together.  I’ve known Roberta for only a short time, but up-close I’ve observed her unerring instincts for hiring the right people, setting the perfect tone, and experimenting with different, even novel approaches.  All the while she makes the complexity of her job seem deceptively easy.


Oh yes, and Roberta listens.  Walk in The Center and you’ll find her door always open – whether you simply want to share a funny story or need a compassionate ear to help you navigate a crisis.


Many older people have a bias against senior centers.  I did.  But take a step or two into The Center at Medfield and you’ll have that notion completely dispelled.


Jerry Cianciolo

Minds in Motion Workshop




BoS on 9/22


Tuesday September 22, 2015 @ 7:00 PM

7:00 PM   Council on Aging, Roberta Lynch Director Discussion regarding FY17 budget

7:30 PM   Warrant Committee
Preliminary discussion for FY17 budgets

Storm shut downs

Mike Sullivan just called to update me on town plans in light of the storm and their conference call this morning with MEMA, and reports the following:

  • MEMA counseled that the strong winds are likely to be the major problem, as wind gusts are predicted to get reach 70 MPH, and with light fluffy snow there will be lots of drifting
  • NSTAR counsels that power outages should be reported to them, not the town, as calls to NSTAR are logged by its computer systems and algorithms to make its lists of what to fix first
  • Council on Aging, Medfield Park & Recreation Commission, and the Medfield Memorial Library have already announced that they will be closed both Tuesday and Wednesday
  • the schools will be letting people know their decision soon
  • we agreed to cancel the Board of Selectmen meeting for tomorrow evening

Please hunker down for the storm and keep safe.

On being a selectman

Board of Selectmen Meeting

When the selectmen meeting ended at 9PM on Tuesday evening, I walked over to the Bros. Marketplace, and despite learning that they had just closed (they were all cleaning up), they still let me buy a loaf of bread to make a meal out of.  The friendliness of that gesture, along with the tasty bread, won me over to being a customer.  Just as I find in my law practice, it is all about the customer service.

Medfield State Hospital

Meeting last night of the Negotiating Committee with DCAMM.  Again dinner after 9PM.

Arts Center

Jean Mineo came to my office hours in Straw Hat Park this morning, and laid out her plans to seek some sort of community arts center as part of the Medfield State Hospital site redevelopment.  She noted that the arts center in Maynard is cited by residents in that town as the thing in town of which they are most proud, and that the DeCordova in Lincoln in a signature feature of that town.  This concept got me really excited for the possibilities.

Jean said that she is also looking to identify all artists in town, so that they can start to communicate with one another, and perhaps collaborate in mutually beneficial ways.  If you are a Medfield artist, you should get in touch with Jean.


Housing for those Age 55+

Roberta Lynch, Director of the Council on Aging, came to my office hours at The Center to discuss her desire to build reasonably priced small single floor housing for those age 55 and over, near The Center on Ice House Road’s lot 3 and the Hinkley field land, to take advantage of the synergies that would be available from adjoining The Center.  We also discussed how housing for that age group has been talked about for the Medfield State Hospital site redevelopment, and that the Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee member (and housing developer), Ralph Costello, described at our Tuesday selectmen meeting when discussing that sort of housing that one gets to different price points by adjusting the density.  This concept also got me really excited for the possibilities.

Data on seniors

The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Data Report provides interesting data and especially maps of the data on senior citizens in Massachusetts.

Medfield’s data.


Medfield’s biggest variant from state numbers was about our low crime rates –

SAFETY                                               Medfield  State
Violent crime rate / 100,000 persons      58        428
Property crime rate / 100,000 persons  471     2,259


Council on Aging website

I needed to get the street address for The Center and so I just looked for it at the town’s website.  What I discovered was that the Council on Aging has its own really good website to which one links from the town’s website.  I like the functionality of the Council on Aging’s website much better than the town’s website – I find the town website’s structure both difficult to use and to find what I am looking to learn.

BoS 2/4 agenda

Board of Selectmen
Board or Committee
Town Hall, Chenery Meeting Room, 2nd floor Tuesday February 4, 2014 @ 7:00 PM


7:00 PM Council on Aging
Discussion regarding FY15 budget and Lot 3 on Ice House Road

7:20 PM Town Bylaw and Charter Review Committee
Discuss Town Meeting Warrant Article

Decision as to which articles to include in warrant
Discuss wishes to accept donation of land on Pine Street
Vote to approve meeting minutes of December 3, 2013 and January 7, 2014

Vote to close Annual Town Meeting Warrant

Vote to close March 10,2014 Special Town Meeting Warrant

The Memorial and Wheelock School Committee requests permission to post signs advertising the annual Winter Carnival to be held Saturday March 15, 2014


DEPARTMENT Council on Aging
ORGANIZATION CODE 01-541-1 AND 01-541-2

FY20l4 FY2015
Appropriation Request
TOTAL SALARIES (Include Longevity) $ 143,775 $ 154,359
TOTAL OPERATIONS $ 61,441 $ 61,440
TOTAL BUDGET $ 205,216 $ 215,799

The Medfield Council on Aging provides remarkable programs and services to the Medfield community. We not only work with the older adults but fmd that our scope with adult children caring for parents has grown enormously. We provide unique COA progrannning to meet the needs of the independent adults which include offering 13 different exercise programs during any given week at a small cost ranging from 0 to $5.  Educational programs are offered through video series, instructors or our guest presenters at our monthly breakfast or birthday celebrations. Social engagement is a priority as the effects of aging can be lonely and depressing. We offer regular scheduled activities, socials and trips to provide an avenue that promotes friendship and community. The Adult Respite Care Program (ARCP) offered through a grant from the Metro West Health Foundation (MWHF), is now in its second year and very successful. Meeting the needs of the frail elder with guided supervision and dedicated staff has proven to be a positive experience for the client, family and COA.

The Council on Aging has a limited paid staff comprised of full time (benefited) Director, fulltime (benefited, however currently declined) Transportation CoordinatorlBuilding Support, thirty (30) hour (benefited) Social Worker, (15 hour) Formula Grant paid Volunteer Coordinator, eighteen (18) hour MWHF grant paid ARCP Coordinator and eighteen (18) hour grant paid ARCP Activity Assistant.  The scope of what the COA provides can not always be described but can be experienced. I welcome the Warrant Committee members to stop into the Center and experience the energy, the support, the caring and the enthusiasm that permeates the building.

The budget being submitted includes an increase in hours for the Outreach Worker from 30 to 37.5 hours. This is already a benefited position and would only require an increase of approximately $8,490.30. The Outreach position provides information and  referral services, fuel and food stamp application assistance, identifying housing options for elders, support through individual counseling, along with facilitating a care-giver and a low-vision support group. The position works to identify potential clients for “The Club”, along with attending and support of any legal action as it relates to guardianship and evictions. The position provides support for individuals without family or with physical limitations and has escorted residents to Department of Transitional Assistance, Social Security and Probate Court. Cheryl Lavallee currently works more than her scheduled 30 hours, her case load is that of a 37.5 (full-time) position and I request that you approve the increase in hours for the Outreach position. As we are all aware, people are living longer and we are seeing the affects of that at the COA.

The total operating budget remains unchanged. We are fortunate to have the rental income that does help with some larger building needs. Most recently, the rental revenue covered the installation of key locks on two exterior doors and the replacement of ballasts, bulbs and cleaning of the large hall pendulum lights. Future maintenance projects will include the refinishing of the large hall floor, lawn reseeding and cleaning of the exterior of the building.