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2021 is opening with new opportunities for Senior Solutions’ volunteers. Delivering new reassurance contacts with our Volunteer Visitor Program recipients is helping our volunteers initiate new protocols.

COVID-19 challenges have caused volunteers some anxious moments because they miss the routines of seeing their visitor partners in person. We all feel the need for companionship. In place of the important face to face visits, we are now doing phone visits, plus doing shopping and other errands. This helps fill the void. Our volunteers want to be busy. We have responded by finding ways to lend laptops and other devices to the individuals the Volunteer Visitors serve so that they can have Zoom get togethers, complete needed telehealth conferences and connect with loved ones. Aside from having virtual visits, the volunteers may be able to tutor some aging Vermonters on the techniques in using these devices.

Meanwhile, we are developing other ways to help volunteers connect with those isolated older Vermonters who are feeling isolated and lonely. So, if you are 60 or older and could use a good friend to talk with, give our Help Line a call at 802-885-2669 and request a Friendly Visitor. We also have a Vet to Vet Visitor Program. If you have served in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, you can call our HelpLine and either volunteer as a visitor or ask about getting a visitor. Our volunteers want to be busy! Let us connect you.

We have a Medicare Boot Camp Update for you. The upcoming virtual Boot Camp sessions are scheduled for Jan. 14 at 2 p.m., Feb. 18 at 2 p.m., March 11 at 11 a.m., and April 18 at 10 a.m. Call the help Line at 802-885-2669 to register. Give your email address so the link to the selected session can be emailed to you. These classes are important for anyone who will become eligible for Medicare. You will receive sound information that can help you select the best plan for your needs and budget. We do not sell or tell you what to choose. We provide expert information to make you an informed consumer. If you are helping someone in your family understand Medicare please call and register for yourself as well. All services we provide are free of charge.

The Moore Free Library in Newfane is busy conducting an Oral History Project. The project is funded through a grant from the Institute of Library and Museum Services. Community Memory Volunteers are collecting interview recordings from individuals who have lived in the Newfane, Williamsville, South Newfane and Brookline, Vt. communities. These life stories give insight into the regional history and provide personal glimpses into history. Due to COVID-19, many of these conversations must take place over the phone. They are recorded and downloaded into the data base for future reference at the Moore Free Library. Future generations will be able listen to what life was like for so many of their neighbors, old friends, and relatives. To find out more about the project and listen to a few of the collected interviews go to communitymemory.moorefreelibrary.org/ and if you have any memories you would like to share, contact the Moore Free Library at 802-365-7948.

If you are over 60 you may qualify for 3Squares nutrition benefits. Call us at 802-885-2669 and find out. We all are finding that making our budgets stretch is becoming more challenging. You don’t want to leave money on the table that has been set aside to help you maintain your health and good nutrition.

Our Executive Director, Carol Stamatakis, will be interviewed this month on BCTV. You can Google or go to Brattleboro Community Television and search: “Keeping Up With Senior Solutions” to view several of our programs. Our Social Services Director, Mark Boutwell, was our latest interview. He provided a very informative amount of information that Jim and I enjoyed and found very useful to aging Vermonters!

Please remember that Senior Solutions can assist you on finding ways to Boost Your Budget through National Council on Aging (NCOA) benefits. Call the HelpLine at 802-885-2669 and ask about the many ways we can help you find resources. Whether you need fuel assistance, medical insurance, prescription subsidies, nutrition programs like Meals on Wheels or 3SquaresVT, help with caregiving issues, general health related problems, or just a question. We have access to many answers for your questions. We need you to contact and ask so we can find the ways to help you. There are many federal programs that are fully funded and it would be a shame if our aging population just didn’t know about them and they went to waste.

Our Vermont Legislature is returning for the new session and we need to help them define the issues they hope to solve. Please contact your local representatives and senators who are very responsive and like to know what their constituents are concerned about. Senator Becca Balint recently attended our virtual Advisory Council meeting. She represents Windham County and is slated to become the Senate President Pro-Tem. We wish her and all our legislators well in the new year which promises to keep them very busy!

Stay safe, keep warm, and know that Senior Solutions is here to work with you as we all move into 2021.

Joann Erenhouse, Esq., is the community relations director for Senior Solutions.


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