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How did the Senior Solutions Memory Cafe kickoff go on May 18? “It was like magic!” says volunteer manager Vicki Mastroianni.

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How did the Senior Solutions Memory Cafe kickoff go on May 18?

“It was like magic!” says volunteer manager Vicki Mastroianni. The Brattleboro American Legion graciously hosted 25 people from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and their hospitality made everyone feel like royalty. Senior Solutions volunteers included Elizabeth Cole and Laurentia Batchelder, plus community volunteers the Rev. Janice Chilek and Brattleboro Hospice Program Manager Patty Dunn.

Everyone was able to mix and mingle in this nonjudgmental and welcoming atmosphere. People soon became fast friends. The American Legion space was large enough to set aside one area for caregivers and another for their loved ones.

According to Mastroianni, “Patty did a fantastic, warm and engaging job as the support group leader.” Batchelder organized lots of activities, including coloring, singing to Chilek’s guitar playing, and playing cards. Volunteer visitor staffers Patti Crimmin-Greenan and Susan Triplett, along with volunteer Elizabeth Cole, circulated to make sure everyone was having fun. Unfortunately, Valerie Stuart, who is a big part of the Volunteer Visitor Team, could not attend. Everyone contributed to the success of this special day, Mastroianni said.

The event ended with a delicious light lunch, but nobody really seemed ready to leave. One caregiver was overheard saying that she sometimes felt alone and another one said, “You’re not alone anymore!”

Again, many thanks to the American Legion in Brattleboro for their wonderful hospitality. To learn more about the Memory Clinic program and what is being planned in Springfield for June, and in the Upper Valley, as well, go to our website at seniorsolutionsvt.org. While you’re online, sign up for our monthly newsletter that is sent via email.

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New-to-Medicare Zoom classes

The New to Medicare Zoom classes are being held once a month. If you or a loved one will become eligible for the federal program this coming year, you will want to take the class and learn the many choices you will need to make when selecting your Medicare plan. We do not charge for the class, nor do we sell any Medicare products. We want to educate everyone about what is involved and how to understand the system. You will be able to select a plan to suit your medical situation and your financial profile. Feel free to ask questions and even schedule a follow-up phone appointment with our Medicare team. Don’t wait until the open enrollment date to start planning. Open enrollment is from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Be ready to sign up and be an informed consumer. Get more information from our website.

West River 100% Campaign

Jamaica, Townshend and Wardsboro had been holding drop-in sessions at a variety of locations, assisting residents to complete Seasonal Heating Fuel Assistance and 3SquaresVT food benefit applications. The final session took place on May 27 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the West Townshend Farmers’ Market. Stay tuned for additional 100% Community Campaigns.

If you missed these sessions, call our HelpLine at 802-885-2669 or toll free at 866-673-8376, and ask about these benefits for those of us who are 60 and older or disabled. Sadly, more than 60 percent of us who are eligible for the food and fuel benefits do not participate in the programs. With the current inflation rate, that means we are leaving a lot of money in the federal government’s bank account.

Joann Erenhouse is the community relations director for Senior Solutions, the Council on Aging for Southeastern Vermont.