SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

March 17, 2014

Column: Economic struggles ahead for an aging population

(Continued)

Much like being diagnosed with a medical issue and taking prescribed medication on a regular and timely basis, so, too, must intervention and services be put in place early and regularly. Agencies serving seniors on the North Shore are recognizing an urgency toward planning for the social service needs of our oldest residents. Work is also being done on the state level. Last year Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law the establishment of the Elder Economic Security Commission, charged with submitting recommendations to improve the economic security of elders by June 30.

The good news is that there are already some community resources to mitigate hunger and to provide other basic needs for our older population. Individuals, faith communities and agencies are at the ready to respond. Beverly Bootstraps Food Pantry and summertime mobile farmers markets at senior housing units are just two of the ways seniors’ food needs are being met. At the Beverly Council on Aging and Senior Community Center, Seniorcare Inc. operates both a Meals on Wheels program and a congregate lunch site. Outreach workers at both Bootstraps and the Senior Center are able to help older adults complete SNAP (food stamps) applications, apply for fuel assistance and tax credits. Beverly churches also take turns offering a free evening meals every night of the week.

In Beverly, no senior need feel that he or she must endure the economic insecurity of aging. The classic Beatles line “I get by with a little help from my friends” promotes the idea that we are all better off with help from our friends. In our Beverly community, we can all work together to make a difference in the life of our elders. Please join our conversation and share your ideas for improving the “golden years” of our oldest citizens. Send your thoughts to sgabriel@beverlybootstraps.org and mholak@beverlyma.gov.

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MaryAnn Holak is the executive director of the Beverly Council on Aging and Senior Community Center. Sue Gabriel is the executive director of Beverly Bootstraps.

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