In recent years the Northborough Housing Authority and other community agencies have made the Senior Center aware of a number of Chinese speaking older adults residing in Northborough. Individual situations may vary, but generally these older adults relocated to be closer to their children. Over the past couple years the Senior Center struggled to reach out to these older adults. Two English as Second Language (ESL) instructors, on separate occasions, led classes. The enthusiastic participants were enrolled with the help of their family members. Despite the benefits of these efforts: creating a connection between the Senior Center and family members, there were definite limitations. One of which was the limited availability of the ESL instructors. This it turns out was also an opportunity. Eileen
Palmer, an Algonquin High School faculty member supervising the Community Action Program, was already interfacing with the Senior Center. Approached about this situation, Eileen scheduled an opportunity for the older adults and students at ARHS, fluent in Chinese, to meet. This meeting occurred at the high school. The adults were transported by the Senior Center van and met with seven high school students. For ninety minutes the newly introduced older adults and the students, conversed easily. At least one student captured the moment with a picture on his cell phone and all the students committed to meeting
with the group again. It is not insignificant that one of the students was heard to say that he knew as in, first hand, what the older adults were going through since he moved here a few years ago and did not speak English himself. Subsequent meetings have been scheduled. The future of this effort is uncertain and yet it felt like a success.
Jocelyn Ehrhardt, MSW, Outreach Coordinator
Certified SHINE (Medicare) Volunteer Counselors Needed! Looking for a challenging volunteer opportunity? Do you enjoy learning about complex topics? Are
you good at analyzing and solving problems? Do you like to work with people? The SHINE program may be just what you are looking for! The SHINE program helps seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare to understand the many and increasingly complex insurance options available to them. The need for certified volunteers
to educate and provide unbiased information has never been greater. Through an intensive training program, SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Everyone)
Counselors become certified to explain health insurance options. They work one-on-one with Medicare beneficiaries to educate, answer questions, solve problems, and screen for low income programs that help with healthcare costs. SHINE Counselors are expected to work an average of 5-6 hours per week meeting with clients and doing necessary follow-up work. They generally counsel at Senior Centers or other public settings that have a private meeting space. SHINE Counselors must
also attend monthly meetings where they receive on-going training, support, and opportunities to share their experiences and concerns with other counselors. Knowledge of computers is required. SHINE Counselors are intelligent and dedicated individuals, who are truly making a difference in many people’s lives. This is a unique and wonderful volunteer opportunity for the right person. Please consider joining our dedicated team. The spring SHINE training will begin mid April
and run for two days per week over a six-week period. For more information about becoming a SHINE Counselor, call Dorene Nemeth, MetroWest Regional SHINE Director at 508-532-5980 x 4109. Bilingual, bicultural and minority individuals are encouraged to apply. SHINE is administered by the Massachusetts Executive
Office of Elder Affairs in partnership with Councils on Aging, Aging Services Access Points and other local agencies.
Date: February 4, 11, 18
Time: 9:00, 10:00, 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM
Counselor: Pauline O’Bray
SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) appointments are available with our SHINE Counselor, Pauline O’Bray. Please call the Senior Center at 508-393-5035 to schedule your appointment.