Council on Aging Reelected, Hears Reports from Sr Center Leadership

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Franklin Council on Aging met at the Senior Center on Tuesday, Sept. 14, with few action items but many opportunities to discuss changing program landscape and policies driven by responses to Covid.

On the administrative side, Director Erin Rogers noted that Supportive Day Care will be back, initially with 6 individuals.

And, in general, she noted, most programs are back to normal, either entirely in person or in some kind of hybrid form. That, she noted, includes breakfast and lunch.

However, she noted, the summer had been challenging with some food items hard to procure and with variable participation. “On some of the very rainy days not a single person came,” she noted.

Rogers shared statistics from 2020 and 2021 which did show a definite recovery toward “normal” at the Senior Center.

Later, COA members discussed whether there was hesitancy among senior citizens regarding masks and vaccination status.

Chair Robert Crowley questioned whether more people might come if masks were required but several others in attendance indicated either that a mask mandate would keep them away or that a mandate would be on shaky legal grounds. While not a formal action, there seemed to be roughly equal numbers of council members inclined toward or against mask but a general agreement that giving people choice was the best policy for now. Additionally, it was acknowledged that dementia patients in the Sunshine Club would be difficult or impossible to mask.

One of the most important changes Rogers highlighted is the hiring of a public health nurse by the Health Department. “The town was finding that the Visiting Nurse Association was getting very expensive during Covid so they opted to hire a nurse instead. The nurse will serve the whole town but will normally be based at the Senior Center, she said.

Other news – there will be a flu clinic at the Senior Center during October.

The COA also voted unanimously to approve a slate of members proposed earlier in the summer, consisting of the existing COA personnel: Chair Robert Crowley, Vice-Chair Ron Higginbottom, Secretary Carolyn O’Brien and members Ken Norman, Janet Milici, Faith Flaherty, Janet Y. Jewett, Mary Hick, and Lester Quan.

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