Council on Aging

The Shutesbury Council On Aging (COA) is dedicated to serving town residents 55 and over, their families and caregivers. 

Our meetings, currently on Zoom, are on the second Wednesday of every month from 5:30 to 7:00. Anyone is welcome to attend. The COA works with LifePath, our Area Agency on Aging, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs to provide older adults opportunities to live well in Shutesbury. Our town is also part of a new regional Network of Age-Friendly Communities (more details below).

Shutesbury is part of our region's Network of Age-Friendly Communities

Shutesbury has joined the Franklin County & North Quabbin Age-Friendly Communities Project. In collaboration with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, local Senior Centers, and Councils on Aging like ours, LifePath launched a survey in January 2022 for residents over 50 years old and caregivers of older adults. We are happy to report that 130 of the nearly 2000 responses LifePath received from across the region were from Shutesbury! The data will help our Network create an Age-Friendly Action Plan and apply for grants to improve conditions for people in Shutesbury and beyond.

Organized by LifePath and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, the network is part of the Global Age-Friendly Communities movement started more than a decade ago by the World Health Organization and administered in the United States by the AARP. Learn more here.  

Updates on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Boosters: Click here for the latest from Shutesbury's Board of Health on vaccination sites and more!

How to Be Prepared for a Medical Emergency:  Keep these documents on hand!  

ACT NOW to sign up for LifePath's Farm to Home Food Program!

LifePath will deliver free, farm-fresh produce, meats and dairy products valued at approximately $50 per month to older adults and individuals with disabilities in the LifePath catchment area, which includes Shutesbury! For more information about the program and how to apply, click here. LifePath is partnering with Mass Food Delivery, who sources their foods from local farms in the region. They will process the orders, box and deliver a monthly box of fresh foods to each individual’s door. 

Other LifePath Services

LifePath provides numerous Individual, home and community services that support Franklin County citizens 55 and over. If you have questions or need assistance, call their Information and  Referral number at 413-773-5555.

  • New! HomeShare Program LifePath's HomeShare Program was created to address the lack of affordable housing and the desire of older homeowners to remain in their homes. In the program, two or more individuals may share a home and expenses to their mutual benefit. Home Sharing is for people of all ages, incomes, and abilities. Home Sharers must be 60 years of age or older, or an individual with disabilities. Home Seekers could be anyone 18 years of age or older. The Sharer provides a safe, sanitary private bedroom and communal spaces in exchange for rent, help around the home or a combination of the two. For information, contact Cindy Spelman, Housing/Home Share Program Director, at 413-773-5555 or lifepathma.org.
  • LifePath offers help with Medicare, Medicaid, and MassHealth plans through the SHINE program (Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders).
  • Click here to sign up to receive The Good Life, LifePath's free weekly newsletter, in your email inbox.
  • LifePath's Vaccination Help Voicemail Line is committed to helping those who want a COVID-19 vaccine to access one. If you do not have access to the internet, need assistance with registering, need transportation to a vaccination site, or are unable to leave your home, call LifePath's vaccination help line at (413) 829-9285. 
  • Older Adult Home Modification Program  Community Action Pioneer Valley, partnering with LifePath, can help eligible, lower-income homeowners in Franklin and Hampshire Counties, age 62 or older, improve general home safety through no-cost modifications that reduce the risk of falling, increase accessibility, and improve the home's functional abilities. If you currently receive Fuel Assistance and could benefit from the installation of grab bars, railings, temporary ramps, tub/shower transfer benches, raised toilet seats with hand rails, and stair steps, call (413) 774-2310 Option 4,  email homerepairs@communityaction.us, or write to Community Action OAHMP, P.O. Box 1432, Greenfield, MA 01302.

Council on Aging Services & Upcoming Events

Co-sponsored with the M.N. Spear Memorial Library:

  • Weekly Gentle Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga, and Zumba Gold sessions on Zoom
  • Passes to the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and the Mass. Museum of Contemporary Art.

See the library's website for details.

Foot Clinic Visits   Now Open to New Clients!  Although the Council's monthly Foot Clinics in the Senior Lounge at Town Hall remain on hold, appointments in your home with a registered Food Care Specialist can be scheduled by leaving a message with the COA at 413-259-3796 or by emailing coa@shutesbury.org. The COA suggests clients donate toward the visit's cost; state grant funds will be used to cover the balance. This service is provided through FootCare By Nurses, LLC, a foot-care nurse staffing agency based in Greenfield. For more information about them, call them at 413-367-8369. 

Med Ride Program   During the COVID-19 period, this service remains suspended.  Med Ride is a free transportation program for for Shutesbury seniors age 55 and over who are unable to drive or have no means of transportation to medical and dental appointments. Seniors needing rides in Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties will be matched with local volunteer drivers. Drivers will wait for you during your appointment unless otherwise requested or arranged. Riders must be completely ambulatory; no walkers or wheelchairs can be accommodated. If a person needs assistance or is hesitant about going alone, they may be accompanied by a friend, relative or person of their choice. Call 413-259-3796 or email coa@shutesbury.org if you need a ride. Please provide two weeks notice.

Community Potluck Lunches   During the COVID-19 period, on hold for the time being. These monthly meet, greet, and eat lunches in the Senior Lounge at Town Hall have been held the first Tuesday of each month at noon. People of all ages are invited to come, with or without a dish. There has always enough food to go around.

 

Other Resources for Seniors

Local Meal and Grocery Programs

The Amherst Survival Center, at 138 Sunderland Rd. in North Amherst, serves a free lunch indoors from 12-2:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Lunch "to go" is also available at its shed those days from 12-3pm/ Call 413-549-3968.

Free groceries (10+ days' worth) for all household members of anyone in its service area, which includes Shutesbury, are also available from its Food Pantry. No income cap, ID or documentation required. Register and take food home the same day by going in person, phoning 413-549-3968 x109, or emailing pantry@amherstsurvival.org. Pre-packed groceries are also available; ask for details. Please bring your own bags! Pantry hours: Monday, Tuesday, Friday 12-3pm; Thursday 12-7pm; /Third Saturday of the month 9am-12pm.

Not Bread Alone at First Congregational Church of Amherst, 164 Main Street. Pick up lunch and supper takeout style behind the lower level of the church (enter from Spring Street). Supper: Wednesday 3:45-5:15pm. Lunch: Saturday and Sunday, 11:45am-1:15 pm.

Donated groceries are distributed on Saturday at 12:45pm.

Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, 121 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst. Free breakfasts every Wednesday, 8-10am. Ingredients are provided by Craig's Doors and cooked by volunteers.

Meals on Wheels from LifePath. Homebound individuals age 60 and older who are unable to prepare nutritionally balanced noon meals for themselves can receive them from LifePath, our local Area Agency on Aging. There's no charge for the meals, but financial donations are accepted. Volunteers deliver meals Monday-Friday. Call 800-732-4636. 

Shopping and delivery services also available. Volunteers with LifePath will provide these services in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region to people over age 60, people will physical illnesses or disabilities, or people who are immuno-compromised. Call 800-732-4636.

Massachusetts Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) All Shutesbury seniors who have SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) also have HIP, which allows them to get free fruits and vegetables at local farmers' markets, farm stands, and CSAs. HIP puts an extra $40-$80 on their EBT card each month for produce at eligible locations. With more farmers' markets and farm stands opening every day, now is the perfect time to learn about HIP!

Valley Eye Radio

This non-profit member of MAIN (Massachusetts Audio Information Network) covers Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties. Valley Eye Radio volunteers read aloud for broadcast from 30+ different local newspapers and other publications, including featured event recordings, free of charge to people who are blind, visually impaired, or who have difficulty in reading independently for themselves due to another disability or health condition. Call 413-747-7337 to request a specially tuned radio.

Local Property Tax Exemptions

Shutesbury provides property tax exemptions (reducing all or part of the taxes assessed for the fiscal year) to seniors who meet the specific requirements for them set by state laws. Click here for Shutesbury's Assessors Office web page, call 413-259-3790 or email assessor@shutesbury.org for more information.

Massachusetts Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP)

The objective of this program is to reach and educate Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, family members, caregivers, and professionals on how to address healthcare errors, fraud and abuse. Call 800-892-0890, or email info@masmp.org or help@masmp.org.

Village Neighbors

This non-profit member/volunteer-run organization helps adults 60 and older age in place in Shutesbury, Leverett, New Salem and Wendell by assisting with transportation, computers, small tasks at home, or friendly visits. Membership is free! To learn more, call 413-345-6894, write to Village Neighbors, P.O. Box 501, Shutesbury, MA 01072, or email generalinfo@villageneighbors.org.