Town of Brewster, Massachusetts

Council on Aging

Section II - Human Services: 5411 Council on Aging

Mission Statement

The Council on Aging supports and advocates for older adults and their families by providing programs, services and resources that promote independent living and quality of life.

Accomplishments for FY2022

Consistent with the COA 5 Year Age-Friendly Action Plan, the Staff and the Board collaborated to develop a wide range of programs that would be of interest to Brewster’s diverse population of older residents. Program presenters were drawn from Brewster and across the Cape, Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands, and several state agencies. When it became clear that the COA building would remain closed or later open with restrictions, the format and presentation of these programs was adapted to be offered by ZOOM, on Brewster Channel 18 or Channel 99, or in-person when possible. Programs were offered in the following areas and represent a significant expansion of programs and services compared to prior years. The full-time Program Coordinator position made this possible.

Exercise and Physical Fitness

  • Keep Movin!
  • Qi Gong
  • Tai Chi – advanced and beginner levels
  • Senior Fitness Hour: varied fitness and chair fitness classes
  • Yoga
  • Balance and Strength Training

Various Services

  • Geriatric Case Management
  • VNA Services
  • Long-term Care Ombudsman Program
  • Meals on Wheels and Senior Dining
  • Home Care Services

Health and Wellness

  • Fall Prevention and Cognitive Health
  • Homeopathy
  • Wise and Well Use of Medicines
  • Loss, Change, and Grief: Coping with the Holiday Blues
  • Meditation
  • Savvy Caregiver Program

Public Safety

  • Identity Theft and Fraud Prevention
  • Skimming Devices
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Shifting Gears – Driving Safety

Adult Education

  • Senior Technology Day offered by AT&T
  • From Poe to the Present: Talking Scary Stories
  • Becalmed and Homesick: The Heart of Scrimshaw
  • Love, Limits and Learning: Container Planting

The COA Staff continued to provide its ongoing services, including Outreach, S.H.I.N.E. (Serving Health Insurance Needs of the Elderly) and Introduction to Medicare program, medical rides and transportation as possible, medical equipment loans, banking assistance, computer classes, financial planning, legal help, assistance with federal and state tax returns, and food distribution. The COA hosted distribution of food collected by a local Homeowner’s Association, open to all Brewster residents, in March. When the building was closed, Staff planned and carried out a series of monthly drive-by events in the COA parking lot to remain in contact with those older residents who typically frequented the building as well as to attract others to what the COA offers. When the building was able to reopen, the Senior Dining Program through Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands was resumed, and a limited number of small group programs were resumed in-person.

The COA Director continued to participate on various Town committees, including the Drummer Boy Planning Committee, Wells Court Committee, All Citizen’s Access Committee and Cape C.O.A.S.T. (COA Serving Together).

Goals & Initiatives for FY2023

  • The COA Staff and Board will continue to implement those actions of the COA Age-Friendly Action Plan, either planned for FY23 or deferred from FY22 due to the COVID pandemic. All programs, services and activities will be in compliance with any COVID-related restrictions during FY23.
  • As the COA enters the final year of the current 5-year Action Plan, the COA Board will initiate the development of the Action Plan for FY 24-FY28. This will be a major undertaking that will require engagement with the Town and the community to ensure that planned initiatives are in line with plans for the recently acquired Sea Camps bayside and Long Ponds properties. In particular, the COA Staff and Board are invested in planning for a multigenerational community center, either at the bayside property or elsewhere in Town.
  • The COA will continue to work with the Barnstable County’s “Healthy Aging-Cape Cod” initiative to make Brewster an age-friendly community.
  • The COA will continue to cooperate with the Brewster Vision Planning Committee in their development of a Local Comprehensive Plan.
  • The COA will continue to work with the Town in hopes of moving our Senior Center to a re-purposed building or new construction Community Center.

Budget Highlights

  • The budget represents a $10,114 (2.70%) increase over the FY22 budget.
  • Personnel Services represents expected staffing levels in FY23, including contractual obligations.
  • Expenses are level funded.
  • Council on Aging has a formula grant which pays for some personnel, programming and expenses. Information regarding the formula grant is included in the supplemental budget information.