Town of Provincetown
FY 2024 Budget
Division 5: Public Services
541 Council on Aging
Since 1972, the Provincetown COA has been a welcoming resource and activity center for older adult residents and their families. Our mission is to promote positive, healthy aging and the well-being and independence of older persons by identifying their needs and interests, developing supportive programs, coordinating community services and advocating on their behalf. The Senior Center accomplishes this through the provision of:
- Programs: Classes, activities and special events in fitness, nutrition, wellness, education, creative arts, recreation, cultural outings, socialization.
- Services: Outreach, case management, info/referral, direct assistance and support services to clients in areas of cognitive/emotional/physical health, benefits assistance, housing, transportation, finances, legal and social services, family and caregiver support.
- Advocacy/Public Education: Advocacy is a key component of this work in ensuring that older residents have needed programs and services and access to them. The COA staff represent the Town, older adults and the Outer Cape region on several local and Cape Boards, advisory councils, and work groups in an effort to reach this goal. Public education is also critical to the COA mission with a focus on increasing awareness of the needs of older adults.
Participation at the Senior Center has grown steadily in the past decade, serving over 900 people and offering over 160 programs and services in 2019. In FY2020, we were well on our way to exceeding those numbers when the pandemic hit. Staff created a virtual Senior Center and in 2021, reopened to in-person programming while continuing to offer remote and hybrid options. During this entire time, essential services were delivered without interruption.
In the spring of 2022, we returned to full in-person programming with participation continuing to rise. As the year ends, the Center is approaching pre-pandemic numbers and it is anticipated that those numbers will be exceeded next year.
The economic challenges and rural location of Provincetown are especially difficult for older residents. The COA maintains very active outreach, transportation and nutrition programs to meet increasing demands. In addition, staff works closely with community agencies in serving residents with complex physical, cognitive, emotional and mental health needs.
With one of the smallest budgets in Town government, the COA staff has always managed to do a lot with a little. Given the fact that the number of residents 60+ now make up 50% of the population of Provincetown and it is projected that it will continue to climb, demand will continue to increase and budgetary needs will change accordingly.
The FY2024 budget for operating expenses has increased.
Operating Expenses: Given the anticipated pandemic-related economic impact on Town government, the FY2021 and FY2022 budgets were decreased. The FY2023 budget partially returned to pre-pandemic levels. The FY2024 budget completes that process and includes other increases reflecting the ongoing, significant growth of the numbers of older adult residents and increasing costs.
Major Accomplishments for FY 2022
- COA staff responded quickly and responsibly to ever-changing pandemic-related needs and demands throughout the year, transitioning from a virtual/hybrid Senior Center to a fully in-person Center, including social services as well as programming. Staff continued to follow pertinent protocols to ensure safety for a vulnerable population.
- Offered extremely active outreach services to meet complex, evolving needs and resource delivery models.
- Sustained critical medical transport and nutrition/food access programs. Resumed in-person dining in May after providing pick-up/delivery meals throughout the pandemic.
- Celebrated the 50th anniversary of the COA with a community event at the Senior Center attended by over 100 people.
- Provided additional services to older residents during weather events/power outages while representing their needs in town emergency planning.
- Managed the Senior Property Tax Work-Off Program in conjunction with the Assessor’s office.
- Fully implemented MySeniorCenter software system, including individual resident instruction, for program attendance and service delivery.
- Maintained strong partnerships with the COA Board and the Friends of the COA organization in working together to meet the COA mission.
FY 2024 Objectives
- Maintain commitment and flexibility in tailoring program/service needs through an ever-changing environment.
- Ongoing re-envisioning of future operations, objectives and mission of the Senior Center with staff and COA Board.
- Strengthen and re-define efforts to increase public awareness of COA programs and services through rebranding, publicity platforms, marketing materials.
- Develop volunteer recruitment strategies as availability decreases with loss of year-round residents.