Wilmington Senior Center Sees 24% Year-To-Date Increase In Attendance; Touts New Intergenerational & Alzheimer’s Offerings

WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Elderly Services Director Terri Marciello and Case Manager Laura Pickett spoke with the Board of Selectmen about recent happenings at the Buzzell Senior Center.

24% Year-To-Date Increase In Attendance

“In a year’s time, we’ve seen around a 24% increase in activity at the Senior Center,” announced Marciello. “We’ve developed a few more programs…. And we keep pushing the fact that we’re a place where people can feel comfortable seeing their peers. The Center is just an easy place to hang out.”

Marciello noted that the Center now runs art classes on Thursday mornings in the Fourth of July Building due to space constraints. The Center has planned a Spaghetti & Meatball dinner on July 26 at 5pm, allowing seniors to grab a bite to eat prior to the Moving Wall’s Opening Night Ceremony at 7pm. The Center recently partnered with Panera Bread to distribute a meal for Wilmington homebound seniors. Additionally, the Center is running a special 5-week class on stress management this month.

Intergenerational Programs Also On The Rise

Marciello and her staff have placed an emphasis on intergenerational programming.

The Center received a $300 grant from the Massachusetts Council on Aging to promote exercise amongst seniors. As a result, the Center will be holding a Grandparents Day event on Sunday, September 9, from 1pm to 3pm, at Yentile Farm.

The Center’s popular knitting group — with more than 35 members — recently connected with the student knitting group from the North’s CARES after-school program.  Abundant Life students recently held a continental breakfast and concert for the Center. Eagle Scout candidate Zachary Dancewicz redesigned the Center’s attic to increase its storage capacity. Two Wilmington High School students designed the Center’s 2018 logo — Better Together — through a contest run by WHS Graphic Arts Teacher Jennifer Fidler.

Emphasis On Alzheimer’s & Dementia

Case Manager Laura Pickett noted that Wilmington seniors, like the rest of the county, are experiencing the issues of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. 1 in 10 Americans over 65 are suffering from Alzheimer’s, while 1 in 3 caregivers is age 65 and older.  The Center offers a Caregiver Support Group on the third Monday morning of the month, from 10:30am to noon. The meetings attract 8-12 participants.  The Center sponsored or co-sponsored two presentations on Alzheimer’s earlier this year, attracting 45 and 33 attendees.

“Over past year or so, we’ve begun developing a program called the Memory Cafe,” announced Pickett. “The Memory Cafes are welcoming space for those with memory loss and their caregivers. They provide an opportunity to socialize and participate in activities while making new friends in an accepting and welcoming environment.”

Selectmen & Town Manager React

“You have some amazing programs there,” said Selectmen Chair Kevin Caira. “That’s a wonderful program you’re starting with the Memory Cafe. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease that affects the whole family.”

“If my other gig doesn’t work, I’ll be at the Senior Center in a few years,” joked Selectman Mike McCoy. “You do an outstanding job and it’s means a lot of the community.”

“I can’t say that I’m surprised by the 24% increase. You’re always looking for new, innovative ways to provide services to the community,” said Selectman Greg Bendel. “The place is so vibrant. You’re always looking for ways to improve and to partner with the youth of the community. We appreciate what you do.”

“I’m continually impressed by how you grow the catalog of programs you offer,” said Selectman Jonathan Eaton. “You’ve increased participation and engagement in the community. You do such a wonderful job with limited space. Keep up the good work.”

“It’s amazing how you come up with creative ways to keep the seniors engaged,” said Selectman Ed Loud. “My mother-in-law has tried a couple of programs…. Everything you guys do is tremendous.”

“Terri is a master of coming up with different ways to the make environment over at the Senior Center inviting and friendly. In spite of space constraints, Terri and her staff continue to do great things,” said Town Manager Jeff Hull. “They’re constantly working inter-departmently with the Library, Recreation Department, Schools, Police and Fire. In fact, I don’t think there’s a department they don’t touch. They’re always seeking out new ways to work with other departments.”

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