Committed To Becoming More Age-Friendly
Lawrence United States of America
The Lawrence Senior Center is the focal point for programs and services targeted for older adults. It provides health and social services, information, referral and counseling, nutritious meals, recreation and educational activities, transportation and special trips, legal and housing services and opportunities to participate in intergenerational activities, volunteer on committees, teach classes and perform clerical and other center related functions. Program delivery is adapted to the cultural landscape: programs are often offered in Spanish and there is also and Asian Outreach worker for elders who speak Chinese and other Asian languages.
Specific programs and services the Lawrence Senior Center provides include:
FOOD: 1) Farmer’s Market Senior Coupons, 2) A brown bag program in collaboration with the Boston Food Bank distributing a free bag of healthy groceries to eligible seniors once a month, 3) A cooking group where elders and Veterans cook foods received from the brown bag program, 4) Congregate meal site providing culturally appropriate lunches for elders;
HEALTH: 1) Exercise classes for those age 18 and older integrating culturally appropriate themes, 2) Foot clinics in partnership with Home Health VNA, 3) Aroma de Café for Seniors with Alzheimers and their caregivers, 4) Chronic Disease Self-Management classes;
EDUCATION: 1) Classes in English, Citizenship, Grammar, Painting, Sewing, and Computers
LEGAL SERVICES: In collaboration with Merrimack Valley Legal Services.
The Senior Center also assists elders with health insurance, RMV forms, medical transportation and provides notary services. They host intergenerational events such as a grandparent/grandchildren event and a community Senior Day on the Lawrence Common.
Besides the programs offered at the Senior Center, other departments in the city have adopted policies that benefit Lawrence’s older population. Lawrence has passed a Healthy Active Living Resolution in 2014 and a Complete Streets Policy in 2015 aimed at promoting age-friendly health and transportation initiatives. The City has recently been awarded a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant to complete a comprehensive baseline assessment of vulnerabilities due to climate change and develop prioritized actions to create more resiliency. The voice of elders will be a key component of this assessment since elders are a vulnerable population particularly affected by high heat days and heat stress.
Lawrence is fortunate to have an exceptionally capable and committed nonprofit community that provide key services for older adults. Some of these organizations include:
Catholic Charities: Basic Needs, Counseling, Family Support Services, Food Pantry, Grandparents as Parents
Greater Lawrence Family Health Center: Primary Healthcare; Behavioral health and substance use treatment; healthcare for homeless; healthy living and community programs; pharmacy services
Holy Family Hospital: Full range of inpatient, outpatient and specialty healthcare services. Home Health VNA: Home medical care and supportive services
Lawrence General Hospital: Regional health care system providing comprehensive healthcare services. Lawrence Housing Authority: Public affordable housing for seniors/ disabled individuals.
Merrimack Valley Elder Services: Home care services; information and referral; behavioral health services; family caregiver support; healthy living programs; housing options; meals on wheels; protective services; health insurance counseling
Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority: Affordable public transportation, ADA accessible, lift equipped vehicles, specialty services to hospitals for access to medical appointments.
These organizations are members of the MHTF and have a strong history of collaboration to improve the quality of life for our residents. Members of these organizations and senior residents will be active on the Lawrence’s Age-Friendly City Workgroup, responsible for bringing the Mayors Resolution to be an
Age Friendly City into action. The working group will conduct an “age friendly” assessment of city and then use the information to influence the improvement of existing programs as well as inform the development of additional services and policies.