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November 01, 2021 CVCOA 15 min read

November 2021 Newsletter

Recognize Family Caregivers

Fall Themes: Caregiver Support and Cyber Security

As we move into November, National Family Caregivers month, we celebrate and honor the work of family caregivers. Did you know President Biden recently proclaimed November 2021 as National Family Caregivers month? The President adds, "I encourage all Americans to reach out to those who provide care for their family members, friends, and neighbors in need, to honor and to thank them."

We second that, and would like to take a moment to recognize the work of family caregivers. Thank you for all you do!

If you are a caregiver, you may be interested in the Caregiver Action Network's Family Caregiver Toolbox, which includes resources, videos, and information, including community groups and agencies, for caregivers:

For more information about opportunities for caregivers and people with memory loss, please contact Barb Asen, Director of Family Caregiver Support at CVCOA, at [email protected] or visit for more information.


Technology Classes:

During the month of October, we focused on Cyber Security, sharing ways to keep ourselves and our communities empowered and safe online.  

We are excited to share a series of free and virtual group tech classes for older adults offered by our tech partner, Technology4Tomorrow. Here are a few upcoming sessions: 

November 10, 12 - 1:30 PM - Older Adults' Guide to Navigating the Digital World: In this class you will learn about the importance of digital media literacy, how you can evaluate digital media and be an informed media consumer.

November 24, 12 - 1:30 PM - How to Use Facebook, A Beginner's Guide for Older Adults: In this class you will learn about creating an account, posting pictures, searching for friends and other popular features.

December 8, 12 - 1:30 PM - Online Shopping Safety Tips for Older Adults: In this class you will learn about the steps you can take to protect yourself when shopping online.

Register for Technology4Tomorrow classes here:


Thanks to All who Made Together Again a Success!

We thank everyone who attended, donated to, and supported CVCOA's virtual benefit event, Together, Again!, on October 9th.

The event featured music, storytelling, special videos, messages from the CVCOA board and Executive Director, John Mandeville, and the presentation of a Community of Strength Award to CVCOA's partner mealsites for their dedication to serving older adults during this challenging time. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, mealsite directors and their teams, including many volunteers, continued services and rethought delivery methods, including new programs like "Grab and Go" Takeout Meal options to ensure older adults in Central Vermont continued to receive nutritious meals.

In addition, mealsites started or expanded Friendly Caller programs to check in on people when it was not safe to visit in person.

CVCOA recognizes these frontline workers often go unnoticed and unrecognized. On behalf of the entire CVCOA staff and board, we offer them sincere gratitude for protecting and serving the community during the pandemic and beyond. 

To show our gratitude, CVCOA will also be contributing funds raised from the Together Again! benefit event to help support wellness programs at our partner mealsites.


Memorable Times Online

Join us on Wednesday, December 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Zoom for our next Memorable Times Online, "Bringing Light." We will be sharing different ways folks have lightened up winter days. Fires and candles and lamps, oh my!

Contact Barb Asen at [email protected] or 802-476-2681 for the Zoom link or more information.

Memorable Times Online is a relaxed social time for people living with mild to moderate memory loss and their care partners. Sponsored by Central Vermont Council on Aging in partnership with ABLE Libraries of the state of Vermont.


3SquaresVT in a SNAP: A simpler way to get food assistance


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 in 3 Vermont residents has experienced hardships buying groceries. 3SquaresVT, Vermont’s name for the Federal program SNAP, provides monthly monetary benefits that help Vermont residents stretch their food budgets, ensuring everyone has enough nourishing food to eat.

Households in which everyone is either 60 and over or receive disability benefits may be eligible for 3Squares in a SNAP, a simpler application process that can enroll you in both food assistance and fuel assistance. Your benefits last for a period of three years before you need to enroll again, and there is no annual review process. You also have the choice whether to receive benefits on a Vermont EBT card or as cash deposited directly into your bank account.

To learn more about how you can benefit from 3SquaresVT, contact Michelle Mahikoa, Nutrition Outreach Specialist, at 802-479-7524 or [email protected].


This Weekend: Free Preview Performance of Aliceheimer's, a New Opera-in-Progress

A collaboration between Brookfield composer Erik Nielsen and Dana Walrath, author of the graphic novel Aliceheimer's: Through the Looking Glass, which documents the Walrath family's experience with Alzheimer's, brings a new opera to Vermont stages this weekend. 

Catch a free performance featuring soprano Mary Bonhag and pianist Allison Bruce Cerutti:

Saturday, November 6 @ 7 PM -  Montpelier Bethany Church, 115 Main St.

Sunday, November 7 @ 7 PM - Middlebury Town Hall Theater, 68 S. Pleasant St

Admission is free, though attendees must be masked and vaccinated, and donations can be made through the Monteverdi Music School. Find more information here:

CVCOA's Vehicle Donation Program makes donating your vehicle easy with a free pick-up and provides you with all the necessary paperwork for your tax-deductible gift.

To learn more, call 844-411-5768 or visit our easy vehicle donation page at:


Creative Care Kits Receive Honorable Mention in the Promising Practices Award from Mather Institute!

 After a successful and inspiring first year, CVCOA is expanding the Creative Care Kit project this fall and winter with the help of recently trained teaching artists through the Vermont Arts Council! This skills-based and social-centric creative home learning opportunity includes enough supplies, materials, and activities for kit recipients to practice and connect with others throughout the fall and winter months.

Working with local suppliers, Drawing Board and Capital Copy in Montpelier, CVCOA created two unique art supply kits for free distribution to Older Vermonters. Professional teaching artists developed the kit activities with creative aging best practices in mind. Kit recipients have the option of connecting with a Creative Companion volunteer who helps inspire and encourage the creative work. Some kit recipients are also receiving an iPad, individualized tech training, and internet service to help them share their creative work virtually with their volunteer or friends and family.

Creative Care Kits will be delivered before Thanksgiving and kit recipients will start to connect with volunteers and tech trainers in early December. Kit recipients and volunteers will also have the opportunity to participate in virtual group Zoom sessions with the teaching artists in December and February. CVCOA will showcase and honor the creative work of older adults in the spring during a community event focused on creative aging. 

The Mather Institute awarded CVCOA's Creative Care Kit project with an honorable mention in its 2021 Promising Practices Awards!

Organizations from around the continent working with older adults in a variety of settings sent submissions to the Mather Institute Promising Practices Award. Founded in 1941, Mather is a nondenominational not-for-profit organization based in Evanston, Illinois, that creates Ways to Age Well.

“The Promising Practices Award honors Central Vermont Council on Aging for providing high-quality, skills-based, and social-centric arts learning opportunities to homebound older adults,” said Cate O’Brien, PhD, AVP and Director, Mather Institute. “The awards honor true leaders in ideation and implementation. We hope these award-winning projects will serve as a catalyst for organizations across the country and around the world to spark innovation for their own programs.”

Read more in the Mather Institute Report:

A limited supply of Creative Care Kits is still available for older adults who are motivated and looking for a way to stay engaged and practice creative skills over the fall and winter months.

Please contact Luke Rackers, Director of Development and Communications, at [email protected] or 802-479-1953 for more information about signing up to receive a kit, volunteering to deliver kits, or applying to become a Creative Companion volunteer!


Medicare & You Workshops:

Medicare & You Workshops are offered regularly to help individuals who are new to the Medicare system. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CVCOA is offering Medicare & You sessions remotely using Zoom.

If you want to participate, pre-register by calling 802-479-0531 or by sending an email with your name, address, phone number, and the date of the workshop you would like to register for, to: [email protected]. We will then email you information on how to join the workshop session on Zoom.

Monday, November 15th, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 14th, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


 COVID-19 Vaccination

 Getting vaccinated is free, safe and easy. Plus, once vaccinated, you are helping to strengthen our communities—your families, your neighbors, and the guy at the post office. We can defeat COVID-19 by adding to the number of people vaccinated. 


Volunteer Opportunities!

Meals on Wheels Drivers Needed throughout Central Vermont:

Montpelier Senior Activity Center - FEAST Program:

Will be looking for new drivers starting in November for the re-opening of their kitchen and shift back to daily hot meal delivery. Drivers needed for all delivery days.

Mad River Valley Senior Center in Waitsfield:

How many drivers needed: 1 (regular)
Day(s) Needed: Every Thursday
Shift start and approximate end time:  11:00 AM (meal pickup) - 1:00 PM (approximate window to deliver ten meals)

Greater Randolph Senior Center:
How many drivers needed: 4 (regular, one day per week)
Day(s) Needed: M-Th
Shift start and approximate end time:  10:15 AM (meal pickup) - 12:00 PM (approximate window for one hour of driving)

City Hotel Cafe in Barre:

How many drivers needed: 3-5
Day(s) Needed: M-F
Shift start and approximate end time: 9:30 -11:00 AM

Waterbury Area Senior Center:

How many drivers needed: 2 (Regular), Several Substitutes
Day(s) Needed: Tuesdays and Fridays
Shift start and approximate end time: 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
*This site also seeks subs to drive on an as-needed basis when regular drivers are unavailable

Direct Service volunteer opportunities are also available including companionship, transportation, grocery shopping, friendly calling, organizing, and more! Learn more and apply online at


10-Digit Dialing Required Has Begun in Vermont! 

On July 16, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established 988 as the new, nationwide, easy-to-remember 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors.

Since October 24, 2021, consumers must dial 10-digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. Local calls dialed with only 7 digits may not be completed, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. Remember to update your speed-dial contacts, home security systems, and other emergency technology to reflect your 10-digit phone number!

Read the FCC Fact Sheet here: /uploads/files/988-fact-sheet.pdf


More on Phones: 3G Network Shutdowns May Affect Phone Functionality

News from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) states: "If your mobile phone is more than a few years old, you may need to upgrade your device before your mobile provider shuts down its 3G network, to avoid losing service." To make space for 5G networks, providers have been terminating older, 3G networks. Some older cell phones without 4G or 5G capability will not function when the 3G networks come down. Shutdowns have already begun and may be completed as early as January 1, 2022. 

Consult your mobile provider for information, as devices and dates vary by carrier. It is important to plan now to avoid losing connectivity, which includes the ability to dial 911. 

Volunteer Opportunity: Americorps Seniors

 Make giving back your second act! AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers bring their unique skillsets and experiences to help people and communities thrive.

AmeriCorps Seniors programs are open specifically to Americans age 55 and older. Help an older adult live independently when you join Senior Companions. Serve as a friend and companion by providing assistance and friendship to seniors who have difficulty with daily living tasks. The program aims to keep older adults independent longer, and provide respite to family caregivers.

To learn more about joining AmeriCorps Senior as a Senior Companion, contact: Sarah Semler, Director of Volunteer Services, at 802-476-0151 or [email protected].


Featured Mealsite: Waterbury Area Senior Center

There's a lot happening at the Waterbury Area Senior Center (WASC) this fall under the leadership of Vicki Brooker! In addition to congregate dining on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the Center has recently hosted two fall community events. In partnership with the Waterbury Historical Society, WASC took community members on a fall foliage ride through the backroads of Waterbury. And, last week WASC held its first fundraiser since before COVID with a Fall Craft Fair and Bake Sale, an effort that brought together board members, staff and volunteers. 

And that's not all! WASC has formed a new partnership with the VT Disaster Animal Relief Team, who will donate pet food to WASC for distribution to Meals on Wheels recipients who request it.

We celebrate the work at WASC and offer our gratitude for their innovations that encourage and support our community. Thank you, WASC board members, staff, and volunteers!

Visit the Waterbury Area Senior Center website here:

Take the Anti-Ageism Pledge Today

“I stand for a world without ageism, where all people of all ages are valued and respected. I acknowledge that ageism is harmful to me and others around me, and to our workforce, communities, and economy. I know that the struggle to eliminate ageism will not end with a pledge, and that I must act to transform my own bias, and the bias in our institutions and systems. I will speak out against the age injustices I see, call attention to ageist language and stereotypes, and educate myself, my family, friends, co-workers and peers about the importance of being actively anti-ageist and promoting age equity in all aspects of life.”

To take the pledge, visit:


CVCOA Welcomes New Staff

Catherine Clark:

We are excited to welcome Catherine Clark, who brings a strong background in bookkeeping and financial data processes as well as a creative side with a Masters in Theatre Studies to the RSVP Volunteer Program. Catherine will collect quantitative and qualitative data to tell the story of how volunteers make an impact on older Vermonters, both for the volunteers and the person receiving services. 

Anne Greshin:

We happily welcome our new RSVP Volunteer Coordinator, Anne Greshin, who has extensive experience working with community groups and recruiting and supporting volunteers. Her most recent endeavors have been: Pawsitive Pantry Board Member,  President and Spring Coordinator for Mad River Soccer Board as well as volunteer and grant contributor for Mad River Recreation District. Anne is excited to join our team by recruiting volunteers to serve older Vermonters.

Andrew Gribben:

We are thrilled that Andrew Gribben has joined us this week as a new Hybrid Case Manager.  Andrew most recently was the AmeriCorps member serving at Montpelier Senior Activity Center. He helped assist with the FEAST meal program and the new Montpelier Senior Activity Center  at Home volunteer program.

Leanne Hoppe:

We also welcome Leanne Hoppe to CVCOA as our new Development & Communications Assistant working with Luke Rackers. Leanne recently moved to Vermont this summer and is excited to join our team and support our mission to assist in telling CVCOA’s story.


Join Our Team: We are Hiring!

Hybrid Case Manager/Options Counselor (Multiple Openings, 40 hours / week): Based in our Barre Office, the Hybrid Case Manager/Options Counselor will work with older persons to remain in their homes through creative connections with state and community resources. We are looking for new team members who work well with others and can empathize with their needs, are comfortable with computers, are strong communicators and are enthusiastic to learn and grow as professionals. The successful applicant will also have the ability to work independently and as part of a team, reliable transportation, experience with data entry and a working knowledge of MS Office, Excel, Word and Outlook. Experience with senior populations and public benefits programs is preferred. To apply, please send resume and cover letter to [email protected] by November 15.

Views from the Road

 Sarah Semler, Director of Volunteer Services, shares this "View from the Road," of her daughter Molly's "cheesemakers" at the Von Trapp Farm.

Please note our offices will be closed on November 11, 2021 in observance of Veterans' Day. We thank and recognize all service members for their service.