Council on Aging Update

Notes, Wednesday September 14th, 2022

The federal government announced the USPS program for free rapid tests ended Friday September 2. That means that you can no longer ask and have them mailed to you. Here’s hoping that’s a good sign.


The Baker-Polito Administration  announced plans to distribute 3.5 million free at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to municipalities to make available to residents across the Commonwealth. The new municipal distribution plan builds on the successful distribution of over 2 million rapid tests to municipalities earlier this spring. In addition to the rapid antigen tests, municipalities can also request essential PPE, including KN95, surgical and children’s masks. As we noted before, your COA has a supply here at the Harper Center. Happy to get you a test or a mask.

Here’s another bit of interesting news, the FDA recently took action to establish a new category of over-the-counter hearing aids, enabling consumers with perceived mild to moderate hearing impairment to purchase hearing aids directly from stores or online retailers. Available hearing aids should be in the stores in October. I’m sure that there will be more on this to follow. This is expected to lower the cost of hearing aids.

Got a cell phone? You may remember an event last year when we hosted a few Williams students who provided a tutorial for folks who wanted to learn more about their devices, cell phones, laptops and so on. We’ve been working with the College to arrange for something more ongoing and the great news is that we have succeeded! On the Williams side, two students, Monika and Abby have been working to gather tech interested students who are willing to be resources for us.This intergenerational program will bring seniors and college students together helping bridge the technology gap between generations.  Students will be available to spend about an hour with an elder here at Harper at a time and days TBD. They’ll be able to help you with navigating the various features of your own device; cell phones, laptops, tablets, and all sorts of electronic gear!  This program will allow you to gain confidence with your technology, but also create an intergenerational bond between you and a student. If you’re interested in participating in this great new program, you can contact us here at the COA, 413-458-8250.  We will need your name, phone number (for confirmation a day prior to class), and the device/technology you need help with. Makes sense right? We’ll get a formal start date posted very soon!

Just a reminder that we’re hosting a Wellness Fair next Friday from from 9:00 to 11:30 featuring  many local organizations you’ll recognize including RSVP, Williamstown Rural Lands, SVMC, Berkshire Orthopedics, ECU Health-the CHP van will be here and they’ll have Covid vaccines, boosters, the “new” booster as well as seasonal Flu shots including the Senior Shot. For this vaccine process it’s very helpful, but not required, that you call them at 413-528-0457 and let them know you’re coming.

If you miss this vaccine opportunity, the Berkshire Public Health Alliance will be here October 6th from 8:30-10:30 with lul and Covid vaccines. This clinic is open to all at no charge to individuals 6 months or older-children must be accompanied by an adult. More to follow!

On Saturday September 17th as part of Berkshires Art Week, the members of the Painting class will be hosting an Art Show at Harper from 1:00 to 4:00 and all are welcome to pop in, say hello and enjoy the art. Some of the works will be for sale so the opportunity to grab something new for your home walls will be here!

On Tuesday September 27th, Robin Putnam, Events & Outreach Manager, Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation will be here to talk about ID Theft and Fraud Prevention. There seems to be a renewed effort by “them” to get to your money and Robin has seen it all. It’s a “Lunch and Learn” opportunity, we’ll eat, she’ll talk. Noon. Menu; Spaghetti, meatballs and garlic bread. Maybe salad…

At 6:00 on the 29th we’re hosting a “Planning for Retirement” seminar with Greylock Federal Credit Union -the plan is to help folks visualize what retirement might look like for you from a financial and lifestyle perspective. Registration requested, call us at 413.458.8250.

Cooler at night lately isn’t it?


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