Topics: Aging

After nearly 59 years of marriage, Louis and Diane Zinnanti of South Chatham still sparkle in each other’s company. “We’re very happy people,” Diane says. Sitting in their living room with a visitor, they reminisce about their family, their love of collecting and various jobs they’ve held. They fill in the details of each other’s stories and laugh a lot. Today happens to be Diane’s 81st birthday. She and Lo...

“It’s just a number,” Ella Lombard of Harwich says about one’s age. “It’s what you do with it.” Ella celebrated her 100th birthday on May 21. This remarkable woman lives at home with her pet pug and still drives herself to the grocery store and bank. She took up painting in her 70s when her niece tutored her; today, a quilt that she is sewing is spread over the dining room table. To date, she has completed 46 ...

CHATHAM – It doesn't take a close inspection to see the failings of the current senior center on Stony Hill Road. Originally built as a residence, its rooms and offices are small and lack privacy, a steep staircase leads to more constricted spaces on the second floor, it lacks an adequate ventilation system, and the building had to be shored up a few years ago because of structural problems. A decade ago, talk...

CHATHAM — Some of the services the town provides its older residents are there for all to see: senior luncheons, social events, classes and programs. But town officials have also been working behind the scenes to help the most vulnerable older adults, using a unique partnership that involves the COA, police, firefighters and public health workers. Speaking to the select board last week, Council on Aging Direct...

CHATHAM — John and Barbara Emison of Chatham met 78 years ago when they were both students at DePauw University. The world was torn apart by World War II when the 17-year-old freshman and the 20-year-old junior went on a blind date. “John’s good friend and my roommate wanted us to meet,” Barbara Emison, 95, recalled during a telephone interview last week. His friend and her roommate came up with a ruse beca...

Local COAs Help Seniors Get Through The Holidays

By: Debra Lawless

Nine months ago when the coronavirus pandemic began, few could have predicted that medical experts would recommend that families not travel or get together during the holidays to avoid spreading the virus. “For nine months we’ve been seeing increasing isolation,” says Emily Mitchell, director of the Harwich Council on Aging. “There’s no worse time to be isolated than at the holidays.” “This is hard, this is...

Firefighters, COA’s Work To Keep Seniors Safe At Home

By: Alan Pollock

It’s no secret that most seniors want to remain at home as they age, but it’s important to make sure that home continues to be a safe place as the years pass. To that end, local fire departments and councils on aging are collaborating to provide home safety assessments, even during the pandemic. In Chatham, the assessments are part of a community risk reduction program, and residents or concerned family member...

New Chatham Senior Center 'In Holding Pattern'

By: Tim Wood

Chatham seniors have been waiting more than a decade for a new senior center, watching patiently while other town departments get new, state-of-the-art facilities. Their turn was supposed to come this past spring, but because of the pandemic, they'll have to continue to be patient. “We're in kind of a holding pattern,” said council on aging chairman Barbara Segall. In the spring, selectmen postponed a number o...

William Nickerson Walker’s third spy novel, “Target Switzerland,” will be released later this month. In retirement, Walker, 82, is a prolific writer, an indefatigable golfer and an energetic vice president of the Nickerson Family Association, Inc. (NFA). In the past he was an international businessman and financier, diplomat, government official and partner in a large Wall Street law firm. Two years ago, Wa...

COA Making Adjustments To Address The Needs Of Seniors

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The council on aging, working with the Academic Public Health Volunteer Corps, will be reaching out to senior citizens to better understand their unmet needs. The COA has been functioning without a social services coordinator since April 24 when Susanna Keith resigned to take a new job closer to family in Maine. Because the town has a hiring freeze in place due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic...

The constant flow of information about COVID-19 over the past three months has led local councils on aging to daily changes requiring new ways of living, limiting activities and programs, closing buildings and dispersing staff and volunteers, and leading to readjustments in services and a rethinking of how to get things done. That is now being followed by a slow process of reopening that may continue for months. ...

The question of where the town’s new senior center should be built has been dragging on for so long that some seniors question if they will even be alive when the building is completed in two, three or more years. “Will I live that long?” asks Barbara Segall, who will turn 84 this summer. Segall chairs the town’s seven-member council on aging board. “We’ve been waiting 10 years for a facility.” Right now, t...

Council On Aging Chefs Know How To Keep Seniors Happy

By: Debra Lawless

“I just try to make them happy,” says Linda St. Pierre, the chef at the Harwich Senior Center. Lunches are served on a varying schedule at the Harwich, Chatham and Orleans Senior Centers and chefs in all three towns know how to keep the senior diners happy and healthy. St. Pierre has been cooking lunches and dinners at the Harwich Senior Center for 10 years now, and she knows many of the seniors by name as ...

Local COAs Are Front Line In Helping Seniors Cope With Holidays

By: Elizabeth Van Wye

The holidays are a time for celebration, for gathering with friends and family and making the most of our time together. At least, that's often the Hallmark version, complete with tinsel and trim and holiday cheer. What's the reality? For Mandi Speakman, director of the Chatham Council on Aging, people react to the holidays along a spectrum from "full-blown Santa's elves to those who find themselves severely d...

CHATHAM – The staff at Broad Reach Hospice and Palliative Care were well aware of Eugene “Gene” Peterson's background as a Navy and commercial airline pilot. When he expressed a desire to fly again, his care staff went into action. Susan Eenigenburg, the Hospice chaplain, social worker Jenna Good-Fantini and hospice nurse case manager Teri Reilly met with Administrator Carla Torres and told her about Peterson'...

If you have already seen “Wrinkles, the Musical,” why should you see the new performance opening Oct. 18 at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (WHAT)? Let us count the ways. First off, the cast of the new production is made up of professional equity actors between the ages of 60 and 80 who have performed on Broadway, in award-winning films and on TV. The actors have been nominated for and awarded Tony and ...