Senior Connection

Jul 31, 2015

Color Me Happy: Adult Coloring Books

By Jane Giuffrida

Coloring. Our first association with that word is children, because it is often an activity we did when we were younger. Recently however, a new phenomenon has people looking at coloring books in a new way. Adults have begun to take back out their old coloring materials for a peaceful activity, and a way to reduce stress. It has become such a popular trend that adult coloring books can be found in almost any retail bookstore, and definitely online at.  Some of these books have even topped bestseller lists.  While the books are available to purchase, there are many online templates that can be printed out for free, so there is no financial disincentive to try it out.

Adult coloring books are slightly different than the ones meant for children.  The designs in adult coloring books are more intricate than those typically found in books geared for the younger age group. They are targeted at utilizing both the creative and tactical parts of our brains.  The creative part comes from choosing the color scheme, and the tactical part comes from applying the colors to the drawing.  This is also the aspect that separates color books from doodles.  With a doodle drawing the person is passive in their actions and their mind can easily wander to other responsibilities or worries.  Whereas the coloring book keeps the focus on the drawing and allows the person a brief time of relief where all that matters is the drawing in front of you.

This activity can work well for both care givers and care recipients.  For the caregiver it can work to reduce their stress, and for the care recipient it can just be a pleasant, peaceful activity.  The caregiver can choose to color alone, or they could do it with their loved one, as an activity for them to do together.  The draw of adult coloring books extends beyond all ages, but to all creativity levels as well.  The pre-done shapes on the page make it less intimidating for someone to begin to create than if they were to stare at a blank page.  It allows for the more creative person to have a lot of freedom to do as they please, but does not exclude those who are not as imaginative.

While the act of physically coloring with markers, crayons or pencils is what we are used to, new technology brings about coloring in a different way. There are apps that allow you to color on your smartphone and tablet. It may seem unconventional, but some of the main benefits of coloring comes from just seeing and working with the colors themselves, not the writing utensils. Cool colors like blue, green and purple have a calming effect. Warm colors should be used when you are in a bad mood because red, orange and yellow are mood lifters. Bright colors are energizing, while pastels and light tints communicate softness and help to soothe the soul when maybe you have too much activity in your life. Dark colors have a relaxing effect and can be used to tone down an overactive mind.  For some people traditional paper and marker is what they will always prefer, but the existence of the apps allows for this activity to be easily taken on the go.

National Coloring Book Day is August 2nd so use it as an excuse to pick up those colored pencils you haven’t seen in a while, try this hobby, and relax! For more information or free downloadable samples go to

Source: Dowdle, Hillary. “50 Shades of Happy: The New Joy of Coloring.” Parade. N.p., 10 July 2015. Web. 

May 1, 2015

Living the Dream

By Robert P. Dwyer, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Executive Director1965 was a banner year in Lyndon Johnson’s dream of creating a “Great Society.” It was the year that Medicare and Medicaid were added into the Social Security Act, and it was also the year that the President signed the Older Americans Act. Together, these laws were aimed at attempting to lift up older Americans above the poverty level, give them some dignity, and reward them for the years of building our nation, taking hold of the post depression economy and turning it around.

In this year of 2015, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act, we see this act, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, under constant siege by legislators and others who view both entitlements and discretionary spending that help senior citizens, as spending gone awry. They are seen as money wasted, as cash spent frivolously.

We can’t deny that some entitlements especially are taken advantage of in an unscrupulous manner. Neither can we undo the reality that much of life has changed since 1965 with people living longer, and in many ways, healthier lives. With this we can call for reforms to stop the scamming of Medicaid and Medicare. We should discuss increasing the age of eligibility for programs under the Older Americans Act.

Yet we must admit that these laws have indeed helped the aged and poor. We must see that older people who are homebound do indeed receive nutrition, home care and other protective and crisis services because of these laws. Can we turn from the facts that older Americans find legal help when facing housing crises, or assistance in learning to live in their homes when blindness overtakes them? Should we remove help given to frail elders in nursing homes, to those who need guardians or simply help paying their bills?

Is it possible that we want to deny older people the right to live in their own homes and neighborhoods for as long as they are able?

The Older Americans Act helps to do all of these things. In its 50 years of existence, the seniors who have been helped are our history. In this, our time, the seniors that we help are our own parents and grandparents. And tomorrow, in our future, WE will be the ones struggling to live in dignity and hope.

We mustn't forget that while we are trying to solidify a nation’s economy for our children, neither can we afford to dismantle a system that has helped to make our nation a great and wonderful society that becomes also a birthright for our own children, and our children’s children. In all of this our generation has been given a legacy, a trust that we must bolster and even strengthen, to give to all those whom we leave behind. Let them have their time to “live the dream” of the Great Society.

Feb 27, 2015

FY 2016-2017 Older Americans Act Title III Funding Priorities and Request for Proposals

Contract Period: October 1, 2015 - September 30, 2016

The goal of Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging (CMAA) is to address the most critical needs of elders throughout the region.  Generally, preference will be given to applicants who are locally-based providers, collaborative proposals and to those that intend to serve the entire planning and service area.

Title III-B – Supportive Services

Access for Elders
a. Outreach and Interpretation programs targeting one or more of the following groups: minority and/or non-English speaking populations, rural, low-income, Native Americans, LGBT, elders with disabilities or Alzheimer’s and related dementias and their caregivers. Proposals should address areas and/or populations that are demonstrably without services, or are underserved.

b. Medical Transportation in areas where significant unmet need is clearly demonstrated. Proposals should include service to residents in more than one community whose residents would otherwise not have access to medical transportation and/or escorted transportation where necessary to access health care.

Crisis Intervention
Short term intensive counseling or problem solving assistance to help seniors deal with crisis situations

Emergency Home Repair
Repair and maintenance services for elders within the entire CMAA service area who are at risk from health and safety hazards or at risk of being homeless. Grant funds will be limited to providing the skilled labor required to make needed repairs and modifications with the expectation that homeowners or other resources will provide any required materials. CMAA wishes to contract for home repair services in:
  • Central and southern regions of the PSA
  • Northern region of the PSA.
Money Management for eligible seniors throughout the CMAA service area to provide financial counseling, checkbook balancing, bill paying and related services to elders in multiple communities.

Legal Services (mandated)/Guardianship
Includes help in obtaining or restoring public benefits, guardianship services, resolving housing problems or other appropriate concerns.

Long Term Ombudsman (mandated)
Volunteers and stipended staff serving nursing home residents by investigating and resolving complaints made by the residents, or on their behalf.

III-C – Nutrition Services.Regional congregate and home delivered meal services. Projects must meet federal regulations governing Nutrition Programs.

III-D – Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Services
Programs must be evidence-based and may focus on the prevention and mitigation of the effects of chronic disease (including osteoporosis, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease), depression, alcohol and substance abuse, as well as smoking cessation, weight loss and control, stress management, falls prevention, physical activity and improved nutrition.

Due to the upcoming change in the OAA definition of evidence-based, the program designs of IIID applicants must meet the current “highest-level” criteria, including ALL of the following specific requirements:
  • Demonstrated through evaluation to be effective for improving the health and wellbeing or reducing disease, disability and/or injury among older adults; and 
  • Proven effective with older adult population, using Experimental or Quasi-Experimental Design; and 
  • Research results published in a peer-review journal; and 
  • Fully translated in one or more community site(s); and 
  • Includes developed dissemination products that are available to the public. 
How to Determine if a Program Meets the Definition
There are two ways to determine if a program meets the definition (and therefore also meets our current highest-level criteria); either one is acceptable. 

  1. Document whether the program meets each of the 5 bullet points. If it does, then it can be supported with Title IIID funds. 
  2. Check to see whether the program is considered to be “evidence-based” by any operating division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If it is, then it can be supported with Title IIID funds. 
All programs that are considered “evidence-based” by any operating division of HHS will meet the definition. For example, this would include programs listed on:

SAMHSA: Learning Modules, a non-researcher’s guide to evidence-based program implementation and evaluation. Readiness for Dissemination, criteria for assessing an evidence-based program.

All grants that are awarded are subject to the following:
  • The terms of the contract with Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging.
  • Submission of monthly reports. 
  • Submission of a copy of the annual independent audit.
  • On-site visits or other monitoring activities by CMAA staff.
  • Submission of evidence showing appropriate liability insurance coverage. 
  • Provision of client data in conformance with the requirements of the National Aging Program Information System (NAPIS). 
  • A requirement that the total budget for any Title III program include a 15% non-federal in-kind/cash match.
  • Performance of CORI checks (Criminal Offender Record Information) for volunteers and program staff where required.
  • Submission of weather emergency/disaster plan.
  1. Submit monthly reports documenting program activities.
  2. Cooperate with periodic fiscal and programmatic monitoring. This includes making financial and client records available to the representatives of the Agency on Aging for these purposes.
  3. Have copies of affirmative action plans, personnel policies and client grievance procedures available for review by Agency on Aging staff.
  4. Develop and implement an appropriate client donation policy. The nature of this policy is to be determined in consultation with Agency on Aging staff.
  5. To develop and implement an annual internal evaluation or client satisfaction survey. The methodology to be employed in such required evaluations must meet with the approval of CMAA. In addition, upon completion, the results are to be provided to CMAA.
  6. Any organization which receives $25,000 or more in Title III funding must submit to CMAA the results of an independent audit in conformance with OMB Circular A-133 no later than thirteen (13) months after the close of the Provider's fiscal year. 
  7. All grantees will be required to report program statistics in a format compatible with the requirements of the NAPIS reporting system currently under development by EOEA. This may necessitate changes in agency record-keeping procedures or in agency computer capacity.
Please Note: All Title III contracts are cost reimbursement in nature.This means that each program incurs the cost of said program, then, on a monthly basis, invoices CMAA who in turn collates all invoices for transmission to the Department of Elder Affairs. DEA will then pay the invoices to CMAA, which then reimburses each program. The process may take 6 weeks to several months depending upon the activity in Boston.


  • In addition to the general RFP guidelines, selection criteria include, but are not limited to:
  • The applicant documents the need for the proposed program.
  • Demonstration that the program is an appropriate and cost-effective means of addressing the identified needs.
  • Clear description of program activities and the degree to which they are innovative and linked to specific outcomes.
  • The key people are capable of carrying out the program as described.
  • The evaluation plan is clearly outlined and provides appropriate measurement of the program outcomes.
  • The proposal indicates awareness of and coordination with other agencies/services.
  • The proposed program is financially feasible and the organization is financially viable.
  • The applicant conforms with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
  • Collaborative programs are encouraged (attach copies of any interagency agreements).


Applicants interested in applying for Title III funding must submit a letter of intent describing the intended program, how it addresses one or more of the funding priorities and how it conforms to the terms of this RFP (see attached instructions). The letter of intent must be received at the CMAA office by 3:00 PM, Monday, March 30, 2015.

Title III Bidder’s Meeting

An informational Title III Bidder’s Meeting will be held
3:00 PM, Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging
360 West Boylston Street
West Boylston MA 01583
All interested parties are encouraged to attend.

Letter of Intent

The Letter of Intent should be no more than 2-3 pages, and address the following:
  1. Purpose of the program
  2. Which of the priorities does the program address?
  3. Estimate the amount of Title III funding you will be seeking.
  4. Estimate the TOTAL amount of funding needed to run the program.
  5. What other funding sources will be providing money to run the program?
  6. How is the program intended to operate?
  7. What service area/towns do you expect to serve?
  8. A brief demonstration of the need for the targeted service(s).

N.B. IIID proposals should identify how they will meet evidence-based requirements.

Need can be demonstrated by reference to CMAA, local or existing program data** that shows an increase in demand or a high level of continuing demand for the service(s) the program intends to provide.
** appropriate data might include program service statistics, CMAA needs assessment data, data collected in specific local service areas, and other relevant sources.

All applicant letters of intent must be received at:

Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging
360 West Boylston Street
West Boylston MA 01583

no later than:
3:00 PM, Monday, March 30, 2015.

Should you have further questions, please contact John Belding, Director of Planning. 
phone: 508-852-5539 e-mail:

Jan 16, 2015

Heart of My Heart

By Patti Holm 

Before you were born, you were close to my heart.
I knew I loved you right from the start.
A priceless gift sent from above,
My heart was filled with new wonder and love.

The toddler years were really rough.
If you fell, would I catch you quick enough?
I held my breath while learned to crawl and walk.
How soon would it be before you could talk?

You continued to learn and grow.
As a teen, you liked to say, "I know, I know".
Teaching you to drive was a scary thing.
What adventures would this new freedom bring?

You went off to college and had a blast!
You became an adult awfully fast.
Now so mature and fully grown,
You have a nice young family of your own.

I've come to realize I need you to care for me now.
I don't even know if you'll know how.
Heart of my heart, I grew old too soon!
You may soon be feeding me with a spoon.

Heart of my heart, I love you mom more each day.
I've loved you more than words can say.
I'll take care of you mom, I know now,
You were the one who taught me how.

Don't worry mom, it will be alright.
Even if I have to stay through the night.
Heart of my heart, we're bonded together.
Your were always there for me.
Now I'm here for you - forever!


To Enhance The Quality Of Life For Area Seniors And Their Caregivers, The Central Massachusetts Agency On Aging Will Provide Leadership, Information And Resources, Coordination Of Services And Advocacy.