Letter to the Editor: An Autumn Message from Bedford’s Council on Aging Director

~ Submitted by Council on Aging Director Alison Cservenschi

October is my favorite month of the year. Students have settled into new school schedules and fall sports practices and games are underway. The leaves are changing beautifully and the hours of daylight are lessening (my least favorite part). I do enjoy that late afternoon orangey, sunset hue, and the warm feeling that it gives me.

Those evenings remind me of Halloween night and the anticipation of the children who celebrate. I have been so lucky to experience Halloween with my family as it is not something the British celebrate. Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th, is much bigger for England with bonfires and fireworks in recognition of the failed gunpowder plot of 1605.

The leaves change along with the season. However, what does not change is our commitment to you and our work for the community. Since reopening in June this year, we are now back to a somewhat normal schedule as you can see from page 8 Calendar page. Many of our programs have returned to their usual times and locations and some have changed or remained virtual. Staff and visitors have donned masks per Bedford’s indoor mask mandate and we are grateful.  Please see our ongoing program offerings, on page 9, to see where your favorite programs have landed. Saturday movies have been going well and fresh, popcorn is always a nice treat!

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Although our phones, emails, requests, and services are busy, in-person attendance at the COA is lower at this time. However, virtual classes have maintained popularity and attendance has remained steady. Before COVID we welcomed around 100 people per day. In September, last month, we received around 50 people per day including virtual, drive through & Saturday programs. I do understand the hesitancy considering the Delta variant and varying individual comfort levels. Other COAs in the local area also report the same response to in-person vs. alternative programming. I am glad we are able to offer various options and I am hopeful, as we move through the coming months, that more of you may feel comfortable to venture out and visit.

October is Global Diversity Awareness Month. In recognizing the rich diversity within our own community, myself, the COA Board and the Town’s Select Board are working towards improving diversity, equity, and inclusion. By inviting and welcoming people in, with varied cultures and customs, the Bedford COA works to be a welcoming place for all. We also receive backing for his work from the Massachusetts Councils on Aging. I am grateful for and welcome your ideas and suggestions to improve these efforts through our offerings. When people of varying backgrounds come together we all benefit from an opportunity to learn from each other, ask questions, and become enlightened as to the lives, and struggles, of others.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone who is participating in some way with our programs and services. Visiting the Fix-It-Shop, attending a seminar or class, talking with our Social Worker, arranging a medical ride or a Medicare/SHINE appointment is important to us. Thank you for keeping in touch and letting us know how you are doing. I continue to be most thankful for our dedicated volunteers, instructors, partners, supporters, donors and staff who have continued working together and supporting each other through COVID. I would like to wish you the best of the season. Stay well, enjoy the sunshine while it lasts and take care.

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