Local Councils on Aging: Champions of Economic Security and Community Outreach for Older Adults

Enjoying the comforts of home as we grow older is everyone’s goal, and it comes with economic challenges. The Council on Aging network is here to serve as a bridge to multiple resources. We seek to amplify the voices of seniors, envisioning a future where graceful aging thrives within our communities. Together, let’s bolster our support, imagine and create new tools to increase wellbeing, and foster connectivity that makes aging in place a reality for everyone.

- Hayley Wood

Economic Security & Outreach Manager, MCOA

Monthly Outreach Zoom meetings. 

  • July 11, Tim O’Reilly from Backyard ADUs will share his company’s experience with building accessory dwelling units in MA and discuss the various municipal rules that can limit or promote this means of creating more housing in the Commonwealth.
Other Outreach Meeting presenters in the coming months:
    • August: No Outreach Meeting
    • September 12, Greg Haig, Operation Able

Economic Security

The Massachusetts Councils on Aging (MCOA) actively supports Councils on Aging (COA) staff in promoting economic security and outreach for older adults through various initiatives and programs.

Here are some ways in which they assist:

  • Training and Education: MCOA provides training and educational resources to COA staff to enhance their knowledge and skills in economic security and outreach strategies. This may include workshops on financial literacy, benefits counseling, and effective outreach techniques.
  • Resource Allocation: MCOA allocates resources to support economic security programs, ensuring that COA staff have the necessary tools and funding to implement initiatives that enhance the financial well-being of older adults.
  • Networking Opportunities: MCOA facilitates networking opportunities for COA staff, allowing them to connect with other professionals in the field. This enables the exchange of ideas and best practices related to economic security and outreach.
  • Collaboration with Agencies: MCOA collaborates with relevant agencies and organizations to bring additional resources and expertise to COA staff. This collaborative effort helps in expanding outreach efforts and improving economic security programs.
  • Information Dissemination: MCOA acts as a central hub for information dissemination. We ensure that COA staff are informed about the latest programs, services, and policies related to economic security and outreach, enabling them to better assist older adults.
  • Grant Opportunities: MCOA may seek and provide information on available grants and funding opportunities that COA staff can leverage to enhance economic security initiatives and outreach programs.
  • Advocacy: MCOA advocates for policies that support economic security for older adults at the local, state, and federal levels. This advocacy helps create an environment that is conducive to the economic well-being of older adults, benefiting both staff and the individuals they serve.

Through these avenues, the Massachusetts Councils on Aging play a crucial role in empowering COA staff to address economic security challenges and expand outreach efforts for the aging population.

Affordable housing seeking

Tenancy preservation and legal services

Funding for Renovations and Modifications

Financial Relief for Homeowners

  • Reverse mortgages are mortgage loans for senior homeowners in which the mortgagor (the homeowner) is paid from their home equity, and repayment is due upon the sale of the home or the death of the resident mortgagor. The state both mandates counseling before taking out such a loan, and approves specific lenders.
  • Property Tax Deferral for Seniors: Call your local assessor’s office for details.

Reports, Guides, and Articles

Housing Older America’s Older Adults, 2023 by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Tips and Techniques for Supporting Residents with Mental Illness: A Guide for Staff in Housing Older Adults

Housing for Older Adults (currently on MCOA website under “Resource Tools)

SHINE Program in MA

SHINE stands for Serving Health Insurance Needs for Everyone. Trained and certified SHINE counselors work in sites all over the state to provide expert assistance to Medicare enrollees and to support people who are planning to enroll. Most Councils on Aging provide access to local SHINE Counselor volunteers year-round.


MassHealth is Massachusetts’ Medicaid program, providing health insurance programs to income- and asset-eligible people.

Are you…
unemployed for the first time in your life and experiencing self-doubt about the future
unemployed at just the wrong time [college tuition, equity line, child’s wedding debt]
under-employed and cobbling together several part–time jobs to make ends meet
retired, but unfulfilled in your retired lifestyle
retired, but not able to afford to be fully retired and need to work
trying to re-enter the workforce after a lengthy employment gap

Check out the Resources at
50+ Job Seekers in MA Statewide Networking Group

The Discovery Center for Civic Engagement is housed in the COA where people age 55 and older can meet (virtually or in person) with a Coach/Mentor called a Transition Navigator to discover how to engage with nonprofits, governmental agencies and others by using their skills and experience in social purpose work and reaping the benefits of living purposeful, active lives.

Discovering What’s Next (DWN) will support you and your COA in implementing and sustaining a Discovery Center by:

  • Conducting an Information Session to attract volunteer Transition Navigators and potential participants.
  • Conducting Discovery Seminars, i.e. Discover Your Purpose, Discover Your Encore
  • Conducting a 3-hour training session for new Transition Navigators and providing ongoing support
  • Providing Transition Navigators with a Discovery Toolkit full of tips, tools, and resources
  • Forming cohort groups so that COAs can share lessons learned, problem-solve and share best practices.
  • Meeting with participating COAs and Transition Navigators in person and virtually (online)
  • Sharing results of Discovery Center based on reports from each Transition Navigator.
  • Providing marketing support for local print and media sources.

Discovery Center Files

If you are interested in becoming a Discovery Center, please contact dguydan@gmail.com

Did You Know?

Almost 23% of Massachusetts residents are 60 or older (source: 2020 US Census) and nearly all of them would like to remain in their home communities as they continue to age. However, the high cost of living in the Commonwealth has led to the fact that “nearly 300,000 Massachusetts single or coupled residents aged 65 or older live with incomes below what it takes to cover essentials,” according to Jan E. Mutchler, Nidya Velasco Roldán, and Yan-Jhu Su, authors of “Living Below the Line: Economic Insecurity and Older Americans Insecurity in Massachusetts, 2022.”

Economic Security & Outreach

The US Senate Special Committee on Aging Publishes The Consequences of Clutter

Some may remember that in March of this year the US Senate’s Special Committee on Aging distributed an RFI, seeking written testimony from people with lived experience and other stakeholders on the effects of hoarding. Committee members have finished their report, and...

The Driving Conversation and Carless Cost Savings

It’s not unusual for Senior Center personnel to witness some visitor driving that makes them question whether or not the driver should still be behind the wheel.

When Pharmacies Don’t Recognize Medicare Savings Plan Drug Pricing

More Medicare-enrollees than ever are now eligible for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP), which covers the monthly $174.70 Medicare Part B premium, eliminates some co-payments for outpatient services, and provides a program called Extra Help that significantly lowers prescription drug prices.

But sometimes a pharmacist over-charges for drugs because the customer’s MSP enrollment status has not been updated in any of the systems they use in order to know what to charge.

Housing Consumer Education Centers in MA

If you’re working with a clients on a housing search or improving their housing stability because of a landlord conflict or other issue, staff members at Housing Consumer Education Centers might be able to assist.

MA Housing with Connections to PACE

Housing authorities and management companies are still the gatekeepers and in charge of tenant screening and selection, but learning how to place a client on a waiting list for specific PACE-set-aside units will increase options for PACE enrollees.


What is a Memory Café?

A memory café is a welcoming place for people with forgetfulness or other changes in their thinking and for their family and friends. Memory cafés meet at a variety of places including coffeehouses, museums, or community organizations.

Each memory café is different.

Some cafés invite guest artists, some offer education about memory changes, and some are just for relaxing and chatting. But all cafés share one goal: to help guests feel comfortable and to know that they are not alone.

Cafés are a place to talk with others who understand what you are going through, to forget about limitations and instead focus on strengths, to enjoy others’ company, and to explore something new.

Find out more through Beth Soltzberg at JF&CS:

Motion Picture Licensing

Movies at the Senior Center

The Massachusetts Councils on Aging (MCOA) has a long-standing working relationship with Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) to provide members with a discount on MPLC’s Umbrella License® which allows senior centers to play movies legally for activities and events.

Would your center like to schedule a senior matinée, holiday movie, or classic film festival? Senior centers that wish to play movies that are legally obtained, whether rented, purchased, or borrowed via DVD, downloaded, or through a streaming service, must have a public performance license to comply with the US Copyright Act. While noncompliance carries steep and significant penalties, it is equally important to program activities at your center legally and with integrity.

The MPLC Umbrella License is a simple and affordable copyright compliance solution. This annual license keeps you safe from the fines and embarrassment that a copyright violation can impose upon your center, and gives you low-cost access to a variety of titles from over 1,000 motion picture rightsholders, ranging from major Hollywood studios like Disney, Warner Bros., and Twentieth Century Fox, to independent and family friendly producers.

Our members can purchase an annual license from MPLC at a reduced rate of over 35% off the standard non-member rate.

If you currently show movies at your senior center or wish to start, you need the Umbrella License. Classic films, educational programs, holiday favorites, and movie matinées are all a click away with a public performance license from MPLC.  See the full list of studios affiliated with your license here.

To ensure copyright compliance at your senior center, simply complete the application provided in the custom brochure for MCOA members. For questions and additional information about MPLC’s simple and affordable license, please contact MPLC directly at (800) 462-8855 to take advantage of the MCOA member discount. If you are currently an MPLC license holder, there is no need to reapply; MPLC will send you a renewal license and invoice directly.

Obtaining the Umbrella License is a simple one-step process that will allow your seniors to enjoy Hollywood movies and give you legal peace of mind.

Download the brochure to see details on licensing.