When the doors shut in March, the Bedford Council on Aging (COA) quickly went to work on ways to keep Bedford seniors active and engaged. The first step was getting the staff up to speed with all the available technology and then teaching seniors how to use it. They invited participants to join them and educated residents on how to connect virtually with these new possibilities. The COA Connections newsletter has been the major communication tool as the COA developed their virtual programs with the community each month.
“We are so fortunate to have wonderful instructors and volunteers with the interest, ability, and space in their own homes to re-create exercise classes, social and special interest groups, and educational programs on Zoom. Every week we offer well attended Zumba, chair, floor, and Osteo Yoga, tai chi, and line dancing at no cost to the participant. If you think you are too old to join something like that, think again. The oldest participant logging in and engaging with us is 93,” says Alison Cservenschi, Director Bedford Council on Aging.
The online programs have become quite popular. There was an average of 400 and 500 visits per month once all programs were up and running. In fact, the programs were so popular that the COA was starting to run out of funds.
Alison turned to the Friends of the Bedford Council on Aging (FBCOA) for help which the FBCOA immediately supplied. In these challenging times, social interaction and activity are critical to everyone, especially our seniors.
The Bedford Council on Aging is a town government-run department, which means by law they cannot fundraise. Enter FBCOA. The Friends of the Bedford Council on Aging (FBCOA) was established as a private, non-profit 501c (3) organization over 20 years ago to financially support the programs and services of the Bedford Council on Aging (COA). It is entirely supported by donations and fundraising. The FBCOA has provided support for senior trips, socials, movies, and many programs that have been funded by donations. The FBCOA was a critical partner and chief funding source for the very popular memory cafe that helps seniors and caregivers dealing with dementia.
The FBCOA hopes to grow its membership and donations so that they can continue to help our seniors enjoy many activities. The dues are $5 per person and $7 per family – no age restriction. Join FBCOA and enjoy their many activities and discounts. To find out more about the FBCOA, contact Bobbie Ennis at (781) 275-6874 or email her at email@example.com, or you can donate by sending a check to the COA at Mudge Way, Bedford, MA 01730 (please put FBCOA in the memo line).