Brookline Community Aging Network September 2012 Newsletter
BrooklineCAN: Help your neighbors. Help yourself. Help your town.
September 2012 Newsletter 

About the Brookline
Community Aging Network

  • Enables older residents to remain independent and fully engaged in the life of the community
  • Builds intergenerational networks
  • Makes our town an even better place for all

Future Stories
  • Consumer Handbook
  • Estate Planning
  • Circuit Breaker Tax Credit

Don't forget to
patronize our discounters!

Dear Brookline Neighbor,

In this issue we review Brookline's remarkable range of transportation options, give you advance notice about an exciting BrooklineCAN forum on creativity -- and suggest one way to express your own. We tell you about reduced water bills for eligible elders, remind you about the first annual Brookline Day, list some great walks -- and much more. Please tell your friends about fact, forward this newsletter to them.

Never Too Late to Create
As we age, creative expression can improve overall health and quality of life. Exhibit A is a group of five Brookline residents who will share their arts and ideas at a panel discussion sponsored by BrooklineCAN on Thursday evening, October 18, at the Brookline Main Library. The free program -- It's Never Too Late to Create: The Vital Role of Arts as We Age -- will be moderated by Dr. Bennett Gurian, a musician, artist, and poet. Panelists will be photographer Riva Berkovitz; musician Anne Gamble; writer Harry Johnson; and musician/physical therapist Dr. Denise Lotufo. The evening begins with refreshments at 6:00 pm and continues with the discussion from 6:30 to 8:00. For more details see the Brookline Adult Education catalog, page 7.
Sponsored by BrooklineCAN, its founding members, Brookline Council on Aging, Center Communities of Brookline, Goddard House, and Jewish Family and Children's Service, in partnership with Brookline Adult and Community Education.

Water Bill Relief
Thanks in part to concerns expressed by BrooklineCAN, home owners aged 65 and older who are eligible for property-tax relief now automatically receive a 20 percent reduction in their water and sewer bill. We advocated for a discount when the MWRA changed its formula for computing water and sewer rates. The new rates had put a disproportionate burden on low income elders, who tend to be low-water users. The town grants some property tax relief to elders whose annual gross income is under $20,000 ($30,000 for married persons) and whose assets (excluding SSI allowance) are under $40,000 ($55,000 for marrieds). If you think you might be eligible for property tax relief (and therefore a reduction in your water bill too), contact the Assessor's Office at 617-730-2060.

Service Providers Group
BrooklineCAN has established the Service Providers Group, a networking opportunity for professionals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations whose focus is on serving the needs of older adults. Monthly meetings cover strategies for addressing these needs and also offer opportunities to form professional relationships and collaborations. Current members include geriatric care managers, elder law attorneys, real estate specialists, senior housing providers, home health providers, and mental health professionals. Annual membership dues is $100, with a $50 fee for additional members from a single business or organization. For information contact Karen Zweig,

Ways to Get There
The unfortunate increase in transit fares on July 1st has been burdensome to many older and disabled users of the T. And yet, despite these hardships, there are still few communities that offer older people the range of transportation options found in Brookline. Following is an overview. For more information on all of these services, see our website's Transportation page.
MBTA: Three subway lines and five T buses serve our town. Senior fares (up 23%) are now $1 for rapid transit and $.75 for a bus ride. More information at 617-222-3200.
The Elder Bus makes hourly circuits through town and the Longwood medical area. An optional contribution of $.50 is requested. More information at 617-730-2777.
Senior Center Van provides door-to-door service to the Center and back. Suggested donation is $1.00. More information at 617-730-2750.
BETS, the Brookline Elder Taxi System, offers discounted taxi coupons for income-eligible riders over 60. Users purchase $10 worth of taxi coupons for $5. More information at 617-730-2740.
The RIDE is the MBTA's program for people medically unable to use public transportation. Cost of this door-to-door transport has now doubled to $4 for a one-way trip (paid via an electronic account). For application requests, call 617-222-5123.
Independent Transportation Network (iTNGreater Boston): Personal drivers provide door-to-door service 24/7 in private sedans to any destination in the service area. Annual fee is $60; average ride costs $11. More information at 617-730-2777.

Low-Cost Medications
Pharmaceutical companies have long offered patient-assistance programs that provide low cost or free prescriptions to individuals unable to pay for their medications. But the application process can be cumbersome because each program has different eligibility and application requirements. Enter the Pharmacy Outreach Program of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. This program helps to screen individuals and facilitates the application process for benefits. To reach the MCPHS Outreach program call 1-866-633-1617. The following websites also provide information and applications:;;

Bracelet Tracks Wanderers
It is estimated that several hundred Brookline families have members prone to wandering off due to Alzheimer's, autism, or other diseases. A new system, HomeSafe, in which bracelets are worn by the wanderers has been launched by the Brookline Police Department in partnership with the Council on Aging and the Brookline Community Mental Health Center. When a bracelet wearer is reported missing, the police activate the system to find the person quickly. The cost of the bracelet and system is $30 a month, but a $20,000 contribution from the Hamilton Company Charitable Foundation will enable the town to provide financial assistance to families who cannot afford the fee. For more information, contact Lolita Gonsalvez-Alston at 617-277-8107.

First Annual Brookline Day
Sample the treats of Brookline restaurants, take your young friends up in a hot-air balloon (tethered, of course), or admire sidewalk art and face painting as you listen to live band music. All of this and much more is happening during the first annual Brookline Day at Larz Anderson Park, 15 Newton Street, Sunday, September 23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Among other offerings at this free event will be photo booths, a pie-eating contest, arts and crafts, and a chance to meet representatives from various Brookline service organizations and programs. More information at 617-730-2069 or visit here.

Hand-building Pottery Class
Acquire the skills to make ceramic pots and sculptural forms without using the potter's wheel, at Brookline's Feet of Clay Pottery collective, 21 Station Street. In an eight-week class on the basics of hand-building techniques, learn to make pinch pots, coils, and slabs and be introduced to glazing and surface decoration. Students should be 65 or older and either experienced or beginners. The class starts on Thursday, September 13, and costs $150. More information at 617-731-3262 or

Back to Work?
Whether for financial reasons, self-esteem, or the thrill of a new challenge, many mature workers find themselves back in the job market. A two-part program at the Senior Center should help these workers navigate the employment market. A Resume Writing Workshop on September 13, 1:00-3:00 p.m., will include tips on how to use on-line application systems. Back to Work Day, on October 18, 1:00-4:00 p.m., will cover job-search strategies in the current economy. For more information, contact Deidre Waxman, JOBS coordinator, at or 617-730-2767; or Anne Spangler, human resources consultant, at

Barney Frank at Fall Gala
The once-a-year, unforgettable, unmissable Senior Center benefit will honor retiring Congressman Barney Frank. Celebrate with music, dancing, camaraderie, delicious food, and entertainment. The date is October 24. The time is 6 p.m. The place is 93 Winchester Street. The cause, of course, is beyond worthwhile. To learn more visit here or call 617-730-2770.

Five Great Walks
Fall is a perfect season for walks. In the first three listed here, the gray-bearded guide/actor Gerry Wright assumes the persona of Frederick Law Olmsted and leads tours through the great architect's Emerald Necklace park system. Cost for each walk is $10. The schedule is as follows:

Olmsted Park, September 22. Tour includes a walk through woodlands filled with wildlife, around the park's three ponds, and across fields and meadows. Meet at Daisy Field parking area, Willow Pond Road (map here ).

Muddy River, September 29. Learn how Olmsted preserved this once polluted marshland; enjoy the area's brooks, ponds, and sculpted riverbanks. Meet at Longwood T stop (map here).

Jamaica Pond, October 6. During this stroll, learn why Olmsted believed the major task was to conserve the pond's pristine beauty. Meet at the boathouse, Jamaica Plain side (map here).
To register for any of the above walks or to obtain more information, see the Brookline Adult Education catalog, page 3, or call 617-730-2700.

Fisher Hill Neighborhood Tour, September 30. From 1:00 to 3:30, tour another of Olmsted's great design accomplishments, an area filled with magnificent late 19th and early 20th century homes. Tour guide Stephen Jerome, architectural and cultural historian, has arranged entry into one interior. Meet at corner of Beacon St. and Dean Rd., in front of All Saint's Parish (see map here). To register and get more information, see Brookline Adult Education catalog, page 39 or call 617-730-2700.

Walking Tour of Larz Anderson Park, offered four times: September 15, 29; October 6, 13 (10-11 a.m.). Explore the verdant rolling hills, the gardens, and greenhouses of this 64-acre estate, the former home of Larz & Isabel Anderson. (This walk is repeated on four Saturdays - on September 15 and 29, and on October 6 and 13.) Fee is $15, and $10 for seniors, students, and children. The park is at 15 Newton Street (see map). Pre-register via email at or phone 617-522-6547.

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Brookline Community Aging Network
93 Winchester Street
Brookline, Massachusetts 02446

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