Healthy Aging Task Force MV- April News
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Advocating to Empower Island Elders


Edgartown: April 14, 7pm
Oak Bluffs: April 14, 7 m 
Tisbury: April 14, 7pm 
West Tis: April 14, 7pm
Chilmark: April 27, 7:30 
Aquinnah: May 12, 7pm

Thinking Ahead About Care for Boomers
The majority of long-term services and supports are provided by family members. But the supply of family caregivers is unlikely to keep pace with future demand. What can we do now to create a roadmap of what the island will need for care of Boomers? The Aging of the Baby Boom and the Growing Care Gap”.
Creating a Healthier Community through Volunteering
The HATF Community Engagement group is looking to work with island organizations to create meaningful volunteer opportunities for active older adults. What programs would work in our community?

Visit this link to learn about a program that has transformed the Framingham area.
Get Your Mind Ticking! 
Are you looking for a way to clear the winter cobwebs from your mind? Check out ACE MV, Adult and Community Education's list of fantastic courses for the Spring. Visit their new site and catalog HERE.
The Vision Fellowship
We are fortunate to have many generous people who donate time, resources and funds to enrich and preserve the amazing island that we call home. The Martha's Vineyard Vision Fellowship, dedicated to encourage a healthy and vibrant future for the island, invests in promising individuals who demonstrate a commitment to the island and to the ideals of sustainability. Read more about the 2015 winners in the recent MV Times story HERE.  

Tips and Techniques  for the Senior Gardener
Its Spring!  Gardening provides a welcome sojourn in the natural world, a sanctuary and best yet, you get real 'fruit' from your labor! HATF found some helpful tips for modifying tools and gardening techniques that can make all the difference for the senior gardener.

And remember to check out what the folks at The Greenhouse of Martha's Vineyard (formerly COMSOG) are growing. We love how they love their plants!

Photo courtesy of the MV Times.

Sign up a friend.
Forward this HATF MV Newsletter or contact us at to sign new folks up
What Town do you live in? Tell us more about yourself HERE.
Healthy Aging Task Force (HATF), a sub-committee of the Dukes County Health Council
to support
FIRST STOP & My Senior Center

Healthy Aging Task Force are preparing for the Town Meeting by talking to people about two important items on the Town Meeting warrant — First Stop and MySeniorCenter.  

If approved by voters in all island towns, First Stop will be an Information and Referral website for elders, staffed by a real live human being (5 days a week, 7 hours a day), to provide comprehensive information for island elders,  their families, caregivers on and off-island, and island service providers. Designed to close the current information gap, it will help elders get the information they need about everything from assisted living, home and respite care, geriatric assessments, and ramps, to home repair, transportation, and wellness programs.

My Senior Center is cutting edge digital technology to strengthen COAs, saving staff time and enabling COA members to sign up from home for a broad range of activities all over the island.  Neither of these programs duplicates any other source of information currently available, and First Stop has been recommended by several years of Rural Scholars’ reports.  

The articles are slightly different for each town, so check the local newspapers and refer to the article numbers below for reference.

The overall goals of HATF Town Meeting campaign are:
First Stop - to urge the towns to commit to a badly needed, comprehensive, and staffed Islandwide information and referral website.
My Senior Center - to increase the Island’s Councils On Aging (COAs) outreach and information gathering through the use of new technology.

We believe that town funding of these two programs will help meet the needs of the Island’s growing elder population.
The good news is that the HATF has been granted funds via generous donation to cover ALL of the start-up costs for First Stop and My Senior Center -  IF the towns cover their share of the programs’ operating costs for fiscal year 2016.

However, ALL six towns must vote to fund FIRST STOP for the donation to kick in.

Please Vote YES on the Warrant Article:

Edgartown – 
Article 38 (First Stop), Article 39 (My Senior Center)
Oak Bluffs – 
Article 10 (First Stop), Article 11 (My Senior Center)
Tisbury – Article 10 
West Tisbury – Article 39 
Chilmark – Article 16 
Aquinnah – TBD 

The COA’s in Tisbury and Up Island included My Senior Center in their FY2016 budget. 

You can help by voting ‘YES’ on the above warrant article(s) in your town, even if you don’t need it…YET.

One in six people were over the age of 65 in 2010, in 2030 
this number will be one in three.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers  
Self-care education to help our family caregivers,
to better handle the unique challenges they face. 


Forty-three and a half million American adults are family caregivers for someone who is 50+ years of age and has one or more medical or disability challenges, while 14.9 million care for someone who has Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Initial research suggests that there are more than 1,000 people in our Island community who are daily taking care of, and making important decisions for, a family member or significant other.

Family caregivers frequently describe restriction of their own personal activities, and of social life, as a problem. They often feel they have no control over events, and the feeling of powerlessness has a significant negative impact on their physical and emotional health. Research studies find high rates of depression and anxiety among caregivers and increased vulnerability to health problems of their own.

 How can we take care of these caregivers?
Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a program of self-care education sessions providing a wealth of tools and strategies to help family caregivers better handle the unique challenges they face. The HATF has received a grant, under Title III of the Older Americans Act, to provide this program throughout 2015. 
Earlier this month, the HATF completed its first training of six people from Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, HopeHealth Hospice of Cape Cod, the HATF Caregiver Support Work Group, and Mass General Hospital’s FTD Caregiver Support Program. These six will now be able to lead up to four series of the six-session program during 2015, thus providing significant support to over 40 Island caregivers. 
“About the time the class began, I was at my wits’ end,” attested one caregiver. “The communication tools will work toward maintaining a better atmosphere and contribute to improved attitudes for both of us... It will never be easy, but it is easier than it was six weeks ago!” - Powerful Tools for Caregiver participant 

There is currently no charge to the Caregiver to attend the series, which includes a copy of The Caregiver Handbook.
For more information about the program, ask at your local council on aging, contact Kathleen Samways at

Watch a video about Powerful Tools for Caregivers HERE.

The HATF thanks the Mansion House for donating rooms for the Powerful Tools for Caregivers teacher trainees.