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Purpose & Responsibilities

Purpose

The Commission on Elder Affairs was established by local city ordinance in June 1970 and was known as the Council on Aging. In July of 1978 the ordinance was amended, changing the Council's name to Commission on Elder Affairs. In 1985 the City Council voted to make the Commission an Executive Office of the City Manager, although it still serves as the Council on Aging for the City of Worcester. The ordinance was again amended in 1998 to include the Senior Center initiative.

The Commission serves and operates under the jurisdiction of the City Manager who appoints each of the fifteen members and designates the Chairperson. Each member is a resident of the city and serves an appointed term of three years, not to exceed two full terms.

The purpose of the Commission is to improve and enhance life quality for elder residents by striving to ensure that all elder residents are afforded the opportunity to live a lifestyle based on independence, and to mature with dignity and security. To accomplish this purpose, it is the function of the Commission to advocate, plan, develop, coordinate, operate, fund and evaluate services for the elder citizens of Worcester.

Responsibilities

Under local mandate and Commission initiative, the following minimum responsibilities have been established. Elder Affairs shall:

  • Undertake activities, including the study and collection of facts and statistics necessary to identify problems and determine the total needs, resources and capabilities of the older population;
  • Involve and obtain the viewpoints of elders in the planning of services and development of policies;
  • Initiate and coordinate local efforts leading to the development of programs and services to meet the identified and self-expressed needs of the older population;
  • Make appropriate application for federal, state and other grant assistance for the funding of elder programs and services;
  • Monitor and evaluate all funded programs and services to ensure the effective and efficient meeting of elder needs;
  • Review and comment upon federal and state initiatives/legislation affecting the older population;
  • Cooperate with local, state or national organizations to promote activities designed to make government and other institutions more sensitive and responsive to the needs and concerns of elders;
  • Empower elders to undertake action on their own behalf;
  • Directly assist elder residents in obtaining services, benefits and related amenities which will improve or enhance their life quality.

The Commission carries out its responsibilities through the joint efforts of staff and committees. The membership of each committee consists of Commission members and community representatives. The standing committees are Budget, Health Resources, Housing, Senior Center and Marketing. From time to time ad hoc committees are appointed to study critical issues impacting older persons.

The City of Worcester is fortunate to have many fine community service providers who, through the years, have helped to meet the needs of the frail and more vulnerable elders in our community. Worcester opened its first focal point senior center in June 2000. It is located at 128 Providence Street on the corner of Winthrop and Providence Streets, the former St. Vincent Hospital Nurses' Residence. The Senior Center addresses the needs and interests of "well" elders in addition to those in need of assistance.

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