The City of Chicopee established the Council on Aging in 1958 under MGL Chapter 40, Section 8B. The council consisted of local citizens & city officials. In 1974, the ordinance was changed to state that the Council be comprised of citizens of various ages & backgrounds. They were to be appointed by the mayor & confirmed by the City Council. As it stands today, these 15 individuals are strongly dedicated to the needs of our aging population.
The Senior Center's variety & diversity of programming have developed tremendously in the past decade. The underlying philosophy of all programming is a holistic approach to meet the physical, mental, & spiritual needs of the elder. The entire senior center is a wellness center.
Self help groups, special events, & inter-generational programs have resulted in many increased opportunities for older adults. Volunteers are recruited to serve in the center & in the community at large. This rich, varied approach has made the Senior Center & Council on Aging one of the premier centers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Wellness Health Center
The Wellness Health Center is staffed by two nurses who are available for one-on-one consultations, blood pressure checks, referrals, etc. The Wellness Health Center is currently open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The senior center’s newsletter is the RiverMills Reminder. It is published bimonthly and there are six editions each year. It contains all current and upcoming events and news from RiverMills Center. The Reminder can be picked up at RiverMills Center, City Hall, Chicopee Public Library, Chicopee Electric Light, St. Stanislaus, St. Anne’s, St. Rose de Lima, First Central Baptist Church, Polish National Credit Union, Trinity Health, Copperline Eatery, and other locations throughout the city.
Meal Site Program
RiverMills Center has two chefs who prepare weekday lunch meals for the center’s congregate meal site. All meals are homemade and cost $3.50. Meals include an entrée, milk, tea, coffee, water and dessert. Meals must be eaten at the meal site. There are no to-go meals from the congregate program. Reservations must be made at least a day in advance by calling or stopping by RiverMills Center. No same-day reservations are accepted. Meal cancellations must be received by 4 p.m. the day before. No-shows will be charged for a missed meal.
The lunch site opens its doors at 11 a.m. Lunch is served around 11:30 a.m. until Noon.
The café is open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It features an assortment of offerings, including a daily entrée, soups, panini sandwiches, pastries, breakfast sandwiches, fresh fruit, coffee, other beverages, and other goodies. Items are available to go. The sale of entrée items begins at 9 a.m. on a first come, first served basis.
Senior Companion Program
In 1988, the Senior Companion Program was started in conjunction with the Valley Opportunity Council (VOC). The VOC matches senior companions, age 55 & older, with frail elders within the community. The senior volunteer helps the elder with medical appointments, grocery shopping, respite for family members, & companionship. If you, a loved one, or a friend could benefit from a Senior Companion, call Beth Ferrando at 534-3698, extension 115, for a referral.
"Grandparents as Parents" Program
A support group for grandparents raising their grandchildren is offered every 2nd Tuesday at 10 a.m. at RiverMills Center. While the name of the group says “grandparents,” this support group is open to adults who have taken on the responsibility of parenting a grandchild, a niece, a nephew, other family member, or a friend’s child. The group is open to all, regardless of age or where you live. With advance notice, babysitting is provided during the meeting. Please register in advance by calling Social Services Coordinator Beth Ferrando at 534-3698, ext. 115.
The Council received their first van through the PVTA in 1989. The Council now operates two vans & eight cars to provide transportation to the center for: activities, services to other locations within the city, & neighboring medical facilities. The city provides one full-time paid driver. A pool of 6 volunteer drivers provide about 11,000 rides each year.