Greater Boston Food Bank
- The Greater Boston Food Bank provides about 30 pounds of free non-perishable food goods each month to financially eligible seniors the second Wednesday of each month. Verification eligibility is conducted by the RCOA director and the Outreach Coordinator. Contact the center to legally register and sign up for the monthly distribution. Eligible seniors are required to bring their own bags and pick up their own food unless other arrangements have been made. Website: gbfb.org
Elder Abuse Services
- Research suggests that 1 in 10 Americans 60 and over have experienced some form of elder abuse. Many cases go unreported as some older adults fear that if they complain, they will end up in a nursing home.
- If you have been abused - or if you know someone who has been - or you THINK may have been - abused, contact any of the following agencies immediately. - (mass.gov/report-elder-abuse)
Local Agencies to Contact
- Your local police department - 911 (emergency)
- Rochester Council on Aging - 508-763-8723
- Coastline Elderly Services - 508 999-6400
MA State Agencies To Contact
The Executive Office of Elder Affairs is required by law to administer a statewide system for receiving and investigating reports of elder abuse, and for providing needed protective services to abused elders when warranted.
Download: Elder Abuse Mandated Reporter Form - (Updated June 20, 2017)
In the case of elders (persons age 60 and over), Massachusetts law requires physicians, nurses, dentists, social workers, police, firefighters, council on aging employees, assisted living personnel and others to file a report with the Department of Elder Affairs whenever they have reasonable cause to believe that an elderly person is suffering from or has died as a result of abuse.
Definitions of Abuse By Category
- Physical Abuse: The intentional use of physical force that results in acute or chronic illness, bodily injury, physical pain, functional impairment, distress, or death. Physical abuse may include, but is not limited to, violent acts such as striking (with or without an object or weapon), hitting, beating, scratching, biting, choking, suffocation, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking, stomping, pinching, and burning.
- Sexual Abuse or Abusive Sexual Contact: Forced or unwanted sexual interaction (touching and non-touching acts) of any kind with an older adult. This may include but is not limited to forced or unwanted completed or attempted contact between the penis and the vulva or the penis and the anus involving penetration, however slight. It might also include forced or unwanted contact between the mouth and the penis, vulva, or anus; forced or unwanted penetration of the anal or genital opening of another person by a hand, finger, or other object; forced or unwanted intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks. These acts also qualify as sexual abuse if they are committed against an incapacitated person who is not competent to give informed approval.
- Emotional or Psychological Abuse: Verbal or nonverbal behavior that results in the infliction of anguish, mental pain, fear, or distress. Examples of tactics that may exemplify emotional or psychological abuse of an older adult include behaviors intended to humiliate (e.g., calling names or insults), threaten (e.g., expressing an intent to initiate nursing home placement), isolate (e.g., seclusion from family or friends), or control(e.g., prohibiting or limiting access to transportation, telephone, money or other resources).
- Neglect: Failure by a caregiver or other responsible person to protect an elder from harm, or the failure to meet needs for essential medical care, nutrition, hydration, hygiene, clothing, basic activities of daily living or shelter, which results in a serious risk of compromised health and safety. Examples include not providing adequate nutrition, hygiene, clothing, shelter, or access to necessary health care; or failure to prevent exposure to unsafe activities and environments.
- Financial Abuse or Exploitation: The illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of an older individual's resources by a caregiver or other person in a trusting relationship, for the benefit of someone other than the older individual. This includes, but is not limited to, depriving an older person of rightful access to, information about, or use of, personal benefits, resources, belongings, or assets. Examples include forgery, misuse or theft of money or possessions; use of coercion or deception to surrender finances or property; or improper use of guardianship or power of attorney.
The United States Department of Justice has prepared downloadable pamphlets, available in English and Spanish that focus on specific areas of Elder Abuse. Just follow this link: www.justice.gov/elderjustice/eji-brochures.
Abuse of older Americans is unconscionable and should never be tolerated under any circumstances.
In these hard times, elders in Massachusetts depend on a variety of benefits programs to meet their income and health needs. These include income supplement programs, retirement benefits, home-based care services, and health care programs. This program provides legal services advocates, lawyers, and paralegals in private practice, social and health services workers, and community activists with an overview and basic knowledge of the resources available to elders, with an emphasis on program criteria relevant to elders and how to navigate the complexities across programs.
- Free Legal Consults: Attorney Matt Beaulieu offers his time and expertise pro bono the first Thursday of every month at 3 pm to assist with Estate Planning, Living Will, Health Care Proxy and Guardianship. Call to set your appointment.
- Senator Michael Rodrigues or his office aid, holds office hours at the Senior Center the 4th Wednesday of the month from noon - 2 pm. No appointment needed!
- Additional Information: mass.gov/elders/the-massachusetts-senior-legal-helpline
Veterans Legal Services
- Local Level: RCOA's Veteran Volunteer Counselor is Gordon Helme. Call him at 508-763-8723 to set up a one-on-one appointment or if you have any questions/concerns that you would like addressed.
- State Level: mass.gov/veterans
- Federal Level: The US Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) now has a VA Hotline, fully staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is non-clinical and non-emergency. Call 855-948-2311. The US Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the rollout and application process for new Veterans ID cards (VICS). These cards provide proof of honorable military service and may be accepted by retailers in lieu of the standard DD-214 form used for military discounts. For those who served the minimum obligated time, but didn't meet retirement or medical discharge threshold can request a VIC. Go to www.vets.gov, click on "Apply for Printed Veteran ID Card" (vets.gov/veteran-id-card). It takes about 60 days to receive the card. Check status of delivery at vets.gov.