Council on Aging

The Shutesbury Council On Aging (COA) is dedicated to serving Town residents 55 and over, their families and caregivers. 

Our meetings, currently on Zoom, are on the second Wednesday of every month from 5:30 to 7pm. Anyone is welcome to attend. The COA works with LifePath, our Area Agency on Aging, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs to provide older adults opportunities to live well in Shutesbury. Our town is also part of a new regional Network of Age-Friendly Communities (more details below).

September 10 Town-wide Decade Birthday Party Postponed!

Rain, rain, go away . . . A new date for this event will be announced by the Recreation Committee.

All people who began or will begin a new decade in 2023 (turning 10, 20, 30, etc.) will be honored at a town-wide party on the Town Common co-sponsored by the Recreation Committee and the Council on Aging. (New babies born in 2023 are also invited!)

Everyone is cordially invited to this first-annual event. Come to cheer the birthday honorees, share cupcakes and cider, and maybe make new friends.

Bring your own chair.

More information at


Using Your Smartphone Smarter!

The Shutesbury Council on Aging and the M.N. Spear Library are pleased to present a program for seniors on how to get the most out of your smartphone.  There will be two sessions, one for iPhone users (Apple Smartphone) and one for Androids (Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, etc.).

Both the iPhone and Android phone classes are designed for people who have a basic knowledge of how their phone works, but who would like to use their phones for many uses beyond making a phone call.

The sessions will be taught by Barbara Friedman, Library Consultant, who has been teaching technology since the 1990’s.


October 25

10:00 to 11:30 iPhone (Apple Smartphone) Class

1:00 to 2:30 Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, etc. (Android Smartphone) Class

The classes are limited to 6 attendees each.  There will be a waiting list if more people wish to attend, and there may be an additional session if needed.


Classes will be held in the large meeting room downstairs in Town Hall.

Class description:

In this 90-minute session, seniors will follow hands-on step-by-step procedures for taking photos, searching the internet, sending texts or emails, and using their phone as a GPS. Time will be allowed at the end of class for specific questions.


Please register with the M.N. Spear Library by calling 413-259-1213, or by emailing


Introducing Shutesbury's New Public Health Nurse

The recent creation of the grant-supported Valley Health Collaborative has made it possible for Shutesbury to offer the regular services of a Public Health Nurse. Sarah Fiske has established a space in the COA's Senior Lounge (in the lower level of Town Hall) with hours each Tuesday from 12:30 - 4 pm or by appointment. She can be reached at 413-531-0657; her current best email address is  Sarah is able to provide a wide range of public health services free of charge to anyone in our community. These include (but are not limited to):

  • blood pressure or blood glucose screenings

  • advice on medication management

  • consultation on wound care and assistance with wound dressings

  • foot care consultation and referrals

  • advice on mobility issues (uses of walker, cane)

  • risk reduction and injury prevention

  • prenatal and postnatal care, and general parent health education

  • diabetes care and management advice

  • nutrition and exercise consultation

  • tobacco, alcohol and substance abuse referrals

  • help with navigating medical and social services

  • home visits as needed

  • referral to other health providers and resources.

This is a great resource and we want to get the word out as widely as possible about Sarah's availability!


Shutesbury is part of the Franklin County & North Quabbin Age-Friendly Communities Project.

In January 2022, LifePath, in collaboration with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, local Senior Centers, and Councils on Aging like ours, began surveying residents over 50 years old as well as caregivers of older adults. Now the answers are in! Initial insights from the survey were shared virtually at a launch party on November 1, 2022. You will find a video recording of the November 1 event, raw data from the survey, and town-specific data on LifePath's website here. 

LifePath will continue to work with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments to produce a results-based overview of the collected data. The project is part of the Global Age-Friendly Communities movement started more than a decade ago by the World Health Organization and administered in the United States by the AARP. Learn more here.  

Updates on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Boosters: Click here for the latest from Shutesbury's Board of Health on vaccination sites and more!

How to Be Prepared for a Medical Emergency:  Keep these documents on hand!  


Other LifePath Services

LifePath provides numerous Individual, home and community services that support Franklin County citizens 55 and over. If you have questions or need assistance, call their Information and  Referral number at 413-773-5555.

  • Click here to see The Silverline, a directory of local resources for elders, caregivers, and persons with disabilities. You can read it online, download a copy, or to learn how to request a printed copy in the mail. 
  • Click here to sign up to receive The Good Life, LifePath's free weekly newsletter, in your email inbox.
  • HomeShare Program LifePath's HomeShare Program was created to address the lack of affordable housing and the desire of older homeowners to remain in their homes. In the program, two or more individuals may share a home and expenses to their mutual benefit. Home Sharing is for people of all ages, incomes, and abilities. Home Sharers must be 60 years of age or older, or an individual with disabilities. Home Seekers could be anyone 18 years of age or older. The Sharer provides a safe, sanitary private bedroom and communal spaces in exchange for rent, help around the home or a combination of the two. For information, contact Cindy Spelman, Housing/Home Share Program Director, at 413-773-5555 or
  • LifePath’s free Money Management Program assists elders who have difficulty writing checks or managing living expenses for many reasons, including problems with vision and memory. Trained volunteers help with writing checks, balancing checkbooks, sorting bills, developing budgets, and more. Contact LifePath at 800-732- 4636 or TDD 413-772-6566, Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm.
  • LifePath offers help with Medicare, Medicaid, and MassHealth plans through the SHINE program (Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders).
  • LifePath's Vaccination Help Voicemail Line is committed to helping those who want a COVID-19 vaccine to access one. If you do not have access to the internet, need assistance with registering, need transportation to a vaccination site, or are unable to leave your home, call LifePath's vaccination help line at (413) 829-9285. 
  • Older Adult Home Modification Program  Community Action Pioneer Valley, partnering with LifePath, can help eligible, lower-income homeowners in Franklin and Hampshire Counties, age 62 or older, improve general home safety through no-cost modifications that reduce the risk of falling, increase accessibility, and improve the home's functional abilities. If you currently receive Fuel Assistance and could benefit from the installation of grab bars, railings, temporary ramps, tub/shower transfer benches, raised toilet seats with hand rails, and stair steps, call (413) 774-2310 Option 4,  email, or write to Community Action OAHMP, P.O. Box 1432, Greenfield, MA 01302.


Council on Aging Services 

Classes and Passes   Co-sponsored with the M.N. Spear Memorial Library: Weekly fitness classes on Zoom, and passes to the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and the Mass. Museum of Contemporary Art. See the library's website for details.

Foot Clinic Visits   Although the Council's monthly Foot Clinics in the Senior Lounge at Town Hall remain on hold, appointments in your home with a registered Food Care Specialist can be scheduled by phoning FootCare By Nurses, LLC, an agency based in Greenfield. Call 413-367-8369 and let them know you are part of the Shutesbury COA's foot care program. The COA suggests clients donate toward the visit's cost; state grant funds will be used to cover the balance. 

Med Ride Program   During the COVID-19 period, the COA's free transportation program to medical and dental appointments remains suspended.  Village Neighbors (see below) has an active transportation program, as does the Franklin Regional Transit Authority (only    for medical rides outside Franklin County -- learn more here).

Community Potluck Lunches   During the COVID-19 period, on hold for the time being. These monthly meet, greet, and eat lunches in the Senior Lounge at Town Hall have been held the first Tuesday of each month at noon. People of all ages are invited to come, with or without a dish. There has always enough food to go around.


Other Resources for Seniors

Heating Assistance

The Massachusetts’ Home Energy Assistance Program, a resource offered in partnership with the Department of Housing and Community Development, helps eligible households pay a portion of winter heating bills  — even if heat’s included in their rent! You can complete a free application to determine if you are eligible. Call Community Action Pioneer Valley, the agency for our area, at 413-774-2318 for more information about the program, or to make an appointment to apply in person. Or, apply online:

Local Meal and Grocery Programs

The Amherst Survival Center, at 138 Sunderland Rd. in North Amherst, serves a free lunch indoors from 12-2:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Lunch "to go" is also available at its shed those days from 12-3pm. Call 413-549-3968.

Free groceries (10+ days' worth) for all household members of anyone in its service area, which includes Shutesbury, are also available from its Food Pantry. No income cap, ID or documentation required. Register and take food home the same day by going in person, phoning 413-549-3968 x109, or emailing Pre-packed groceries are also available; ask for details. Please bring your own bags! Pantry hours: Monday, Tuesday, Friday 12-3pm; Thursday 12-7pm; Third Saturday of the month 9am-12pm.

Not Bread Alone at First Congregational Church of Amherst, 164 Main Street. Pick up lunch and supper takeout style behind the lower level of the church (enter from Spring Street). Supper: Wednesday 3:45-5:15pm. Lunch: Saturday and Sunday, 11:45am-1:15 pm.

Donated groceries are distributed on Saturday at 12:45pm.

Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, 121 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst. Free breakfasts every Wednesday, 8-10am. Ingredients are provided by Craig's Doors and cooked by volunteers.

Meals on Wheels from LifePath. Homebound individuals age 60 and older who are unable to prepare nutritionally balanced noon meals for themselves can receive them from LifePath, our local Area Agency on Aging. There's no charge for the meals, but financial donations are accepted. Volunteers deliver meals Monday-Friday. Call 800-732-4636. 

Shopping and delivery services also available. Volunteers with LifePath will provide these services in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region to people over age 60, people will physical illnesses or disabilities, or people who are immuno-compromised. Call 800-732-4636.

Massachusetts Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) All Shutesbury seniors who have SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) also have HIP, which allows them to get free fruits and vegetables at local farmers' markets, farm stands, and CSAs. HIP puts an extra $40-$80 on their EBT card each month for produce at eligible locations. With more farmers' markets and farm stands opening every day, now is the perfect time to learn about HIP!

Valley Eye Radio

This non-profit member of MAIN (Massachusetts Audio Information Network) covers Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties. Valley Eye Radio volunteers read aloud for broadcast from 30+ different local newspapers and other publications, including featured event recordings, free of charge to people who are blind, visually impaired, or who have difficulty in reading independently for themselves due to another disability or health condition. Call 413-747-7337 to request a specially tuned radio.

Local Property Tax Exemptions

Shutesbury provides property tax exemptions (reducing all or part of the taxes assessed for the fiscal year) to seniors who meet the specific requirements for them set by state laws. Click here for Shutesbury's Assessors Office web page, call 413-259-3790 or email for more information.

Massachusetts Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP)

The objective of this program is to reach and educate Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, family members, caregivers, and professionals on how to address healthcare errors, fraud and abuse. Call 800-892-0890, or email or

Village Neighbors

This non-profit member/volunteer-run organization helps adults 60 and older age in place in Shutesbury, Leverett, New Salem and Wendell by assisting with transportation, computers, small tasks at home, or friendly visits. Membership is free! To learn more, call 413-345-6894, write to Village Neighbors, P.O. Box 501, Shutesbury, MA 01072, or email