June 2024 Newsletter

From The Executive Director's Chair

Since January, Joann Erenhouse, our volunteer coordinator, and I have been working with a team of four Dartmouth College seniors on a project looking at intergenerational programming. We asked them to conduct research on the challenges and rewards of caring for an older adult living with dementia, and to create a model of an intergenerational program for young volunteers (ideally high school students) to support these folks, providing social stimulation and helping to alleviate caregiver burnout. During the five months of their senior design class, they have done a great deal of research, digging into data, and conducting 43 interviews with caregivers, people living with dementia, professional experts, volunteers, and high school staff. 

These four students attended the Chester Memory Café and organized a trial run of one of their prototypes at the Scotland House Adult Day Center. Joann and I met with them almost every week to discuss their research and to brainstorm with them. Along the way, they came up with three key insights to address in their final project design. 

  • First: Fear of the unknown and social isolation are the biggest contributors to caregiver burnout.
  • Second: Meaningful interactions with dementia experts and other caregivers combat this through sharing of experiences, knowledge, and support resources.
  • Third: Caregivers and their loved ones are not getting access to the resources they need until after a crisis.
  • Fourth: Seniors, especially those with dementia, need to feel useful and competent in the face of societal stigma around aging and memory loss.
  • Fifth: Young volunteers appreciate feeling useful when working with older adults.

Over the course of their work, these students have developed three prototype intergenerational projects for us to implement.

  • The first project prototype is to create a mural with panels painted by individuals living with dementia. These panels can be combined to make a mural that can be displayed at public sites such as libraries. Interspersed among the panels are data points about dementia such as the 20,000 unpaid caregivers in Vermont currently caring for a loved one living with dementia.
  • The second project prototype is to interview caregivers to get their story or a story about their loved one. These stories could travel with the mural. For both prototypes, high school and college age volunteers could assist in their creation.
  • The third prototype project is to create a resource binder for caregivers who are often overwhelmed with paperwork and would benefit from an organizational tool.

It has been a joy to work with these bright and enthusiastic students. Their course concluded on May 28th with a class presentation that Joann and I attended. But they’re not just dropping these projects as they move on. In their final weeks they have submitted a grant application to fund these projects going forward and have established a relationship with Main Street Arts in Saxtons River to carry them out in collaboration with Senior Solutions. We are deeply grateful for the enormous amount of work they put into this and look forward to picking up where they left off to implement these projects. 

Age Successfully Fair in Ludlow - June 14

Join us for this Free and Fun event. Over 30 exhibitors will be in attendance to have a fun and engaging day providing opportunities for our fellow older Vermonters to learn about all of the benefits and services available to them and their family members. This event is free and open to everyone. There will be food and a variety of activities to participate in. Sponsored by Senior Solutions and Black River Good Neighbor Services.

For information: call or email Suzanne Burge at 802-822-0498 or sburge@seniorsolutionsvt.org.

June 20

Mark S. King "Coming of Age with Grace and Grit"

Senior Solutions and Bellows Falls Pride jointly sponsor a special presentation in celebration of Pride Month. On June 20 at the Bellows Falls Opera House, Mark S. King, an internationally acclaimed author of the book “My Fabulous Disease”, will speak about sexual politics, the twin epidemics of addiction and AIDS, and how he has navigated sex, love, and family as a gay man living with HIV for nearly forty years.

He has been writing personal reflections on gay life, sex, addiction and his family since shortly after testing HIV positive in 1985, only weeks after the test became publicly available. “I wanted to put something down on paper while I could,” King explains, “something that said we were here, and this is how it felt. No one is more surprised than I am that I’m still writing it down.”

Those who were in their twenties in the 1980s when the AIDS crisis began are now in their 60s. 53% of Americans Living with HIV are now over 50. This presents a new demographic challenge for agencies serving seniors and for medical and health professionals.

Mr. King will address the audience with a multi-media presentation drawn from his lived experience and will hold a question-and-answer session following his presentation. 

Admission is free, but due to the expected turnout advanced ticket reservations are recommended. Tickets are available at the Bellows Falls Opera House box office and website. Doors open at 6:30. Event starts at 7:30.

Get Tickets

Make A Difference: Join Our Board

  • Are you passionate about promoting the well-being and dignity of older adults?
  • Do you want to help shape the future for Southern Vermont older residents?
  • Do you want share your knowledge and skills with a team committed to serving our community?

If so, we want to talk to you! 

Senior Solutions is excited to announce an open call for applications to join our Board of Directors. We are looking for individuals who share our commitment to older Vermonters and who can bring diverse skills, experiences, and perspectives to our board. If your expertise is in nonprofit governance, finance, fundraising, strategic planning, marketing, or senior services, we welcome your application!

Learn More

Memory Cafes

An opportunity for caregivers and their loved ones to socialize, connect, listen to music, play games, share nutritious snacks, and enjoy other activities.

Upcoming Memory Café Places, Dates, and Times:

  • Chester: June 6, 11:00 – 1:00 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on the Village Green
  • Ludlow: June 13, 11:00 – 1:00, Ludlow United Church
  • Wilmington: June 20, 11:00 -1:00. at The Old Firehouse, 18 Beaver Street
  • Brattleboro: June 24, 11:00 -1:00 at the American Legion

New Memory Cafe!

Bugbee Senior Center in White River Junction is our newest location for a Memory Cafe! Starting June 17, 2024 from 11:00-1:00, this cafe will be held on the 3rd Monday of the month.

Looking for a meaningful career? We are growing!

Are you a dedicated and caring individual with a passion for making a positive impact on the lives of older adults and/or people with disabilities? If so, we have the perfect opportunity for you to join our growing and compassionate team!


We are seeking Case Managers with a commitment to a person-centered planning approach to work in all of our regions - Brattleboro, Windsor, and Springfield. Strong organizational, communication, an understanding of state and federal benefits, and computer skills are required. We are also hiring a Front Office Coordinator for our Springfield Office.

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Senior Solutions | seniorsolutionsvt.org | 866-673-8376 | 802-885-2669