Community Advocate: State Senator continues “Senior Conference” tradition

By Angela Grenier
April 17, 2009

Newly elected State Sen. James Eldridge, D-Acton, is continuing a long-established tradition as he prepares to host the 29th annual Senior Conference Thursday April 23. Held at Assabet Valley Regional High School in Marlborough, this year’s event, which includes great entertainment, food and information, is once again open to all seniors in the community.

“I have worked this conference for many years,” Eldridge said. “I made a campaign promise that I would host this conference. It is a great tradition.”

The event will kick off with coffee and donuts and then feature a catered luncheon, educational workshops, health vendor tables and entertainment. Admission is free.

“I am really excited about this year’s conference,” said State Rep. Danielle Gregoire, D-Marlborough, who has attended the conference for the past several years as both a volunteer and guest presenter.

“I can not think of anywhere else where our senior community can get information from so many different resources,” she said.

Scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the conference will offer seniors a wealth of workshops and informational venues about topics ranging from prescription drug coverage and making the most of senior discounts to fraud and identity theft workshops facilitated by representatives from the Attorney General’s Office.

“These topics are so critical for seniors,” said Amy Loveless, the executive director of Marlborough’s Council on Aging.

Fraud and identity theft, she explained, is an ongoing problem for seniors. Many seniors who are receiving Social Security benefits are targeted and become victims of these crimes.

Peggy Ayers, Eldridge’s district director who has been involved with planning the conference over the past several years, said that the event has grown significantly. This is not only an excellent opportunity for seniors, Ayers said, but it is also a great resource for family members caring for aging parents.

Marlborough-based attorney Kevin McAllister and Linda Swadell, from the Westborough Assessor’s Office, will attend the conference to provide seniors with the opportunity to seek legal advice as well as information about property tax relief.

“It is a fun event, but it is a very informative event that the seniors take away a lot of information from,” Ayers said.

According to Loveless, the seniors she interacts with regularly are looking forward to not only the educational component of the event, but the socializing.

“It is one of the high points of the year for our seniors,” she said.

“This conference is a great way to bring seniors from across 14 different communities together to share experiences and get to know one another,” Eldridge said.

Ayers explained that reservations prior to the event are needed only to participate in the raffle for the door prizes. Call her in Eldridge’s district office at 508-786-3040 to make reservations.

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