Changes afoot at Southampton Council on Aging 

  • Sandy Massimino is the Southampton Council on Aging’s newest employee. She began her new role as the program coordinator at the end of June. STAFF PHOTO/EMILY THURLOW

Staff Writer
Published: 8/4/2022 10:23:07 PM

SOUTHAMPTON — With more than one third of the town’s population over the age of 60, the Southampton Council on Aging has been working to expand its programming to meet the needs of its growing elderly population.

In doing so, the council has hired Sandy Massimino as its program coordinator to oversee all of the senior center’s activities

“She’s been remarkable in this new role,” said Joan Linnehan, director of the Southampton Council on Aging. “This new position will help oversee some of our new programs like mahjong and our Memory Cafe.”

Massimino, who started at the end of June, joins the council after having spent 16 years working as a payroll clerk for the Easthampton School Department. She retired from that role in October 2021. 

“I live down the street from the center and I still have these skills, so it was a good fit,” she said. 

Massimino will work up to 13 hours per week for $18 per hour through 70% of town funding and 30% percent through a formula grant from the state Executive Office of Elder Affairs, according to Linnehan.

With the addition of the new programs coordinator position, Linnehan said the council is not currently funding the position for administrative assistant. Darlene Matyoka retired from the position after four years in November. Her retirement prompted the council to assess where the greatest need is, which ultimately led to the hiring of Massimino.   

In addition to Matyoka, the council also had another recent retirement. After eight years with the council, Flo Collins retired from her position as the volunteer coordinator. 

“Her kindness, compassion and friendly face has created a welcoming atmosphere here at the COA center,” said Linnehan.

With Collins’ retirement, the council is looking to fill her role. Among the duties and responsibilities, the volunteer coordinator will assist the director with the daily operations at the council, answer phones and provide information and referrals to seniors, assist daily operations of van transportation and scheduling appointments and maintain the schedule on the Google Calendar. 

Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information certification is required as a condition of employment. Job applications are available on the town’s website at: https://bit.ly/3oSxSks.

Those interested in applying for this part-time position should submit a job application and letter of interest to: Joan Linnehan, COA Director, Southampton Council on Aging, 210 College Highway, Suite 3, Southampton, MA 01073, or email coadirector@townofsouthampton.org.

Expanded programs

The knitting and crocheting group is among the offerings that are expanding at the center. The activity is offered on Wednesdays at 9 a.m. and is open to all carry-along crafts, including embroidery as well as latch hooking. 

Last year, the council received funding from Highland Valley Elder Services to set up its own Memory Cafe, which offers a safe space for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other brain disorders, and their caregivers to socialize, play games and listen to music. 

The next meeting of the Memory Cafe is on Thursday, Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. to noon, and features musician Richie Mitnick, who will be performing music geared at sparking memories of past vacations. A free meal will be served. 

Also new this month is Zumba Gold with instructor Aimee Salmon, who will lead a class on Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 3 p.m. Admission is $5 per person. 

The council is also taking registration for a financial elder abuse workshop that will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 14 from noon to 2 p.m. at Southampton Country Club, 329 College Highway. 

Guest speakers at the event, sponsored by The Polish National Credit Union, include Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan, Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick J. Cahillane and Southampton Police Chief Ian Illingsworth. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Those interested in attending need to reserve a seat by Wednesday, Sept. 7.

To register for an event or inquire about the center’s programs, call the Southampton Senior Center at 413-529-2105.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at ethurlow@gazettenet.com.

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