Senior Solutions: Shared Housing?

Is Shared Housing Right for You?

So many of us are finding that renting a new apartment or buying a new home is quite a challenge in 2023. As we age, the problem gets even more overwhelming. Today, with 29% of our Vermont seniors living alone – and according to a 2019 study by UMass, “Living Below the Line,” nearly half of those do not have enough income to cover basic needs.

One approach being offered to remedy financial security, as well as to foster increased social interaction, is the concept of shared housing. How does this concept help facilitate reducing housing and financial challenges? Having a great housemate can save you money and help you live a healthier, more connected, and comfortable life. But how do you avoid the nightmare housemate?

A recent episode of “Keeping Up with Senior Solutions” featured Annamarie Pluhar, the founder of Sharing Housing. Pluhar explained how the concept could potentially help many aging Vermonters save money and provide safe and comfortable housing that is in such short supply. Her organization provides resources to help you examine this possibility, clearly explained on her website at To watch the full half-hour Brattleboro Community TV interview, simply click in the following link:

Springfield Senior Meals Expand to five Days Each Week

Beginning Jan. 9, The Senior Community Meal is now open five days each week, Monday – Friday. Doors open at 11:15 a.m. and lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Enjoy a complete hot meal with dessert and coffee all for a voluntary, suggested donation. All diners who are 60 or over are welcome. What a great way to see your friends, make new friends, and have a great meal at the same time. The meal site, operated by Meals on Wheels of Greater Springfield, is located on the corner of Union Street and Southridge Rd. in Springfield. Join them by using the side entrance on Southridge Rd

 Excerpt From Sen. Bernie Sanders Update: Featuring the Musician, Noah Kahan

Noah is a Vermonter who rediscovered his roots and passion back home in Vermont. Recognizing that music has always been an important part of Vermont’s way of life, and that we have produced some really great musicians over the years, Bernie presents Noah as a young singer-songwriter from Strafford, Vt. whose music is gaining attention not only in his home state, but also throughout the country. Noah is performing his new album, “Stick Season,” in sold out shows everywhere from London and Vermont to Los Angeles, with stops at places like Radio City Music Hall and Jimmy Kimmel Live. What makes Noah’s success particularly interesting is that “Stick Season” is about his life right here at home. Noah calls the album a nuanced love letter to our state, to New England, and to growing up and living in small, rural towns. Thanks to Sen. Bernie Sanders for introducing us to a new rising music star here in Vermont! Check out the music by Googling Noah Kahan and sit back under a lap blanket and enjoy!

The University of Vermont Medical Center & the UVM Center on Aging Offers the CARERS Program for Family Caregivers

 Here is the program spelled out for us: CARERS (Coaching, Advocacy, Respite, Education, Relationship and Simulation) is an evidence based therapeutic group program that enhances the knowledge, skills, and competence of informal family caregivers of people with dementia. This program is based on the model developed by the Reitman Center at the Sinai Health System of Toronto, Ontario. The Memory Program at the UVM Medical Center has offered these groups since 2016. They consistently have received feedback from the participants that this is an extremely valuable service. This program has now been expanded to include community group leaders certified in this program.

CARERS is more than a support group. The program consists of eight weekly sessions in an intimate group setting of no more than six members. The program is designed to increase understanding of the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and to address caregiver burden. These sessions focus on:

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy skills for problem solving for practical needs and resource development.
  2. Skills (through simulation or role play) for managing emotions and improved communication with the person suffering from dementia or with others involved in providing care.

This group is intended for family members who have been actively providing intensive care. For family members who are new to caregiving, another group program, TEACH is offered. The TEACH program was also developed at the Reitman Center. Two separate CARERS groups are offered. There is one for spouses or partners and one for adult children caregivers. The adult children caregiver meetings usually are held in the early evening at a 5 – 7 p.m. time frame. The spouse/partner group normally meets during the day. Participation in this therapeutic program is generally covered by the caregiver’s health insurance and there may be a co-pay. A pre-assessment interview is required which is also generally covered by health insurance. Please contact Lori McKenna at 802-847-2466 to ask about joining the program. Sign up early as these program classes fill up quickly!

Everyone Eats, Good Neighbor Services Team up for Cavendish Meals on Wheels!

 In a unique pilot program that could potentially be implemented elsewhere in the state, Vermont Everyone Eats has teamed up with Black River Good Neighbor Services to provide Meals on Wheels to residents in the Town of Cavendish.

Everyone Eats is a federally and state funded program that came into existence during the COVID pandemic as an effort to rescue small restaurants that were hit hard by the health crisis. Through that program, restaurants have produced thousands of meals, sourcing ingredients locally, which have been distributed at no cost to residents across the state.

Black River Good Neighbor Services has been serving the greater Ludlow area for decades, and currently operates a food shelf, thrift store, and furniture store. Additionally, they began free community lunches at the Ludlow Community Center this past fall, drawing over 100 people at a time for delicious meals overseen by Vicki Mastroianni, a professional caterer, and former Senior Solutions Volunteer Coordinator.

Recently, Cavendish Meals on Wheels operations found itself without a local sponsorship. The solution seemed clear: by bringing these two organizations together, Senior Solutions was able to create a model for other communities. Local restaurants associated with Everyone Eats will be providing a variety of seven nutritious meals each week for Cavendish Meals on Wheels recipients, and Black River Good Neighbor Services will provide milk supplies, administrative oversight, and work with the local residents who wish to serve as drivers.

We look forward to this new partnership in 2023.

Please check our website: for an extensive collection of programs, benefits, resources, and news for those of us who are 60 and over. Or, as I like to say on our Tuesday weekly radio broadcast on WOOL 91.5 FM, “60 and Better”. This program airs from 5-6 p.m.

Sign up for our monthly newsletters on our website and donate to our fundraisers to help us continue our free services. Remember to plan your participation in Senior Solutions celebrations of our 50 Anniversary this year. Save the date – April 28 for the “Senior Prom”. You won’t want to miss this event!


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