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Franklin - Local Town Pages

Senior Center a Resource to Area Residents with Disabilities

July, Disability Pride Month, Marks 44th Anniversary of ADA
By Angie Fitton
Unbeknownst to many, July is Disability Pride Month. July 26th marks the anniversary of the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990.
Also unbeknownst to most, there are Disability Supports offered at the Franklin Senior Center. This level of support is for everyone; it is not something that is determined by age.
For those individuals with mild to moderate dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, there is a Supportive Day Program offered. There is also a monthly Memory Cafe held on the third Wednesday of each month. Caretakers, not just individuals with dementia, are invited to these cafes and refreshments are served. Many connections are made in the Memory Café, and it is a great place for people to realize they are not alone in their struggles with this disability.
“At Home Hearing Healthcare” partners with the senior center for monthly hearing clinics. During such clinics, the participants can have their hearing checked and get their hearing aids cleaned and inspected to be sure they are in proper working condition.    
Attorney Michael Doherty of Doherty, Dugan, Cannon, Raymond & Weil, P.C. volunteers his time with folks in need of legal advice. At the senior center, he provides a half hour free of charge, where he can answer simple questions or point you in the right direction depending upon the issue at hand. “It’s a good starting space, but nothing will ever be signed during this half hour,” explains Director Sarah Amaral.
The Social Services Coordinator for the town, Raeleen Gallivan, is based in the senior center. If you need help with anything assistance-related, from applying for food stamps to finding out how to navigate the housing crisis, contact or visit the senior center for a consult with Raeleen.
A support group for individuals with vision problems is also in place at the senior center on the second Tuesday of every month. The first Thursday of every month is a low-vision one on one support group. On the last two Tuesdays of each month there is also an audio book club.
Fitness is key to everyone’s health, and the senior center is more accessible for disabled individuals. “We keep people with disabilities in mind at all times,” states Amaral. “Anyone who needs certain accommodations can go to the senior center to ask for help.” The facility is also known to go above and beyond when it comes to following ADA requirements.
Another great service offered by the senior center is the medical closet. It is open to the entire community and consists of devices to help those with walking assistance needed, such as canes, wheelchairs and walkers. They carry items for incontinence, commodes and shower chairs, along with grabber tools for getting things that are out of your reach. Everything in this closet is offered free of charge.
The senior center also offers senior-specific mental health care. “We know that mental health is just as important as physical health,” emphasizes Amaral. The mental health group helps with depression, anxiety, mindfulness and sometimes offers massages and outside-of-the-box therapy like drum circles. Along the lines of mental health, the senior center also offers a bereavement group, where individuals have made life-long connections with others who can empathize.
By the end of July, the senior center will have obtained a 14-passenger handicapped accessible van that will be able to be used in conjunction with GATRA, a bussing system available to those with disabilities or over the age of 60. GATRA offers complimentary rides to and from the senior center.
If you’d like to find out more information on what the senior center offers for persons with disabilities, please contact them at (508) 520-4945 or visit them at 10 Daniel McCahill Street in Franklin. You can also visit the website at