Commission on Aging

On May 15, 1985, the Town of East Lyme passed an ordinance that created the Commission on Aging.  The Commission is a 7 member Board consisting of interested residents of the Town which must have minority representation.

The purpose of the Commission is to:

  1. Review and analyze the needs and conditions of the elderly persons of the Town in relation to housing, nutrition, employment, health, recreation, social services, transportation, and other matters and problems within the jurisdiction of the Commission.
  2. Plan, coordinate, develop and implement programs to meet the needs and to improve the conditions of the elderly persons of the Town, upon the Board’s own initiative or on the recommendations of the Senior Citizen Administrator.
  3. Through the Senior Center Director and others, as necessary, provide coordination of such plans and programs among all related services.

The monthly meetings are held on the 2nd Monday of every month starting at 5pm. The meetings are held at the Senior Center and the public is welcome to attend. If a member of the public has a concern and wants to address the Board, there are two ways in which this can be handled. At the Board meeting, a person can address the Board during the Delegations section of the meeting. Or, a person can ask the Senior Center Director to add an item to the monthly meeting Agenda.

The current makeup of the Board is:

Joe Palazzo                  Chairperson

John Whritner            Vice-Chairperson

Ilene Harris                 Secretary/Treasurer

Marge Caste                Board Member

Barbara Smith            Board Member

Joan Bengston            Board Member

Michael Bekech          Board Member

Roseanne Hardy        Selectman and Ex-Officio


The East Lyme Senior Center can assist you or someone you know with regards to services available within our community. If you have questions, please call at 860-739-5859 for an appointment.


    Making the World a Better Place – Content by Judy

    Connecticut has lost a great leader. Edith Prague stood head and shoulders above others. She wasn’t a politician. She was an advocate for those in need. She taught by example. She gave freely of her time, energy, and expertise. Passionate, dedicated, a champion of seniors and those in need is only the start of descripting Edith Prague. She worked tirelessly to create a world and the systems needed to help others. Edith stood up when others said it couldn’t be done. She did what was right even when she knew she would pay a high price. She taught me and many, many others the skills we needed and still use today to create a better world.

    I worked with Edith to raise the income limits for ConnPACE. She made the time to help me start and build a mail in campaign that was so successful the ConnPACE asset test has carried over to the MSP program many seniors benefit from today. This campaign grew into thousands of prescription bags being mailed to key state officials from all over the state. Seniors in Connecticut continued to mail them until the income limits for ConnPACE had automatic increases that equaled Social Security increases. Parts of that program has carried over to today’s MSP – Medicare Savings Program – that offers assistance to eligible Medicare enrollees.

    During her first term as Commissioner of the Dept of Aging she stood her ground and fought for what was best for Connecticut’s seniors. Then when she wouldn’t play ball with Governor Lowell Weicker, he fired her. He went on the eliminate the Department and threw the needs of the seniors into the Department of Social Services. But Edith never quit!

    Again, I worked with Edith to successfully recreate the Department on Aging in 2013. It was a long, hard-won fight. But when it was all over, she was rightfully named the Commissioner. Unfortunately failing health caused her to leave in 2014. And without her, the Department was again swallowed up. This time into the Department of Aging and Disability Services.

    (As a side note – it’s beyond me on how aging and a disability are similar. What’s the common ground for each group? If a person celebrates a certain birthday – they then are automatically disabled? If a person has a disability that makes them old? I just don’t get it…)

    Being a true problem solver, Edith was a driving force behind lower prescription costs, long-term care, senior housing and was an expert on counseling seniors on which health insurance program was best for them.

    The legacy Edith Prague leaves the seniors of Connecticut is endless and the impact of her advocacy will be with us for decades more. She worked tirelessly to create the systems and the programs many use and benefit from today!

    Thank you, Edith for making the world a better place!!

    LUNCH & LEARN Cook Well – Live Well

    Wed, Jan 19th at 12:30pm
    Cook Well With Diabetes – a NEW program adopted
    by the East Lyme Senior Center will be featured at this
    “Lunch and Learn” with tips on how to successfully
    manage diabetes or prediabetes.
    Come join Cindy Barry of Ledge Light Health District
    and Erica Benvenuti of UConn Extension
    Registration begins Jan 3rd.
    Register by Fri, Jan 14th.

    Who we are – Content by Judy

    Somehow, we all need to help change the perception of what the definition of ‘old people’ really is. What a ‘senior’ is. What ‘old’ means.

    We all have that picture in our head of what old is until we get there. Then ‘oh but that’s not me’.

    Think about it… When you’re 13 – 30 is OLD! When you’re in your early 20’s – 45 is ancient! Never mind 65!!

    Then you see a guy at the hardware store loading his truck. He offers to help you (you being 30) and you get to talking and then you realize he’s in his 70’s and not old at all.

    Odds are that volunteer fireman that shows up is 50+ if not 70 because the younger generation doesn’t have time to volunteer.

    You get to talking to a neighbor about your kids, school and all. She offers some help. You’re grateful. It’s really good advice that will help. Later you chuckle when you realize she could be your grandmother.

    You then start looking around and realize the school crossing guard has been there for like 8 years and you know he started doing that after he had been retired for a while. The lady who just checked you out at the store has to be at least that old. And wait the delivery guy is retiring next month. Three teachers at school retired last year.

    Then it’s like ‘Hey wait that will be me in 10 years. And I sure am NOT ‘old’.

    We all need to keep in mind that all these ‘old’ people are much younger than people of the same age a generation or two ago. They are out there working, enjoying hobbies, volunteering, at the gym, hiking and exercising. They are on social media, online, and signing up on the dating sites. They are bloggers, shopping and surfing the web right along with the rest of us.

    These ‘old’ people run marathons, play pickleball, go out dancing, and travel more than the rest of us.

    I’ll bet a lot of people you see when you’re out and about that you might think are in their 50’s, are really in their 70’s. Those people you see who are ‘old’ are probably closer to 90. Yes!! 90!!

    So, lets rethink what defines ‘old’. Let’s not dismiss an age group just because we think they are ‘old’. Remember if you’re lucky you’ll reach that point in your life. And when you do hope you are as young as today’s ‘old’ people!!

    And reach out to those you think of as ‘seniors’ and make a friend – they are younger and more fun than you think!!


    The Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for Medicare Part D/Prescription Drug Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans coverage is from October 15th to December 7th, 2021. Participants are encouraged to review their coverage to determine if any changes are needed. If a change is made, it goes into effect as of January 1, 2022.

    The changes you can make include during the Open Enrollment Period: 

    Joining a new Medicare Advantage Plan or Part D prescription drug plan

    Switching from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan

    Switching from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare (with or without a Part D plan)

    Appointments are now being taken for Thu, November 4th and  Fri, November 5th.

    Please call the Senior Center office to secure your slot. More dates will come available so if there is no availability on the 4th or the 5th, the Senior Center will make other arrangements.