Greater Lynn Senior Services celebrated its 40th anniversary with a festive cocktail reception at the Lynn Museum on Thursday evening, October 13, 2016. In attendance were a number of elected officials; many partners with whom the agency has collaborated over the years; members of the five councils on aging in Lynn, Lynnfield, Nahant, Saugus, and Swampscott; donors; providers; staff and former staff.; and friends from throughout the Greater Lynn Community.
The roots of GLSS go back to 1960 when a group of concerned elders established the Lynn Council on Aging (“LCOA”). From 1960 to 1975, as the primary recipient of state and federal funds targeted toward people age 65 and older, the Council initiated such services as advocacy, home-delivered meals and nutrition sites, mental health and nursing clinics, adult day health, transportation, outreach, and Senior Center activities.
In 1975, the LCOA was approached by the newly established Massachusetts Department of Elder Affairs to take on the new functions of a federal Area Agency on Aging and MA State Home Care Corporation. The Council accepted this challenge and joined the four other Councils on Aging in Lynnfield, Nahant, Saugus and Swampscott to develop a completely integrated service system for older adults in the Greater Lynn area.
After its incorporation in 1976, GLSS has responded to the changing needs of older adults, providing a continuum of community health and social services to help people maintain their independence, safely and with dignity, and live in the community settings of their choice.in
This mission is accomplished by providing access to services through information and referral; home care services; nutrition programs; transportation; mobility management; housing supports; clinical and protective services; programs designed to promote consumer engagement, better health, and stronger well-being; and a number of new initiatives aimed at creating stronger, more livable communities for all.
Throughout its history, GLSS has been a leader, innovator, and pioneer. Among its many achievements, the Agency was awarded its first contract with the MBTA in 1993 to provide transportation services for the North Service Area of “The RIDE”—the state’s critical para-transit service for people living with disabilities. It remains today the only non-profit of its kind to provide this service in the state. Unique to the Agency are the Older Battered Women’s Program (celebrating its 20th anniversary this year), Homeless Elders Breakfast Program, Conversations for Caring, and others.
Moving forward to address critical challenges of promoting healthier and more livable communities for people of all ages and abilities, Greater Lynn Senior Services is transforming itself as it celebrates its 40th anniversary as a social service agency.
Long a leader in the delivery of home and community-based services, GLSS has always sought to identify and harness innovations that foster greatest quality impact and lower costs. In the coming year, GLSS intends to invest considerable resources in developing greater organization capacities for both intensively collaborating with a broader spectrum of health care and other social service agencies as well as disseminating some recent and very promising innovations.
Among the latter is a system of “community pulse points” currently called the “The Kiosk for Living Well” that use both state-of the art technologies as well as proven relational techniques that engage consumers in managing their health and health care more effectively. In this “health center without walls” concept, the kiosks become a key juncture where clinical and community entities can jointly partner with consumers to produce better health care at lower costs.
The innovations will continue for at least the next 40 years.
In addition, the Agency’s development has had a major impact on the City of Lynn. In its earliest years, GLSS employed a few dozen people. Twenty years later, that number had grown to 264. Today, GLSS’ staff numbers 678. In 2009, the Agency moved its transportation headquarters to 330 Lynnway. Its transportation operation remains one of the largest para-transit operations in the Greater Boston area and currently has 306 vehicles.