Six free services at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services

Nathan Lamb is Director of Outreach and Community Relations at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services

They say the best things in life are free, and the same goes for many of the services and programs offered at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES).
As a state and federally designated elder services access point, our mission is helping people live in the setting of their choice, which is usually their own home. We offer a wide range of programs to help with that goal. Some are free and available for the general public, others are free for those who meet eligibility requirements.

Here’s a quick rundown of the most popular free services at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services:

Advice and Guidance
Aging can be complicated, and the same often goes for the network of programs and services that can help. Our Aging Information Center is here to answer questions about aging, disability, or caregiving. Our Elder Care Advisors are experts on these topics, and provide unbiased information and guidance about resources at the agency and in the community. In many cases they can also screen for eligibility and connect people with helpful programs.

MassHealth and Medicare support
SCES provides assistance with Medicare and MassHealth applications through the SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) program. SHINE runs on highly trained volunteers and can be immensely helpful during Medicare Open Enrollment or when putting together some MassHealth applications.

Nutrition Assistance
Malnutrition is a common problem for older adults, and SCES offers several programs that can help.
Meals on Wheels provides home delivery of hot and cold meals, with vegetarian, Caribbean, and Portuguese menus available. We also provide specialized meals for a variety of needs, though a doctor’s note is usually required. This program is free for eligible participants, with a suggested donation of $1.50. SCES also provides congregate meals, grocery supplements, nutrition supplements, and nutrition counseling at no cost for eligible participants.

Caregiver Support
SCES offers several programs that can assist caregivers.
Savvy Caregiver is a training program that helps family caregivers who are assisting loved ones with dementia. Held a couple of times each year, this course is a combination of lecture and developing practical strategies with the family caregivers.
Adult Family Care supports caregivers who are assisting eligible people who cannot live alone. The program provides compensation, training, and paid time off for caregivers. However, the person receiving care must be MassHealth-eligible and cannot be a spouse or legal dependent.
Family Caregiver Support helps caregivers identify services that maximize independence and quality of life. This program offers information about services, educational programs, and short-term individual or family consultation.
The Cambridge Connections Memory Café is a free monthly social event, which provides inclusive activities in a safe space for people with memory loss/forgetfulness and their caregivers.

Medical Advocates
The Medical Advocate program helps older adults navigate medical appointments in two important ways. First, volunteers help schedule and accompany older adults to appointments. They also play an important role during the appointment, helping older adults keep track of medical issues, and offering emotional support concerning medical issues when needed.

Home Care assistance
The Home Care program provides many forms of in-home help, all at no charge for eligible participants. The goal of Home Care is to identify unmet needs and coordinate services to help people live safely in their homes. Common Home Care services include personal care, food shopping, home safety adaptations, housekeeping, laundry, meal prep, transportation, and access to adult day programs. Home Care is provided at no cost for MassHealth eligible participants, with a sliding fee scale for those outside the MassHealth eligibility requirements.

This is just a quick roundup of some of our most popular free services. For more information, or a full listing, contact our Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601 or online at

Nathan Lamb is Director of Outreach and Community Relations at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES), a non-profit agency that supports the independence and well-being of older people in Somerville and Cambridge. For more information, visit, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or contact the SCES Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601 for free advice and guidance.