The Thompson Senior Center

Mission, Vision & Goals

Community Response During Covid-19: The Thompson Senior Center

Since early spring, The Thompson Senior Center in Woodstock, Vermont has gone above and beyond to reach out to older adults in the community. While the threat of COVID-19 may have forced their doors to close, they continued to connect their members and others in the community to the resources they need. They quickly pivoted their services to offering “drive-by” meal pick-up, providing daily phone chats, delivering meals and grocery necessities, coordinating regular programs online or via conference call and much more. While The Thompson is in the process of slowly re-opening, they continue to serve their members and older adults in the community to ensure the health and safety of all. To learn more about The Thompson, visit them online here:


Mission: The Thompson helps seniors to age well in our rural community. We provide timely support and services, and are a resource and advocate on issues related to aging. Our programs and activities foster the physical, intellectual, and social well being of our adult community to enhance dignity, self-worth, and independence.

The Thompson provides daily services that promote healthy growth through:

  • Exercise classes (Fitness, Tai Chi, Yoga)
  • Entertainment, special events, trips, card games
  • Educational programs, language tables, tax assistance
  • Senior Advocacy & resource referrals, tax assistance, medical equipment, wellness initiatives, blood pressure screening
  • Nutritious and delicious meals
  • Transportation to/from the Center and to medical appointments & errands, and Volunteer opportunities

Vision: Seniors in our community will live active and full lives individually and as part of our community.

Broad Overview

The Thompson is a vibrant multipurpose senior center and Aging at Home resource center. After multiple years of significant growth, we conducted a community survey to help us with future planning to make sure we were developing our services and growing  in a thoughtful way in response to community needs. We received 500 survey responses and  identified transportation, help around the home, and access to resources as the top needs in our community. Along with the services the senior center was already providing, like meals, medical equipment, transportation, and wellness programs,  we have expanded our programs to include vetted service provider referrals, an “Age Well” educational series and newsletter, and help with odd jobs. We partner with a wide variety of businesses and individuals to bring our community members  anything  they need to age well at home.

How is your age-friendly initiative structured?

The Thompson is managed by an active board of directors made up of 18 volunteers, an executive director, and several staff members.

The structure of this Aging at Home initiative is under the umbrella of the senior center, which is a 501(c)(3). Because the senior center already has a structure in place and is viewed as the source for aging information in our community, this dynamic makes sense and works well. Our initiative is a hybrid of The Village and other aging in place models. The Thompson has an aging at home coordinator who is the hub for community referrals, medical equipment, and finding resources.   Other  staff at the center also  support our aging at home initiative and work with volunteers.

Describe any partnerships you have developed?

Community Health team of Mt. Ascutney Hospital

ArtisTree Community Arts Center

Woodstock Norman Williams Public Library

The Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living

Senior Solutions: Area Agency on Aging

Local schools for Intergenerational projects

Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital

Home Share Now

Woodstock Economic Development Council

Upper Valley Rehab


Vermont Legal Aid

What is the role of volunteers?

Volunteers are essential to every part of our operation. In 2018, our 180 volunteers gave over 8,000 volunteer hours to our initiative. They are responsible for delivering Meals On Wheels, serving meals in the senior center dining room, transportation, outreach, helping residents at home, making friendly home visits, and odd jobs.

Strategies that have contributed to your success? Barriers you have encountered?


Greatest contributors to our success have been our engaged community, active volunteers and board, and dedicated staff.


The greatest challenge has been keeping up with the capacity and having the funding to do so. Because The Thompson has grown so much over the years, we have had to find alternative ways to meet the needs of all who use our services as our building is not big enough. We now operate by the concept of “a center without walls,” meaning we try to utilize other spaces in our community such as the library and the athletic center.

Types of funding that your initiative has received

The Thompson has a mix of funding sources. The greatest source comes from fundraising, which makes up 46% of our annual budget. We also receive funding from the town, our local Area Agency on Aging for MOW, and grants. The remaining funding comes from donations for programs such as meals donations, ride donations, and rental donations.

Community Initiatives


Our transportation services have increased by 1,200 rides over the last two years. We operate a door-to-door transportation program for seniors and disabled community members from the towns of Barnard, Bridgewater, Pomfret, and Woodstock. This service runs Monday-Friday for shopping, medical appointments, and transportation to and from the senior center. The Thompson has a dispatcher, three part-time drivers, and volunteers to run this program. We get a limited amount of funding for transportation, which has been a challenge as it is our most expensive and least funded program.

Chores, Handyman & Upkeep

The Thompson has an Aging at Home Committee. Along with our coordinator, we work on meeting home repair needs on a case by case basis with either volunteers or connecting with local resources. Volunteers and staff can help with a variety of non-skilled odd jobs like putting away porch furniture and bird feeders, sweeping garages, changing smoke detector batteries, figuring out how to check a voicemail, or even put up a Christmas tree. If it’s a bigger job, we can help residents find the right person.

Health & Wellness

The Thompson offers several fitness programs for our community members such as Falls Prevention, Tai Chi, Pickleball, and Bone Builders.

Fall Prevention Clinic at The Thompson - Upper Valley Rehab offers a Fall Prevention Clinic at the Thompson Center and provides free comprehensive fall risk Screenings for people who have fallen or who have a fear of falling. At the Clinic/Assessment, a licensed physical therapist asks participants to complete a fall assessment screen which  includes a history of previous falls and what might be causing them. Additionally, a therapist screens participant’s gait, balance, range of motion, strength and sensation and ask questions regarding home environment, fear of falling concerns, and pertinent medical history that can contribute to falls. This total assessment  includes screen results, which can be sent to primary care physicians, and recommendations for treatment if needed. Each comprehensive assessment is about fifteen minutes and  requires an appointment.

Tai Chi - The Thompson offers Tai Chi classes at the Thompson Center. This program is created to help prevent falls, improves balance and coordination, may lower blood pressure and control blood sugar levels, reduce arthritis pain, improve posture and leg strength, and is a great opportunity for socialization.

Pickleball - Pickleball court time is available for Thompson patrons at the Woodstock Athletic Club. A minimum of 4 players are required for court time and a stroke/clinic rules refresher is available from a tennis professional when a group is assembled.

Bone Builders - The Bone Builders exercise program, developed at Tufts University, addresses bone health for people of all ages. Women especially may have thinning of bones as early as age 40, but men are welcome in this class and will benefit as well.

The Thompson does a number of educational programs from the Age Well Series. These monthly educational talks are presented on topics ranging from legal planning, fall prevention, funeral planning options, Smart Driver safety course, nutrition and cooking, downsizing, hospital to home transitions, advance directives, and more.

The Community Care Coordinator (CCC) is a resource to help coordinate medical care and offer information about respite care, assisted living, nursing homes and ‘aging in place’ initiatives in our communities and they link patients to Medicare and Medicaid, transportation, and financial resources.  The CCCs support the Thompson by providing home visits to patrons, facilitating a monthly Caregiver Support Luncheon, and assisting Thompson patrons with financial grants primarily related to healthcare.  The CCC has office hours at The Thompson each Friday.

Outreach & Resource Information

We use our website, Facebook page, and e-newsletter to spread information about our programs and events. Our newest e-newsletter provides readers with information on ways to “age well” at home and in your community through current and reliable information on health, lifestyle, diet, and resources.

Social, Educational & Recreational

The Thompson has partnered with ArtisTree, a community arts center, to offer creative aging projects on a monthly basis at The Thompson and through a weekly painting class at ArtisTree.

Generation to Generation Summer Camp - Older people have abundant skills and life experience to share. Younger people thrive with the support of caring adults in their lives. The Thompson has dedicated a special week in August when young people in our community come together with seniors for learning, fun, and to make meaningful connections. Other intergenerational projects take place throughout the school year with various classes.

Memoir Club - In this informal group, we encourage one another as we record stories that may otherwise be lost or forgotten. Each person has an opportunity to read aloud one to two pages each week often triggering group memories and lively discussion.

Among these programs, The Thompson also offers social events, dinner programs with guest speakers, holiday parties, travel trips, card games, and books clubs.

Food, Gardening & Cooking

The Thompson is a member of the Meals on Wheels Association of America. Volunteer drivers deliver meals Monday through Friday to senior or disabled community members. The Thompson also puts on Dining Room Meals served Monday through Friday. Food is prepared fresh each day on site by our in house chef. We serve 125 meals per day between our Dining Room Meals,  MOW, and family style meals for a local Adult Day Care program.

We are working with Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital to create a medically tailored meals program for individuals who have congestive heart failure which will begin in July, 2019.

The Thompson hosts cooking classes with a dietitian from Senior Solutions. Those who attend the class cook, sample food, and share recipes. These classes are offered four times a year.

In the summer, we have a program called Share The Harvest. The purpose of this program is for people in the community to bring extra food from their garden.

We also have lunchtime language tables at our Dining Room Meals. Each day there is a dedicated language where individuals can sit at a designated table and keep up/practice their language. Language tables have been ongoing for 20 years.

Family, Caregiving Support & Respite

The Thompson offers a monthly caregiver support group, facilitated by a counselor. This is an opportunity for caregivers to share ideas, concerns, and constructive feedback with others facing similar challenges. The Thompson also has vetted services providers who can provide caregiver services.

Fraud, Abuse & Exploitation

The Thompson has ongoing classes with AARP to provide education around fraud, abuse, and exploitation. We are also a resource and guide for those in the community to get information about current scams.

Accessibility & Walkability

Our greatest service related to accessibility and walkability is our medical equipment donation program. The Thompson has a supply of durable medical equipment to be loaned out as needed, including walkers, rollators, canes, commodes, shower chairs, wheelchairs,  other adaptive equipment, and even electric scooters. There is no charge and no time limit on borrowing these items. We also accept donations of these items when residents are finished with them.




Deanna Jones
Executive Director
The Thompson Center - Your resource to age well
Woodstock, Vermont
[email protected]
(802) 457-3277