Senior Centers Offer Warm Respite on Cold Winter Days

On cold winter days when temperatures are well below freezing, the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders encourages residents to be aware of their health and safety. 

“As temperatures drop and wind speeds increase, heat can leave your body more rapidly,” said Freeholder Brian D. Levine, human services liaison.  “If you’re unprepared, exposure to cold temperatures – both indoors and outdoors – can cause serious health problems, especially for the elderly.”

Individuals age 65 and older are more prone to effects from the cold than younger people because they are not able to adjust to temperature changes as well.  Adult seniors also are more likely to have a medical condition or take medications that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature.  

All residents are reminded of three simple steps to be healthier during extremely cold weather:

1.     Dress in layers, and be sure to wear a warm hat.

2.     Drink lots of water and non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic beverages.

3.     Be aware of the warning signs of hypothermia in adults:  shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and/or drowsiness.


For more information on what you can do to prevent cold-related illness, visit the CDC website or http://www.emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/pdf/extreme-cold-guide.pdf 

Those who live alone should ask a friend or caregiver to check on them during a snowstorm and in frigid weather. If no one is available, contact the county Office on Aging and Disability Services to register for the Telephone Reassurance Program.

The county Telephone Reassurance Program is a free service that offers a daily phone call by trained staff to people who live alone and feel isolated from the community due to age, health problems or living arrangements.  Knowing that someone will call each day to check on an individual’s safety and well-being provides a sense of reassurance and security.

The program also helps older adults by providing information and assistance for services that will help to enhance their quality of life.  In addition, seniors who experience issues with the heat in their homes should call the Somerset County Office on Aging and Disability Services at 908-704-6346 or 1-888-747-1122 for assistance.

For those seeking to escape the cold, the Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents age 60 and above to enjoy the seven senior-wellness centers operated by the county Office on Aging and Disability Services.  Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the senior centers offer a warm respite and a variety of educational, recreational and entertaining activities for active older adults, including wellness programs and health screenings. The centers are accessible to individuals with disabilities. 

For more information, contact one of the centers listed below or call the Somerset County Office on Aging & Disability Services toll free at 1-888-747-1122.

Somerset County Senior Wellness Center

202 Mt. Airy Road, Basking Ridge

Kristen Grieco at (908) 204-3435


Hillsborough Senior Center

339 South Branch Road, Hillsborough

Janet Timari at (908) 369-8700


Manville Senior Center at Fire Company #1

20 South Third Avenue, Manville

Lisa Carra at (908) 526-0175


Montgomery Senior Center

356 Skillman Road, Skillman

Denise Crowley at (609) 466-0846


Quail Brook Senior Center

625 New Brunswick Road, Somerset

Allyson Toth at (732) 563-4213


Raritan Senior Center

614 First Avenue, Raritan

Lynda Augustine at (908) 203-0001


Warrenbrook Senior Center

500 Warrenville Road, Warren

Gwen Chalker at (908) 753-9440

Somerset County senior centers offer a wide range of experiences designed for lifelong enrichment in a social and uplifting atmosphere, intended to positively impact overall health. Choices of four lunch menus (with and without meat) are served daily at centers, which are funded in part through the Older Americans Act and the county Board of Chosen Freeholders. Many of the programs and activities are made possible through partnerships, volunteers and the generosity of donors who pay instructor and presenter fees.