After looking at the CMMCP public education program in 2010, it became apparent that there was no specific education being given to another group with elevated risk for mosquito-borne disease; seniors citizens. It was this absence that led to the development of the "CMMCP Mosquito Education Program for Seniors". This past season the program was initiated on a limited basis to help refine and develop its material before a more project-wide application in the following years.
The program focuses on basic mosquito biology, risk factors, disease information, and prevention strategies that are geared toward this older population. The entire CMMCP suite of services is also discussed, which emphasizes the multifaceted, integrated pest management approach of the Project. At the conclusion of the presentation, seniors are also encouraged to ask questions on topics that they wish to be clarified or on anything that weren't addressed. CMMCP materials and mosquito repellant wipes are also distributed to those in attendance.
The first presentation was conducted at the Auburn Senior Center on May 12, 2011. This location was selected primarily because of the elevated West Nile virus activity in the area over the past couple of years. Town health officials were in attendance, but audience presence was not overly high, possibly due to a lack of advertisement. Despite lower attendance, this presentation was recorded and broadcast on the local public access channel for seniors and other local residents who were unable to attend. The presentation was also recorded and placed on the CMMCP YouTube page, where it can be viewed by anyone at anytime. These media outlets help extend this important information to the entire CMMCP service area and beyond.
After making some minor revisions to the program, the presentation was conducted at Westborough Senior Center on June 14, 2011. This location was selected in part because we have had historical virus activity in this area, which is also adjacent to Westborough’s Great Cedar Swamp. This presentation was run through the Westborough Senior Center’s monthly “Lunch and Learn Program”, where seniors are provided with a lunch while they participate in a seasonal education program. Although this session wasn’t recorded for public access, it was well attended by town residents. The program was heavily advertised in the senior center bulletin and also on the entrance sign by Main Street.
Overall, this initial run of the CMMCP Mosquito Education Program for Seniors was a success and will be continued in the future. The experience from these presentations will be incorporated into revisions for sessions in upcoming years. Senior center directors will be contacted in advance to establish interest and dates for presentations. With both the Elementary School Education Program and the Mosquito Education Program for Seniors, CMMCP is now helping educate two of the higher risk groups for mosquito-borne disease.
Please contact Frank Cornine for more information on the CMMCP Mosquito Education Program for Seniors.