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Local workshop for those with chronic health conditions

HLHealthy Living workshops have been shown to help people feel more hopeful and supported, have more energy and experience less fatigue, as well as exercise more, experience better relationships with their doctors, and reduce doctor and emergency room visits.Do you want to gain confidence to better manage the challenges of chronic illness? The Healthy Living Program at LifePath offers free, evidence-based workshops that focus on:

  • managing chronic conditions
  • managing diabetes
  • managing pain
  • falls prevention
  • healthy eating

Groups meet weekly for several weeks in different communities and are led by local volunteer leaders. Caregivers and loved ones are welcome to attend.

My Life, My Health: Living Well with Chronic Conditions

The next free workshop series, “My Life, My Health: Living Well with Chronic Conditions,” is for individuals with chronic physical and/or emotional challenges. The workshop series teaches valuable skills such as pain and fatigue management, healthy nutrition practices, exercise techniques, communicating with medical providers and family, relaxation and breathing methods, and medication management. The six-week workshop takes place on Thursdays, starting July 6, 2017, at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield. To register, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 413-773-5555 x2304 or 978-544-2259 x2304.

“A huge part of these workshop series is the group environment,” says Marcus. “We’ve found time and time again that having a group of people to come together to talk about a subject that concerns them really helps people learn the material more easily and gain a lot more out of the material.”

“This program is like someone lighted a match under me,” says one workshop participant.

Chronic Pain Self-Management

Later in July, Healthy Living will offer a workshop on “Chronic Pain Self-Management.” This workshop will show you ways to become an active participant in your pain treatment – engaging in problem-solving, pacing, decision-making, and taking actions to manage your pain. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 413-773-5555 x2304 or 978-544-2259 x2304 for more details or to register.

Learn more about Healthy Living

See all upcoming Healthy Living workshops.

Let’s keep our promises to seniors, families, and people with disabilities

Warren Official PortraitSenator Elizabeth WarrenOne of my top priorities since joining the U.S. Senate in 2013 has been fighting to ensure seniors and people with disabilities have the support they need to live with dignity and economic security.

Today I’m really worried about the new federal budget proposed by President Donald Trump’s Administration. The president’s proposed budget would take a meat ax to many important programs that directly benefit people in Massachusetts. For example, President Trump’s budget would:

  • Eliminate federal funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps about 120,000 Massachusetts households with elderly family members, people with disabilities, and young children stay warm during the cold winter months.
  • Slash funding by more than 25 percent for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which last year helped feed 779,000 people in Massachusetts, nearly half of whom are in families with members who are elderly or who have disabilities.
  • Cut more than $70 billion from vital income assistance programs for people with disabilities – including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • Eliminate the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which helps organizations right here in Franklin County and across the Commonwealth provide essential services like Meals on Wheels.
  • Eliminate the Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone (SHINE) health counseling program. This program last year helped about 75,000 people across Massachusetts navigate basic health plans like Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, Prescription Advantage, Health Safety Net and other programs. Thanks to SHINE and the program’s more than 600 trained volunteers, many seniors and families across the Commonwealth were able to access free health insurance counseling.

This budget proposal is wrongheaded and reckless. And it comes just after House Republicans passed their health care repeal bill, legislation that would slash Medicaid spending by $834 billion. These are cuts that would directly hurt people with disabilities, working families, babies, and seniors in nursing homes. Why make these cuts? All so that Congress can give giant tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.

These are the wrong priorities for our country. The federal government should invest in America’s families, to make sure that every person has a real opportunity to build a future – we should not break the promises we’ve made to seniors, families, and people with disabilities. To defeat this budget, all of us must fight back. As Senator from Massachusetts and as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the Special Committee on Aging, I’m staying focused on these fights every day. I hope you will join me.

If you would like to contact me about any issues you’re concerned about, or if you need help with a federal agency, please don’t hesitate to call my Western Massachusetts office in Springfield at 413-788-2690 or email me.

On Tuesday, July 11, 2017, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Rainbow Elders of LifePath will host their annual summer picnic in the daylily gardens at a private residence in Greenfield. Attendees of this afternoon gathering will enjoy a catered meal, meander through the gardens on 15 and a half acres of land, and meet with LGBTIQA friends old and new.

Rainbow Elders builds connections among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, asexual, and aromatic elders and their allies.

RSVP by July 6 online or contact Lynne Feldman, Director of Community Services at LifePath: call 413-775-5555 x2215 or 978-544-2259 x2215 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You will receive a confirmation with directions. The rain date is July 12; registrants will receive a call or email should the event be rained out.

Rainbow Elders 2016 Summer Picnic gardensThe Rainbow Elders summer picnic is a gathering for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, asexual, and aromatic elders and their allies.This is free, thanks in part to sponsors, Czelusniak Funeral Home of Northampton, Lathrop Communication, and Victory Home Healthcare. Donations are welcome and will be used to cover expenses for this and future Rainbow Elders events. This is a drug-, alcohol-, and fragrance-free event.

Financial exploitation can happen to any elder

RoseannMartocciaHeadshotExecutive Director Roseann MartocciaJune 15 marked the annual recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder abuse means different things, including physical, emotional or sexual abuse, and self-neglect as well as financial exploitation. Financial exploitation of an elder by another person is perhaps one of the most underreported types of elder abuse.

What is elder financial exploitation?

Financial exploitation often involves a person the elder knows such as a family member or a person the elder has grown to trust such as a caretaker. It may also involve a person who holds legal authority such as a power of attorney. Elders themselves may be reluctant to tell others about financial exploitation as they feel ashamed, trapped, scared, frustrated or helpless.

Financial exploitation can impact an elder in many ways, including access to food, their medications, and utilities, ability to maintain their home, pay their taxes or get the care they need in their home or in a nursing facility.

What are some signs that an elder is being abused financially?

There are some places in the community where clues to financial exploitation may come to light. Changes in behavior, spending patterns, or going to the bank with a new person to make transactions may be signals that something unfavorable to the elder and their finances is occurring. Likewise, if the elder describes falling on hard times financially or if their home is falling into disrepair when money has not previously been a problem can indicate that someone is having undue influence. Cognitive impairment or dementia can complicate the elder’s understanding of their finances or if the person helping them to manage their bills and money is doing so in their best interest.

What can I do about elder financial exploitation?

If you know of an elder who you think is being taken advantage of financially by another party, make a report to Elder Protective Services. Protective Services, first and foremost, works with the elder to alleviate risk, protect their remaining assets and maintain their independence in the community. Should the matter involve criminal activity, Protective Services will work with law enforcement or the District Attorney’s office. If you see red flags, circumstances that don’t seem right or observations that make you or the elder uneasy, don’t hesitate to make a report. By making a report, you may be helping to keep an elder safe or prevent them from losing any more of their financial resources. Prevention is the best way to avoid the start or continuation of elder financial exploitation. If Protective Services becomes involved, they will work with the elder to provide interventions and minimize further financial risk.

How do I report elder abuse?

As of June 30, 2017, all reports will be taken by calling 1-800-922-2275 anytime (24/7). The Executive Office of Elder Affairs has moved to a centralized system for reporting. Once a report is made, all Protective Services work will be done locally by a Protective Services Agency such as LifePath.

low visionIf you wear glasses or have tried other corrective vision options but are still unable to see clearly, you may have low vision. For the best outcome, see your doctor right away.For people with low vision, everyday activities can be a challenge. People with low vision don’t see well even with standard glasses, contact lenses, surgery, or medicine. They may have trouble reading traffic signs or recognizing faces. It can be challenging to match clothes of different colors. The lighting in a room may often seem too dim.

Low vision can be caused by an eye injury or a disease such as glaucoma. Glaucoma damages the nerves that carry visual signals from the eye to the brain. Millions of Americans have low vision. Most are over age 65.

If you have a problem with your vision, you should see a doctor right away. The sooner an eye problem is detected and treated, the greater your chance of keeping your remaining vision.

Some eye doctors specialize in helping people with low vision. These specialists can help you cope with vision loss. They can teach you new ways to do everyday tasks. They can also offer training and devices to help with reading, cooking, shopping, and other activities.

“A vision rehabilitation plan helps people reach their true visual potential when nothing more can be done from a medical or surgical standpoint,” says Dr. Mark Wilkinson, a low vision specialist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers many resources to help people with low vision. A 20-page booklet, “Living With Low Vision: What you should know,” and companion video feature inspiring stories of people living with low vision can be found with other resources at www.nei.nih.gov/lowvision.

Article reprinted from the National Institutes of Health March 2017 News in Health, available online at newsinhealth.nih.gov.