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West New Salem Walk Route – New Salem, Mass.

The West New Salem walk route is a 3.4-mile roundtrip walk set back from Route 202 in New Salem, Massachusetts. The walk is featured as a part of the Franklin County Walk initiative encouraging Franklin County residents to explore scenic walks for fitness and health. This walk will not disappoint walkers in search of natural beauty as they meander through quiet back roads and travel around Poor Farm Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, part of a large expanse of conservation land in New Salem. The sanctuary provides forest habitat for warblers and ground nesting birds as well as large mammals, including bobcats, black bears, and moose. 

The walk route itself switches from paved road to narrow dirt roads in the thick of the woods, traveling up a moderate incline and then working its way back down. Depending on walkers’ abilities, they may find the moderate incline and rocky dirt roads challenging; however, there are beautiful places to stop and take in the surroundings. The route also gives walkers the opportunity to visit the New Salem Common Historic District. Featured points of interests for visitors include the New Salem General Store, New Salem Cemetery, New Salem Town Hall, and the 1794 Meetinghouse. 

Sept 2017 Walk Franklin County New Salem photo web

Directions to New Salem Center from eastbound (or Greenfield area): Take Route MA-2 E/MA-2A E heading toward Orange. Take Exit 15 MA-122 toward Orange/Worcester. Shortly after taking exit, turn right onto MA-122 S (signs for New Salem/Worcester). Take a slight right onto US-202 S following the road for approximately four miles. Wendell Road will be on the right-hand side, and there are opportunities to park alongside road.

Click here to view more photos and find links to download a map of this and other walking trails across Franklin County.

Vehicle titles

Pam OddyAttorney Pamela OddyMany people assume that adding another name, such as a daughter’s or a son’s, to the title of their vehicle will automatically create a joint tenancy. The purpose of establishing joint ownership of the vehicle is to avoid probate upon the death of the parent.

Unfortunately, the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) does not consider a second name, other than a spouse, on the vehicle’s title to be a co-owner. Therefore, if a parent adds a child’s name to the title, the vehicle will not automatically revert to the person whose name is listed second on the title. Instead, the vehicle will be considered to be owned by the parent in his/her name alone and will have to go through probate upon the death of the parent.  After the parent has died, the task of transferring the vehicle becomes the responsibility of the (probate) court appointed Personal Representative.

On the other hand, the DMV considers a vehicle which is titled in the names of two spouses to be jointly-owned. And a vehicle owned by one spouse in that person’s name alone will be easily transferred, upon death, to the surviving spouse by providing specific documents, including a form certified by the insurance company that insures the car, even though the surviving spouse’s name is not on the title.

The views expressed in this column represent general information. To address your particular and specific needs consult your own attorney. If you need help with referral to an attorney, contact the Franklin County Bar Association at (413) 773-9839 or the Worcester County Bar Association at (978) 752-1311. Elder law resources may be found through the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Massachusetts Chapter, online or 617-566-5640.

Community Legal Aid (CLA) provides legal services free to people age 60 and older for civil legal matters with an emphasis on access to health care coverage (MassHealth and Medicare) and public benefits as well as tenants’ rights. A request for legal assistance can be made by phone at 413-774-3747 or toll-free 1-855-252-5342 during their intake hours (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and Wednesday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.) or any time online.

Learn about money-saving resources for renters and homeowners

If you’re 60 or older, you may not know something that could be saving you money on your home heating and electric bills. Fortunately, you have two opportunities in early October to learn what you’re missing out on.

“Energy Savings for Seniors”iStock 000016386062XSmall is a free, annual event offered by the Benefits Counseling Program at LifePath. The event takes place at two locations each fall, and this year those are:

  • October 3, 2017, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., at Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, Mass.
  • October 4, 2017, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., at Athol Senior Center, 82 Freedom Street, Athol, Mass.

Local experts at these energy events will share information with persons age 60+ and their family and/or caregivers, as well as home care agency staff, about home energy benefits they qualify for that will help them save money, gain access to free or low-cost weatherization programs, and obtain rebates for energy efficient appliances. New this year will be some discussion of mini splits and solar for low-income households. One-on-one assistance for home owners and renters will be available.

Both locations are accessible and have nearby parking. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Preregister online.

More help is always available through the Benefits Counseling Program. To meet one-on-one with a benefits counselor, contact us.

LifePath’s Nutrition Program – a path to better health

Karen Lentner head shotNutritionist Karen LentnerMalnutrition is an epidemic that affects nearly 50 percent of elders. It can affect both the overweight and underweight, and can impact our ability to remain healthy and independent. The amount and quality of food you eat are critical for good health.

If you are age 60, homebound, and unable to prepare your meals or attend a congregate meal site, you may want to consider Meals on Wheels.

The Elderly Nutrition Program at LifePath, in cooperation with other programs throughout Massachusetts, serves more than nine million nutritionally-balanced meals to approximately 75,000 elders each year across our state. Meals are provided at approximately 400 congregate sites in Massachusetts, and more than half of the meals are delivered to elders in their homes through the Meals on Wheels program. Meals on Wheels provides nutritionally balanced noontime meals to homebound elders, delivered by dedicated volunteer drivers. LifePath’s volunteers deliver the meals and ensure daily contact and a wellness check for elders who are alone.

Registered dietitians create the menus for all of our home-delivered meals and congregate meal sites based on current federal and state guidelines. The meals contain approximately one third of the current daily Recommended Dietary Allowance of nutrients and take into consideration the special dietary needs of our elderly participants. Many things are considered when a menu is created, including variety of foods, color, appeal, texture, consistency, cost, and nutritional value. The average meal provides approximately 700 calories, a good source of vitamin C, a meat or meat alternative providing 15-21 grams of protein per serving, and eight ounces of fortified low-fat milk. In addition, we incorporate high-fiber food sources, including fruit and/or fresh fruit three times weekly, vegetables and/or soup daily, and high-fiber bread three times weekly. We aim to limit the fat content to approximately 30 percent of total calories and the sodium content to an average of 800 mg per day. We post the sodium and calorie content of every food item on the menu for individuals who are monitoring their sodium intake. There are no more than two high sodium meals (greater than 1200 mg sodium) served per month. Therapeutic meals for special diets are available if prescribed by your healthcare provider.

Collaboratively, our dietitians and caterer are always looking at new recipes, meal combinations, alternative herbs and seasonings to enhance the flavor of meals, and healthy alternatives that meet the health needs of our elders. It is our goal to provide meals that are nutritious, flavorful, and appealing to ensure elders are consuming their meals. A registered dietitian also provides nutrition education at our senior centers and individual counseling for homebound clients receiving Meals on Wheels.

Consider joining us for a meal at one of our dining centers (find a complete list here) or contact LifePath to set up Meals on Wheels.

Charlemont Center Walk Routes – Charlemont, Mass.

The Charlemont Center walk routes travel past numerous businesses in beautiful downtown Charlemont. Points of interest on this walk include A.L. Avery and Sons General Store, Warfield House, and the Deerfield River Bridge, as well as places to stop to browse outdoor equipment and grab a bite to eat. Part of the Walk Franklin County initiative to encourage fitness through exploring scenic walks in our area, the Charlemont Center Routes are one and two miles in length.

For this walk, there are two options varying in length and difficulty making it accessible to experienced and novice walkers alike! The one-mile walk is flat and within the downtown area. After strolling past area businesses, walkers will end up at the bridge overlooking the Deerfield River where they can take in lovely views. The two-mile walk includes a steep climb up Warfield Road to Warfield House, where walkers can experience stunning views of surrounding mountains. For convenient parking, walkers can park at the Hawlemont School.

Sept 2017 Walk Franklin County Charlemont photo web

Directions from 1-91 Northbound: Take Exit 26 to MA-2A/MA- 2. At the rotary (traffic circle), take third exit toward Route 2 West. Follow Route 2 for approximately 20 minutes (17.5 miles); Hawlemont School will be on left side. Directions from I-91 Southbound: Take Exit 26 toward Route 2, take first exit off rotary and continue as written above. 

Click here to view more photos and find links to download a map of this and other walking trails across Franklin County.