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woman in mask with arm around older womanHome Care Workers Enjoy Flexibility and a Deep Sense of Fulfillment

Massachusetts is one of a handful of states where efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 have been widely successful, but this in no way means we are out of the woods.  While we are on solid ground, with success at our backs, we face a potential second wave.  LifePath and many other agencies have been rising to meet the continual challenges of helping those in need to survive the pandemic.

This COVID-19 pandemic has touched everyone, across the world.  One silver lining is social distancing, quarantine, and isolation gave us all a Great Pause-a time for reflection on our lives, and our communities.  We had to come to a full stop in our hurried lives and resulting from this, many are now re-evaluating their career/life paths.  For some, stepping up and helping when a family member or neighbor was in need not only deepened the strength of community, but opened up new opportunities for a highly rewarding career in Home Health Care.  The tasks Home Care workers help with-bathing, dressing, getting out of bed, meal preparation, laundry, and shopping-are critical for anyone to maintain their health and safety.

We had to come to a full stop in our hurried lives and resulting from this, many are now re-evaluating their career/life paths.  

Hospitals and medical professionals are seeing the benefit of keeping an individual at home, with services intact, rather than in a hospital or nursing facility, and thereby freeing up capacity and limiting potential exposure.  Nursing facilities sadly remain hot spots for the spread of the virus at this time and home care services are a viable and safe alternative for most.  Home Care workers are well trained and equipped with proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Due to this increase in home care necessity, there is a fast growing need for more Home Care workers.

Home Care workers are welcomed into residences, many times like family members, to provide essential services so that elders and individuals with disabilities may maintain their dignity and independence.  The majority of home care workers report a deep sense of fulfillment and job satisfaction.  They experience the privilege of making a difference in the lives of an elder, a person with a disability, and their family.  Those of you who already have a Personal Care Attendant (PCA), Homemaker, or Home Health Aide understand how vital these workers are and, in many cases, how they are a welcome break in the isolation imposed by the pandemic. 

Workers enjoy a flexible schedule and can work as much or as little as they want, which is a perfect career opportunity for the newly unemployed, the new high school or college graduate, or for a parent looking for part-time hours.  This work experience often becomes a stepping stone to a career in healthcare as Home Care workers are considered Essential Healthcare Providers. 

Perhaps you have a family member, friend, or neighbor who is looking for a new career path, who would enjoy this wonderful way to serve the community while also getting paid for rewarding work.  Please help spread the word that Home Care workers are vitally needed, now more than ever, when wellbeing can best be achieved in the safety of one’s home. 

LifePath contracts with the following Home Care agencies who are currently hiring new workers.  Training is provided: Arcadia New England, Associated Home Care, At Home Senior Care, Barton's Angels, Care Central VNA & Hospice, Catholic Charities, Elara Caring, Excel Nursing Services, Interim Healthcare, International Health Solutions, O'Connell Care at Home, Overlook VNA, and Victory Home Healthcare.  To find contact information for these agencies please visit Direct Care Worker Opportunities Outside of LifePath.

According to Mike Hynek, Human Resources Generalist at O’Connell Care at Home, “O'Connell Care at Home cannot express how thankful we are for all the aides that are currently working on the front lines.  We recognize their immense sacrifices and understand the important role they play in keeping our communities safe during these trying times."  O’Connell Care at Home is currently hiring for Home Care Aide positions in all four of their offices located in Deerfield, Springfield, Holyoke, and Westfield.  Anyone with experience in being a PCA, HHA, or CNA is encouraged to apply, as is anyone with interest in Home Care.  Please visit O'Connell Care at Home's Career Opportunities webpage to learn more about available positions.

Also, Catholic Charities is holding a job fair on August 4th, 2020, at 91 Main St., Greenfield, MA, 01301, from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., in the back of the parking lot to allow for social distancing.  According to Paula Nicholson, Regional Supervisor of Catholic Charities’ Greenfield/Shelburne Falls offices, Home Care workers who work for Catholic Charities provide a range of services from basic house cleaning, laundry, and groceries; as well as personal care, appointment escorts, and companionship.  “It is an excellent opportunity for anyone who wants either full- or part-time work, or even retirees looking for some extra income.  Benefits are available,” says Nicholson, “Because our clients depend on our services, we are looking for responsible workers who can be dedicated to the care of these people.  If you are interested in this opportunity, please call us at 800-244-4563.”

hand putting final wooden block with medical symbol on other blocks with different medical symbolsJoin Community Medical Providers Tuesday, July 28, from 2-3:30 p.m.

LifePath is pleased to present the second in our series of virtual forums on Tuesday, July 28, from 2-3:30 p.m.!  Healthcare Beyond COVID-19 will be hosted by AOTV via Zoom video or phone conference.  All are welcome to attend.

COVID-19 poses a higher health risk and has a greater impact on quality of life for elders and people with disabilities.

COVID-19 poses a higher health risk and has a greater impact on quality of life for elders and people with disabilities.  The goal of this forum is to highlight the needs of these individuals for accessing ongoing, non-COVID-related healthcare during the COVID-19 crisis, and to share the work that LifePath and community medical providers are doing to meet these needs.  Panelists will include representatives from LifePath, Heywood Medical Group, and other medical providers.

Registration is not required.  You can join at the time of the event online at zoom.us/join or via phone at 646-558-8656.  You will need to enter the following information to access the forum:

Meeting ID: 821 1267 9765
Password: 401618

Participants are invited to bring their questions and comments.  We hope to see you there!  Please take a moment to tell us about yourself before the forum and let us know what questions you would like to ask the panel at https://bit.ly/32gOYhI.  

Thanks to AOTV and our partner organizations for helping make these events possible.

Attorney Pamela OddyAttorney Pamela OddyMost couples that I work with to create an estate plan have chosen not to share their finances with their children. When to tell children about a parent’s finances is tricky at best. There are many times that I receive telephone calls from a worried and frightened adult child stating that his/her parent has just had a massive stroke or has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and the child hopes that I have a record of the parent’s finances. The parent’s lawyer is not always a good place to turn for this information because the parent might not have seen or talked to the lawyer for many years, making any financial information gathered during the will interview obsolete. Oftentimes, the child does not even know what bank holds the parent’s checking account or if the parent has certificates of deposit or if the parent has investments of any kind and where they are.

When to tell children about a parent’s finances is tricky at best.

Sometimes, there is an immature or troubled child that makes the parent reluctant to share any knowledge about finances. Sometimes, the parent is involved in a second marriage with children from both marriages, which makes it quite complicated to explain anything about finances. And sometimes the parent just does not want to share anything, instead keeping everything private.

The bottom line is that there is no magic time to share your finances with your children, but here are some suggestions to help you determine when is the right time to open up and sit your children down and explain what’s what and also what’s where:

1. Make a list of your assets, similar to a spreadsheet, that contains the name or names on each asset and where it is. For example, list all bank accounts separately and put the account number and bank where these bank accounts are. A good idea is to update this list every year—make it a New Year’s resolution to redraft the list. If there are no changes, fine, but if there are changes, make sure they are noted on your list. Be sure to tell your children where they can find the list. What good is making out the list if no one knows where it is?

2. Tell your children who your lawyer is and also who your financial advisor is. Often, the financial advisor will have information on investments or mutual funds or stock portfolios that your children would have no way of knowing. The lawyer just might be holding the parent’s original will and powers of attorney.

3. Perhaps hold a family meeting so that you can explain a.) where your list is; b.) why you chose one child over another to be your power of attorney and personal representative (formerly known as “executor”) of your will; and c.) what your end of life medical decisions would be if you were not mentally able to make those decisions.

This information is designed to allow and facilitate the child to help the parent when the parent is no longer able to make decisions. It is not a time to let the child guess what assets the parent has or wonder if the parent has any life insurance or suspect that the parent has pre-paid the funeral or surmise that the lawyer is holding the parent’s original will. The end of life is not a time to be doing any of these things because it could actually result in prohibiting the child from helping the parent just when the parent really needs the help. The timing of sharing the parent’s finances with a child is a moving target and cannot be prejudged as to when is the best time, but, at some point, it absolutely needs to be done.

South County Senior Center team member Nicole promotes her participation.South County Senior Center team member Nicole promotes her participation.Over the 28 years LifePath has hosted its annual Walkathon, participation has always been key. This year was no exception. Though this year’s event fundraising total is down 35% from 2019, we are so grateful for the 332 gifts secured in support of underfunded programs serving elders, individuals with disabilities, and their caregivers. Here’s a look at the breakdown of support:

Sponsorship: $17,921 

Donations from individuals: $27,622

Total raised through 2020 Walkathon: $45,543

We know businesses had their own set of considerations this year. To those who participated as sponsors, thank you for making LifePath a priority. Your support meant more than ever.  We offer special thanks to Greenfield Savings Bank as our lead sponsor for their continued generosity.

Though this year’s event fundraising total is down 35% from 2019, we are so grateful for the 332 gifts secured in support of underfunded programs serving elders, individuals with disabilities, and their caregivers.

The 2020 team fundraising effort truly demonstrates the power of participation. Though the overall team count was down by almost half, the fundraising didn't reflect that full decrease. Teams such as Cheryl’s Pride, the Warwick Walkers, and Ambling Allies raised more money than they did last year, and others came close to their previous tallies. Yes - that's the power of participation!

We have the distinct honor of recognizing the 2020 top fundraising teams and their captains:

First Place: 
$2915, Cheryl’s Pride, Brittani Brooks

Second Place:
$2800, Food Brood, Debbie Mumblo

Third Place (in a too-close-to-call tie):
$2675, Rethermalytes, Charlie Cornish
$2687, South County Senior Center, Sue Corey

Here's a look at the full list of team tallies as of June 30:

$1276 Ambling Allies
$ 800 Arbors
$ 146 Buckley
$2915 Cheryl’s Pride
$1293 Clogston Cloggers
$ 301 Elm Street Ambulators
$ 625 First Congregational Church of Montague
$1900 First Congregational Church of Shelburne
$2800 Food Brood
$ 100 Gill/Montague Senior Center
$ 500 Greenfield Savings Bank
$1065 Leverett Senior Lunch
$ 100 Orange United Methodist/Friends of Frank
$ 280 Petersham Council on Aging
$2675 Rethermalytes
$2687 South County Senior Center
$2082 Warwick Walkers

Thanks to these individual fundraisers who, collectively, raised more than $4000!:

Joanie Bernstein
Patrick Falvey
Lynne Feldman
Karen Fogliatti
Jim Geisman
Mary Giannetti
Lisa Middents
Annette Szpila
Victoria Valenti-Triggs

To everyone who submitted wonderful photos and video content to include in the virtual presentation - thank you for participating in that way. The video is available for viewing under the “Videos” section of our Facebook page or on our website

We are humbled by the spirit we felt from the community throughout the 2020 Walkathon season. You’ve shown us the power of participation once again!

Thank you for making those we serve, and the programs and services we offer, priorities through your participation.

Erin T. Lamoureux PhD, RN, GCNS-BCErin T. Lamoureux PhD, RN, GCNS-BCWe are living in uncertain times. Since mid-March the United States has reported cases of COVID-19 in 50 states. This virus has created an environment of social distancing and stay-at-home advisories. It has changed many of our “normal” everyday routines, such as doctor visits.

Continuity of care from medical doctors for chronic illnesses is important, even during this COVID-19 period, to prevent worsening of chronic conditions. 

As the population ages, more older adults are living with one or more chronic illnesses. Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are not taking a vacation during this present pandemic. Continuity of care from medical doctors for chronic illnesses is important, even during this COVID-19 period, to prevent worsening of chronic conditions. At this time, some doctors are seeing patients in person with the necessary precautions in place to limit the spread of the virus. Other doctors are seeing patients through video or telephone visits. Whether you are seeing your doctor in person or through other forms of communication, it is important to prepare for the visit ahead of time.

Prior to the visit:

  1. Arrange appointments early in the day, when you are less tired.
  2. Ask that any forms that will need to be filled out at the time of the visit be sent to you ahead of time, so that you can fill them out at your leisure. 
  3. Bring insurance cards, a list of current medications (including any over-the-counter medications), a list of allergies, your pharmacy location and number, eyeglasses, and hearing aids.
  4. Bring a small notebook with a list of priority concerns, questions, and any changes in your health status written in the notebook ahead of time. You may also write important notes pertaining to the doctor’s visit in this notebook to review later.

During the visit:

  1. If you do not hear or understand what the doctor is saying, do not be afraid to ask him/her to speak louder, slower, or to repeat misunderstood information.
  2. Share pertinent information such as hospitalizations and tests (blood work, x rays). If you see several doctors, do not assume that all information is shared among all doctors.
  3. Do not be afraid to share any personal changes you are experiencing with the doctor, such as memory issues, incontinence, or feelings of sadness or depression.
  4. Share any new changes in functional ability that may be limiting your activities of daily living such as shortness of breath with activity or weakness in upper or lower extremities.
  5. Ask that all necessary information and/or instructions be given to you, in print, at the end of the appointment. Ask for available handouts/brochures related to your medical diagnosis or treatment, for review later.

Doctor visits are successful if you plan ahead!