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KarenLentnerAre you looking for ways to improve your health and brain function, prevent disease, and control your weight? You may want to consider the Mediterranean diet, still honored as the number one overall diet in America by U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking. The Mediterranean diet is not necessarily about cutting calories. It is a way of life that encourages eating a variety of whole and nourishing foods with family and friends, and also having a more active lifestyle. After years of popularity, studies continue to conclude that the Mediterranean diet may reduce your risk of cardiac disease, cancer, stroke, inflammation, and Alzheimer’s disease, and in older populations may improve overall brain function.

The Mediterranean diet is a well-balanced healthy eating plan that incorporates several plant–based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and healthy fats such as olive oil. It encourages using herbs and spices to flavor foods instead of salt, eating fish and poultry at least twice per week, small amounts of dairy including low fat yogurt and cheese, and limiting processed foods, sweets, and meat. Consider seasonal and fresh foods whenever possible. These foods are the foundation of traditional cooking styles in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea including Italy, Spain and Greece.

A salad with cucumbers, greens, tomatoes, and croutons in a blue striped bowl.Traditional whole grains in the Mediterranean region include brown, red, or black rice; barley; farro; quinoa; and whole grain breads eaten plain or dipped in olive oil instead of butter. Consider oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, or hummus with raw vegetables for a snack. Look for the term “whole grain” on labels, in bread, pasta, or rice, limiting white and refined grains and bread. Extra fiber also helps you feel full for longer periods of time, which is beneficial for weight control.

Fruits and vegetables are encouraged in the Mediterranean diet. They are rich in nutrients or “nutrient-dense,” low in calories, high in fiber, and contain beneficial compounds such as antioxidants that help protect against free radicals, which may cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other diseases of aging. Research consistently shows that consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of chronic disease. Farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and community gardens are still harvesting many fresh fruits and vegetables this time of year. Make it a goal to fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits.

Healthy fats including olive oil, avocados, nuts, and fish such as salmon and sardines (rich in omega-3 fatty acids), are encouraged. Cook with olive oil instead of butter, in moderation if watching your weight. Try using olive oil in salad dressings and for roasting vegetables.

In order to fully benefit from the Mediterranean diet, also consider lifestyle changes. Cooking and sharing your food with family and friends provides social support and a sense of community. Look for ways to exercise and become more active. Consider walking with a friend for at least 30 minutes daily or try a yoga or tai chi class to improve balance and strength. Remember to drink plenty of fluids, especially water.

Try healthier choices for meals and snacks. Instead of hamburgers, substitute a salmon or veggie burger; quinoa instead of white rice; carrot, celery, or cucumber sticks instead of chips or crackers; yogurt instead of ice cream; whole grain bread instead of a white roll; and hummus spread instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich or wrap. Consider tomato, cucumber, and green lettuce sprinkled with olive oil, lemon, and oregano or basil to create a wonderful blend of flavors!

The principles of the Mediterranean lifestyle are important to remember, but equally important is creating a realistic eating plan that works for you. Many cultures incorporate similar foods that may be included in your eating plan. For example, Asian stir-fries and Indian vegetable curries are highlighted in other parts of the world, and contain many of the same healthy ingredients. You may incorporate other nutritious ingredients or spices and reap the benefits of healthy eating. As you begin, consider increasing the number of servings of fruits and vegetables or whole grains into your diet while adding daily physical activity. As time goes on, gradually increase the healthy foods and exercise.

Keep it simple and affordable. Here are some shopping tips to consider:

  • Choose more fruits and vegetables. Consider fresh in-season, or try frozen fruits and vegetables, or fruits canned in juice.
  • Select breads with whole grain or whole wheat as the first ingredient on the label. Focus on 4 or more grams of fiber per serving.
  • Choose extra virgin olive oil over butter.
  • Try whole grain pasta or brown rice.
  • Substitute legumes (dried or canned) such as beans and lentils; nuts; seafood; tofu; and eggs for meat.
  • If fresh fish is too expensive, try fresh-caught frozen. Canned fish, such as salmon or tuna, are also good alternatives.

Start your healthy lifestyle journey to better health today!

Join friends for a meal at your local senior center or consider Meals on Wheels. For more information, contact LifePath at 413-773-5555, 978-544-2259, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Barbara Bodzin, Executive DirectorBarbara Bodzin, Executive DirectorAs our relationship with television has evolved, many have been left wondering if continuing to pay for cable or satellite TV is money well spent. With the average cable package costing American homes $217 per month, this is an especially important consideration for older adults, many of whom live on a fixed income. However, with the myriad of streaming services available, and with new technology to learn, deciding to make the switch to a streaming provider can feel overwhelming. 

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of making a change to your services is key. Cable and satellite TV, where programming is provided through cables connected to your home or via a satellite dish, saw the height of popularity in the early 2010s, with 90% of US TV households subscribing to one of these services. Since then, popularity has dropped significantly, with only 56% of TV households using cable or satellite service in 2021. This shift can be attributed to rising cable and satellite subscription costs, more readily available online content, and the rise in popularity of streaming services, which are often less restrictive and more budget-friendly than their cable or satellite counterparts.

Streaming differs from satellite and cable because it uses your home’s internet to transmit programming to your television, or any connected device, such as a computer, phone, or tablet. Still, for some, cable or satellite may be the best option. In this case, it’s still advisable to make sure you are getting the best service to meet your needs. offers a helpful tool that can compare TV services in your area and provide information on popular streaming services, such as Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and many others.

One way to determine if a streaming service is a good option for you is to consider how you watch TV and the programming you enjoy watching. If there are certain networks that you don’t want to lose, make a list and use a comparison tool, such as the one offered by The Streamable, to compare different streaming services for both price and channel lineup. Many streaming services offer access to live TV, similar to cable and satellite providers, but others do not, or have plans that include only on-demand streaming. With on-demand, you have the ability to start a show at your convenience, but these services may not include programming such as local news or other shows that you are used to watching.  Some streaming services may also offer ad-free viewing options, usually at a premium cost.

Another important consideration when it comes to “cutting the cord” is the strength of your home internet. TV streaming relies on a stable internet connection to function. For smooth streaming, it is recommended to have an internet download speed between 3–25 Mbps (megabits per second). While most of us don’t know our home internet speed off the top of our head, luckily, it is easy to find out. Go to and search for “internet speed test.” Click the “Run speed test” button and wait for the test to provide results. If your download speed falls within or above the recommended speed, changing to a streaming TV provider should be a viable option for you. If you find your speeds are below the recommendation, any savings you may see by switching to a streaming provider may be impacted by needing to upgrade your internet service. 

Lastly, you need to have a way to connect your television to the internet. If you have a newer TV, it may have this function built in; any television marketed as a ‘Smart TV’ will have internet connection capabilities. If your TV is not able to connect to the internet on its own, there are several devices available that provide this capability, such as Amazon Fire Stick, Roku, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast. These devices vary in price, generally ranging from $20 to $200, but all will allow any TV with an HDMI port to stream digital content. If your television does not have an HDMI port, Roku does make a device that connects using the red, yellow, and white composite jacks found on older TVs. 

Example of an HDMI port (left) and composite jacks (center and right).

Help is Available

Switching to a new service can still be intimidating, even after you make the decision to do so. New services come with new devices, remotes, cables, and network sign-ins, all of which can deter people who are less comfortable with technology from making the shift to a streaming provider. Help is available! Older adults can receive free technology assistance by calling Cyber Seniors ( at 844-217-3057 or Senior Planet ( at 888-713-3495. Both services also have options available to provide assistance through video platforms. Contact LifePath at 413-773-5555 to find out about additional local resources, such as local Villages offering volunteer technology help.

If you are ‘technologically gifted’ and have some time to give, please consider sharing your skills with others. Tech-savvy volunteers are needed in a number of programs!  Please contact Carmela Lanza-Weil, Associate Director of Volunteer Resources, at 413-773-5555 x 3006, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make an appointment to discuss ways you can get involved.

Carol Foote, Outreach and Development DirectorCarol Foote, Outreach and Development DirectorEach month, the Stop & Shop Bloomin’ 4 Good Program selects an “exceptional hunger organization” local to each store to benefit from the sale of specially marked $10.99 Bloomin’ 4 Good bouquets. We are delighted to share that for the month of September 2022—abracadabra!—LifePath is the selected organization, with proceeds directed toward our Meals on Wheels and nutrition programs!

When you need a colorful bouquet for a special occasion or “just because,” swing by the Stop & Shop at 89 French King Highway in Greenfield and purchase a Bloomin' 4 Good bouquet (look for the red circle!). 

Bloomin’ 4 Good bouquets are a vibrant mix of flowers arranged to brighten spirits and celebrate milestones. For each bouquet purchased for $10.99 (plus tax), LifePath will receive a $1.00 donation from this Stop & Shop program. Voilà! 

There’s no hocus pocus here. With each $1 LifePath receives, our flagship program, Meals on Wheels, benefits, and so do the people who receive meals and a wellness check. To further support nutritional needs in this community, this summer LifePath added a supper meal option to our Meals on Wheels offerings - shazam! LifePath also hosts a number of other nutrition-based support programs including the new-this-year Farm to Home Food Program and a grocery shopping service.

wrapped flowers with promo circleWe are always in need of more volunteers who play a vital role in delivering LifePath services to eligible participants. LifePath has immediate needs for: Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers who deliver meals on weekdays and provide a wellness check, and grocery shoppers who manage lists, payment, shopping, and grocery handoff. Ordering is done online for the Farm to Home Food Program food boxes that are delivered to homes monthly. For those unable to access the internet, volunteers who place orders on their behalf are needed. If you are interested in these or other volunteer opportunities with LifePath - here’s the trick - contact Carmela Lanza-Weil at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 413-773-5555, Ext. 3006.

Please work your magic of turning flowers into nutritional support during the month of September for the people LifePath serves by purchasing a Bloomin’ 4 Good bouquet from the Stop & Shop at 89 French King Highway in Greenfield. You may want to whisper “Ta da!” when you choose your magical bouquet. 

Let Stop & Shop know how “exceptional” elders are by showing your support during the month of September. Thank you for making a difference for the people LifePath serves.

rsz 1andrew s ouo1hbizwwo unsplash 1Pet adoptions surged during the COVID pandemic when many people were home. The healing power of pets is well known, particularly for older adults. Many rescue groups require older adults who are adopting a pet to have a plan in place for any unexpected illness or incapacity.

In April 2011, Massachusetts enacted a Pet Trust statute.  In 2012, the legislature enacted the Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code (MUTC) and repealed the 2011 Pet Trust statute as the MUTC included Pet Trusts. Creating a Pet Trust eases any concerns that your pets could end up at a shelter when you can no longer care for them.  

A Pet Trust can be created in a Will or during your lifetime. An issue with a Pet Trust created in a Will is that the person or persons named to care for the pets do not have authority to act or have any access to the funds until the Will is allowed by the court. This can sometimes take up to a month. You should create a Pet Trust prior to any incapacity. An advantage to a Pet Trust created and funded during your lifetime is the immediate authority of the Trustee to act, and the immediate accessibility to money in the Trust. With such a Trust, if you become incapacitated and cannot care for your pets, the person or persons named as Trustee can access the funds immediately to ensure the continuing care of your pets.  

A Pet Trust should ideally include provisions within the document for appointments of a caretaker, the Trustee, and someone to monitor the jobs of both. An individual can be appointed to more than one of those roles, but it is a good idea to name different persons for these roles to ensure accountability. The Trust should also include the names of your pets, a detailed plan of care, when the Trust will terminate, and how any remaining funds will be distributed after termination of the trust. Successors should also be named.  

Your Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy should also have clauses that refer to any Pet Trust created, to ensure the continuing care of your pets if you become ill or incapacitated. Your Power of Attorney could allow the release of any funds to the Pet Trust, and the mention of your pets in your Health Care Proxy alerts your health care agent to contact the named caretaker and trustee to see to the continuing care of your pets.

Cindy SpelmanCindy SpelmanLifePath is launching a new program this fall called “LifePath HomeShare.” Home sharing is about taking care of one another and believing that we all are better together. It is a commitment to valuing human connection and providing a better quality of life for all individuals.

Nathan AllemangNathan AllemangThe Pew Research Center reports, “In Massachusetts, the state's population of people aged 65 and older will rise by 46% between 2016 and 2035. Just over 41% of older adults do not have a spouse or partner; all other age groups are experiencing an increase in living ‘unpartnered.’”

Housing costs have never been higher. Every generation is feeling the sting of increased housing costs and a shortage of safe, secure, and affordable housing. According to a 2018 Harvard Medical School study, “Americans want to age in place. AARP research finds that nine out of ten people ages sixty-five or older want to stay in their homes in later years.”

In an effort to combat a severe housing crisis for all generations, organizations are trying to create novel solutions to provide additional affordable housing to low-income populations and to create communities that are livable for all ages. A 2019 AARP article reports, “For the first time, the number of older adults is expected to be higher than that of children by 2035. Furthermore, there is an increasing number of single households and single parents compared to the 1950s. The U.S demographics are changing.”

There are noteworthy barriers for many older adults to remain in their homes, including isolation and loneliness, financial hardship, difficulty with personal care, challenges with maintaining a home, and being able to find reliable and economical transportation. Home sharing is one creative option to address these issues and honor the desire of older adult homeowners to remain living in their homes.

LifePath HomeShare is a program where two or more people share a home and expenses to their mutual benefit. No two HomeShare agreements will be the same. Each individual’s needs and circumstances are considered and every agreement is tailored to the specific needs of the participants in the program.

Home sharing is for individuals of all ages, incomes, and abilities. Home Sharers must be 60 years or older, or an adult with a disability. Home Seekers could be anyone over the age of 18. Many individuals who are students, part-time workers, or retirees would greatly benefit from the HomeShare opportunity in regard to reducing housing expenses and enjoying a meaningful connection with a cohesive and responsive community.

Affordable Living for the Aging (ALA) recognizes that “House sharing has been seen as an opportunity to utilize extra rooms in existing homes owned by seniors in order to help other citizens, such as students or working-age groups, while also providing extra income for homeowners and helping seniors live longer in their homes.”

The Home Sharer offers a safe and sanitary private bedroom and shared communal areas such as a kitchen, a full bathroom, living and eating areas, and a yard; in exchange for rent, help around the house, or a combination of the two.

There are three types of home sharing opportunities.

Rent Only—No Routine Tasks Provided

There will not be any specific services outlined in the match agreement. The Home Seeker will pay the home provider monthly rent in exchange for housing. Rent can vary on a case-by-case basis. The benefits for the Home Sharer will be companionship and peace of mind.

Reduced Rent—Some Tasks Provided

There will be specific services outlined in the match agreement prior to a permanent match. The Home Seeker can provide a predetermined amount of service a week, plus pay a small rent and/or help with utility bills.

No Rent—All Service

There will be specific services outlined in the match agreement prior to a permanent match. The HomeShare participants will negotiate their match so that the amount of services provided will equal the cost of the rented room.

Each match can choose from an array of services, such as pet care, laundry, housekeeping, grocery shopping, yard maintenance, personal care tasks, preparing meals, snow/trash removal, support using the telephone and/or computer, and transportation for doctor’s visits and errands. If you would like a service that isn’t listed, please notify the LifePath worker and we can explore adding your specific need to the list. This program is intended to be consumer driven and unique to each specific match arrangement.

To participate in the LifePath HomeShare Program, home sharers must be located in the LifePath service area of Franklin County and North Quabbin. There will be priority given to the residents of Orange and Montague.

All participants will need to provide 3 character references and partake in several security checks to ensure the safest possible match arrangement. Home Seekers will be asked to provide 1 reference who is a landlord. Please note that LifePath HomeShare is not a program for emergency housing needs.

LifePath is also creating a “Do It Yourself” HomeShare Guide to assist our community members with finding their own HomeShare partners. This guide will outline the HomeShare process and all of the steps required to make a successful and lasting match.

For further questions, please contact the LifePath Information & Caregiver Resource Center (ICRC) at 413-773-5555, Ext. 1230, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..