Are you having trouble loading this page? Click here to view a text-only version.


Molly Chambers, LCSW, MED in CounselingMolly Chambers, LCSW, MED in CounselingMolly Chambers, 80, a Greenfield resident, recently celebrated 30 years at LifePath. In honor of this impressive milestone, she agreed to answer some questions for The Good Life.

What brought you to LifePath and what was your previous work experience?

What brought me to LifePath was my interest in working with elders. I wanted to help support people so they could remain in their own homes safely and with dignity.

I spent fourteen years as a child and family therapist before I came to LifePath. I've also worked as a teacher, a community organizer, and a group worker at a settlement house. I've led support groups for single parents, and parents of children with special needs.

What is your current role, and how has it evolved over the years?

My current job title is Group Facilitator for a Dementia Caregivers' Support Group. I lead support groups twice a month, and I research information about dementia and caregiving and share it with the group. I arrange for speakers to come to the group, and I find and review video resources for the group, leading discussions about their content. Twice a month I make supportive calls to offer group members assistance in caregiving and information about community resources.

During my time at LifePath, I’ve served as a case manager, an elder-at-risk worker/protective services worker, and a group leader.

What do you find the most gratifying about your work?

I love fostering an environment where people support each other. I love helping people with caregiving challenges, and providing them with the resources that help them stay healthily and happily at home, often keeping families intact. I really enjoy problem-solving, particularly where safety is an issue.

I think there is a gap in our society where community used to play a larger role in taking care of the most vulnerable amongst us. I feel proud to contribute to such an important kind of community-building.

Tell me some stories that stand out to you about ways in which you've helped people through your role at LifePath.

In lieu of a story, I'd love to share this poem I wrote, inspired by a visit to one of my clients:

Late Summer Memories
Dedicated to H.B.

She lives up on a hill.
Bales of newly mown hay line the road to her home.
Her house is the last one before the dirt road begins.
Old railroad ties form the steps to her home.
She sits in her favorite old chair
Facing into the living room with her treasures from the past.
Her colonial ancestor with his buttoned up vest, ponytail hairdo and short pants
watches over her from his gold-framed portrait.
Her curly white hair fans out on the back of the chair.
The old pink and white crocheted blanket
covers her stomach and legs, a handmade gift from a friend in the past.
She smiles and the twinkle in her eye
lets me know that she recognizes me this time.
She leans forward and reaches out her hand for mine.
We talk about how it is for her now.
So many of them she has known are gone now.
She names off old friends who are trapped like her.
They call each other on the phone.
Their hill-top houses, their swollen limbs and the miles of woods
keep them apart.
She leans forward and points her finger in my direction.
“You remember, you remember,” she says.
“I am sorry now that when I was younger
I did not understand
what it means to have someone really listen to you.”

97 years old is not an easy place to be.

Tell me a little about yourself.

I was born in Montclair, New Jersey, a suburban town close to New York City. I have lived all over the world: from Philadelphia to Mexico, California to the Virgin Islands, from East Harlem to Ohio.

I was raised in a multi-generational household. Because my mother cared for ill family members—both my grandmother and my father—it gave me a very early appreciation for what it meant to be a caregiver. It also reinforced the value of being able to stay at home and have the loving care of family around you towards the end of your life.

I have an LCSW and an MED in Counseling from UMass Amherst. I am also a lifelong activist, and continue to dedicate my time to causes that I believe in, particularly around racial and social justice, and issues that relate to the climate crisis. I'm also an avid gardener, a big reader, a swimmer, and a proud mother to two daughters and one son and am a grandmother and aunt as well.

Molly Chambers (middle) at a celebration of her 30 years of service, with Barbara Bodzin, Executive Director (left) and Diane Robie, Director of Client Services (right).Molly Chambers (middle) at a celebration of her 30 years of service, with Barbara Bodzin, Executive Director (left) and Diane Robie, Director of Client Services (right).

What would you like people to know about your support group?

Caregivers in my group have family members with different kinds of dementia; they share stories of their challenges as well as their successes, no matter how big or small. Dementia can be a disease that erodes quality of life so completely, I think moments of relief are also important to celebrate and discuss.

My group is very close, with some members having participated for many years. We celebrate holidays together, and feel very invested in each other's lives.

What else would you like to share?

I want to thank LifePath for supporting me personally over the years, and thank my group members for their courage in opening themselves up and sharing about their lives. Their openness is what makes this group work so powerful.

Barbara Bodzin, Executive DirectorBarbara Bodzin, Executive DirectorIn a nation known for its wealth, as many as 30 million adults and 12 million children across the United States are living in food insecure households. Food insecurity “is the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods,” as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). CNN Business News reported in April, “Families across America are precariously perched on the edge of a hunger cliff” as a result of the economic repercussions of the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, rising inflation, supply chain backlogs, and increasing costs of gas and food.

Our rural communities have to additionally contend with access issues due to limited transportation resources, greater travel distance to stores, and fewer full-service supermarkets. Furthermore, older adults and individuals with disabilities continue to struggle with COVID-related health vulnerabilities when considering in-store grocery shopping.

The Franklin County Hunger Task Force, a network of local organizations focused on improving food security for residents of Franklin County and nearby communities, is addressing these challenges head-on. These organizations fight food insecurity through a network of food pantries, congregate meal sites, grab and go and home delivered meals, mobile food banks, farm share and farmer’s market offerings, and distribution of bags of groceries and boxes of fresh foods.

The federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, provides those who are eligible with funds to help buy fresh, nutritious food. In addition, the Massachusetts Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) incentivizes SNAP recipients to buy more fruits and vegetables for their household. SNAP recipients receive $1 back on their EBT card for each dollar spent on eligible fruits and vegetables, up to a monthly limit. HIP retailers include approved farmer’s markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm share programs.

Karen Lentner, LifePath’s nutritionist, observed that despite these resources and community supports, “What I can say is that sadly, I encounter older adults with food insecurity in our area. In some cases, this food insecurity contributes to weight decline and malnutrition, ultimately affecting the individual’s overall strength, health, independence, and their ability to heal. Once consumers are identified through a variety of screening processes, we do our best to inform them of the resources and meal and food options available within their communities. I often work closely with individuals to help obtain food and nutritional supplements. I assist with planning nutritious meals and snacks, provide tips on preparing meals, and guidance in whatever is needed to help increase their weight and improve their nutritional status.”

As food insecurity is oftentimes associated with poverty, it is no surprise to learn that older adults and individuals with disabilities are disproportionately impacted. This dynamic inadvertently contributes to disability-based health inequities and is linked to poorer quality diets which produce worse health outcomes. Well-being is impacted due to the associated higher risk of chronic conditions including high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.

LifePath has responded to these public health concerns with expanded services. A cold supper provides additional nutritional variety and a second daily meal to our Meals on Wheels recipients. One such recipient summed up the overwhelmingly positive response we have received, saying, "It has helped physically, it has helped mentally, it has helped with grocery costs, it has helped with having to make meals [with limited mobility], and it has helped by not having to go out to shop. Thank you!!!"

Our new Farm to Home Food Program, funded through the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, provides $50 of free, farm-fresh food delivered once a month to the homes of individuals in Franklin County and the North Quabbin area. To be considered, individuals must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be 60 or older, or young and living with a disability;
  • Be able to prepare a meal or have someone who can assist with meal preparation;
  • Have a household income not more than $34,400/year for an individual, or $48,958/year for households of 2 or more.

In partnership with Mass Food Delivery of South Deerfield, individuals can select from among hundreds of locally-sourced, in-season fruits and vegetables, as well as meats, dairy, protein alternatives, sauces, jams, legumes, pastas, and baked goods. Ordering is done online and is delivered directly to each home. For those unable to access the internet, LifePath provides a volunteer who will place orders on their behalf. One such volunteer, retired nutritionist Arleen Thomson, whose prior experiences helped create the vision for this program, commented, “In a few short months we have reached a goal of providing three hundred families with a monthly box of healthy food which is delivered to their doorstep. It has been thrilling to hear from many who are so very grateful this program exists.”

The program has been extremely popular and is close to reaching capacity, so interested individuals should submit an application without delay by either going to the Farm to Home page or by calling 877-590-2540.

Removing economic and access barriers is essential to enhance food security in our community. Together with our partner organizations, LifePath provides vital resources to ensure access to proper nutrition and adequate food on the table for those in need. Please call LifePath for more information about services and resources to address food insecurity at 413-773-5555 or 978-544-2259, or send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Becca MoroBecca MoroBecca Moro, 27, of Shelburne Falls, is an alternate caregiver for LifePath’s Adult Family Care (AFC) and Shared Living Programs. These programs offer compassionate, individualized care in a nurturing home environment. Members are individuals who cannot live alone safely because of medical, physical, cognitive, or mental health challenges. Members live in caregivers’ homes in local communities, allowing care recipients to maintain lasting community relationships. Caregivers earn a tax exempt stipend, which allows them to earn income, while staying at home.

Alternate caregivers like Becca provide respite care while full-time caregivers are away. Becca agreed to speak to The Good Life about this vital role.

What made you choose to become an alternate caregiver?

My mom has been a caregiver since 2004 so I have constantly been around individuals with disabilities since I was 9 years old. I've seen how much joy caregiving brings her, and I've made so many great relationships with her clients through the years that it just made sense for me to step into that role as well.

I love developing relationships with the people I look after and I really enjoy the feeling of making an impact on someone's life and providing experiences they may not otherwise have.

What is rewarding about this role?

Truly everything about it. I love developing relationships with the people I look after and I really enjoy the feeling of making an impact on someone's life and providing experiences they may not otherwise have. 

What is challenging?

Obviously each client has their own set of challenges in addition to their wonderful qualities. There's always a learning curve getting to know people's personalities, as well as their interests, likes, and dislikes. That's true for any individual, regardless of their abilities. 

How have you enhanced someone's life by doing this work?

I strongly believe that this line of work is all about enhancing someone's quality of life, and if I can provide somebody with a good experience, whether it's one day or a whole week, I'm all for it. I love seeing the smile on a client's face when I've provided them with a new experience, or even something as small as seeing them enjoy a meal I cooked. It's important for me to know that my clients are happy and enjoying their time with me. 

What would you like to tell people who are considering becoming an alternate caregiver?

Do it! You won't regret it. I feel like my life has been so much more meaningful since I've started as an alternate caregiver. I love opening my home to others and making people feel welcome, so it's perfect for me. 

About how often do you fill in as a caregiver, and how long have you been in this role?

Well I have been [in the role of] companion with LifePath for over 10 years now, so I've had the pleasure of getting to know many of the individuals in this program through my time with that. As a companion, my role varies with each client. Oftentimes I work with individuals to improve their life skills, including things like health and fitness, money management, and socialization. Sometimes the goal is truly just increasing their quality of life with fun activities such as going to the movies, the fair, or a baseball game. Beyond that, my focus is really about building a strong relationship based on friendship and love for each individual.

I started doing alternate care more formally about 2 years ago when I moved into my home in Shelburne. I probably have about 8 or 9 individuals who I take in as needed. This includes when a client's caregiver goes on vacation or when they just need some respite time. I see my companion clients weekly, and I'm asked regularly, "When can I sleep at your house again?" It makes me so happy to know that they really enjoy staying with me.

How do you make members feel comfortable?

It's important to make clients feel welcome in my home. They typically meet my husband, Dan, and my Goldendoodle, Rosie, beforehand. I also try to ask questions to get to know them, listen to what they like and dislike, try to make foods I know they'll enjoy, and just be open and kind. I also make sure their room is clean and cozy, and includes everything that I would want in my own room, such as a mirror, fan, good lighting, etc. It's nice because our guest rooms are downstairs with a full bathroom, so guests can have their privacy when they want it. I think respecting boundaries (on both ends) is a big part of comfortability when you're new to someone else's home. 

What are important qualities to possess as an alternate caregiver?

Kindness, patience, empathy—if you have these three qualities the rest will come naturally!

Tell me a little about yourself beyond this role.

In addition to my companion and alternate caregiver roles, I've also worked at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School for the past 5 years. I married my husband in Hawaii last September on our 3 year anniversary. I stay pretty busy with my clients and the kiddos, so we don't have kids of our own just yet (unless you count our Goldendoodle Rosie . . . she's our baby). In my free time I like to spend time with family, ski, float down the river, or travel somewhere new. 

If you want to learn more about becoming an alternate caregiver for Adult Family Care or Shared Living, please call LifePath at 413-773-5555, X1230 or 978-544-2259, X1230 to speak to a Resource Consultant, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Storm clouds at sunsetThis is the second part of a two-part story on storm safety. The first part was published in the July 16, 2022 edition of The Good Life.

The most active time for hurricanes in Massachusetts is late August through September. According to a recent press release from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) seasonal outlook predicts another active, above-normal, Atlantic hurricane season – the seventh consecutive above-normal hurricane season. According to the National Hurricane Center, last year was the third most active year on record with 21 named storms.

Last week focused on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale as a system for categorizing hurricane strength and tips for preparing for an impending storm. This week we are focussing on how we can all stay safe during a storm and after it has passed.

Tips for Staying Safe During the Storm

  • Avoid driving or going outdoors during a storm—flooding and damaging winds can make traveling dangerous.
  • If you must be out in the storm:
    • Do not walk through flowing water. Six inches of swiftly moving water can knock you off of your feet.
    • Remember the phrase “Turn around, don’t drown!” and don’t drive through flooded roads. Cars can be swept away in just two feet of moving water. If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay in the vehicle. If the water is rising inside the vehicle, seek refuge on the roof.
    • Do not drive around road barriers.
  • Continue to monitor the media for emergency information.
  • Follow instructions from public safety officials.
  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Take only essential items, and bring your pets, if possible.
  • If told to shelter in place:
    • Stay indoors and away from windows.
    • Listen to local television or radio for updates.
    • Conditions may change quickly; be prepared to evacuate to a shelter or neighbor’s home, if necessary, and remember to include masks and hand sanitizer in your emergency kit.

How to Stay Safe After the Storm Has Passed

  • Continue to monitor the media for emergency information.
  • Follow instructions from public safety officials.
  • Call 9-1-1 to report emergencies, including downed power lines and gas leaks.
  • Call 2-1-1 to obtain shelter locations and other disaster information.
  • Stay away from downed utility wires. Always assume a downed power line is live.
  • Again, remember the phrase “Turn around, don’t drown!” and don’t drive through flooded roads.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings and away from affected areas/roads until authorities deem them safe.
  • If you have evacuated, return home only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Listen to news reports to learn if your water supply is safe to drink. Until local authorities proclaim your water supply safe, boil water for at least one minute before drinking or using it for food preparation.
  • Check your home for damage:
    • Never touch electrical equipment while you are wet or standing in water. Consider hiring a qualified electrician to assess damage to electrical systems.
    • Have wells checked for contamination from bacteria and chemicals before using.
    • Have damaged septic tanks or leaching systems repaired as soon as possible to reduce potential health hazards.
    • If you believe there is a gas leak, go outdoors immediately, and do not turn electrical switches or appliances on or off. If you turned off your gas, a licensed professional is required to turn it back on.
    • If your home or property is damaged, take photos or videos to document damage, and contact your insurance company.
  • If your power is out, follow these power outage safety tips.
    • Report power outages to your utility company.
    • Use generators and grills outside because their fumes contain carbon monoxide. Make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working as it is a silent, odorless, killer. According to the National Weather Service, carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms in areas dealing with power outages. Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage.
    • If a traffic light is out, treat the intersection as a four-way stop.
  • If phone lines are down, use social media or texting to let others know you are OK.
  • Look before you step. After a hurricane or flood, the ground and floors can be covered with debris, including broken bottles and nails.
  • Avoid entering moving or standing floodwaters. Floodwater and mud may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet, and take steps to prevent and detect mold. Consider using professional cleaning and repair services.
  • Throw away food (including canned items) that has come into contact with floodwaters, was exposed to temperatures above 40°F for more than two hours, or has an unusual odor, color, or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Be a good neighbor. Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially elders, those who live alone, those with medical conditions, and those who may need additional assistance.

Hopefully, the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season will be quieter than predicted. If not, having these safety guidelines in mind can help keep you safe.

-Sourced from and

downed tree limb over car after stormDavid Pogue, in his book How to Prepare for Climate Change, cites a study by Utah sociology professor Sarah Grineski, who interviewed Houston, Texas residents in 2012 about their level of general hurricane preparedness and then interviewed them again after Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017. Not only did she find that homeowners who had prepared for hurricanes experienced less property damage and financial hardship, but she also found that they had significantly fewer physical health symptoms, fewer post-traumatic stress symptoms, and experienced fewer adverse events, such as being separated from pets or going without food and water.

Although the official Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 through November 30, the most active time for hurricanes and tropical storms in Massachusetts is late August through September, so now is a good time to prepare.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

Hurricanes have a 1 to 5 rating or “category” based on their maximum sustained winds. The higher the category, the greater the hurricane's potential for property damage.

A category 1 hurricane, for instance, will have maximum sustained winds of 74–95 mph, which will produce some damage to roofs, shingles, vinyl siding, and gutters on homes and may cause large branches of trees to snap and shallowly rooted trees to topple, leading to power outages that could last for days.

In contrast, a category 5 hurricane has sustained winds of 157 mph or greater and will cause catastrophic damage, including total roof failure and wall collapse, power outages that will last for weeks or months, and large areas that are uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Tropical Storm and Hurricane Watches and Warnings

The National Weather Service issues tropical storm and hurricane watches and warnings to alert the public of potential hazardous conditions. A Tropical Storm Watch means tropical storm conditions are possible within the next 48 hours, while a Tropical Storm Warning indicates sustained winds of 39–73 mph associated with a tropical storm are expected to affect a specified area within 24 hours.

A Hurricane Watch means hurricane conditions are possible within the next 48 hours, while a Hurricane Warning indicates sustained winds of 74 mph or greater, associated with a hurricane, are expected to affect a specified area within 24 hours.

What to Do to Prepare for a Tropical Storm or Hurricane

  • Listen to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio or to a local news station for the latest information.
  • Review your family’s emergency plan.
  • If you live or work in a flood zone or an area that is prone to flooding, be ready to evacuate and find out where your nearest designated storm shelter is located, and what COVID protocols are in place.
  • If you are not in an area prone to flooding and are planning on riding out the storm at home, gather adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are unable to leave.
  • Prepare for power outages by charging cell phones and electronics and setting your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings. If you use electricity to get well water, fill your bathtub with water to use for flushing toilets.
  • Keep your car’s gas tank full. Pumps at gas stations may not work during a power outage.
  • Secure or bring in outdoor objects (patio furniture, children's toys, trash cans, etc.) that could be swept away or damaged during strong winds or flooding.
  • Clear clogged rain gutters to allow water to flow away from your home.
  • Go tapeless! Taping windows wastes preparation time, does not stop windows from breaking in a hurricane, and does not make cleanup easier. In fact, taping windows may create larger shards of glass that can cause serious injuries.
  • Turn off propane tanks if you are not using them.
  • Prepare for flooding by elevating items in your basement, checking your sump pump, unplugging sensitive electronic equipment, clearing nearby catch basins, and parking vehicles in areas not prone to flooding.
  • If instructed, turn off your gas and electricity at the main switch or valve.
  • If you receive medical treatment or home health care services, work with your medical provider to determine how to maintain care and service if you are unable to leave your home or have to evacuate during.
  • Assemble an emergency kit for your family and pets. Visit for general and COVID-related tips.
  • Follow instructions from public safety officials.
  • Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and have fresh batteries.
  • If you have life-support devices or other medical equipment or supplies which depend on electricity, notify your utility and work with your medical provider to prepare for power outages.
  • Make a record of your personal property by taking photos or videos of your belongings. Store these records in a safe place.

Preparing in advance can help you, your family, and your pets safely weather storms. We will cover what to do during and after storms in the July 23, 2022 issue of The Good Life.

-Sourced from and