- Written by Meghan Lemay, M.S., Alzheimer's Association, Regional Manager, Western MA
The Alzheimer's Association provides free Care Consultations that are confidential and personalized to the needs of individuals and families.
We know this is an unprecedented time, and no one should be doing this alone. The Alzheimer's Association staff are still operational and continue to help families each day living with dementia. Our 24/7 Helpline is available at 1-800-272-3900 to anyone who needs to talk about the challenges of dementia during this time. Our Helpline staff are available around the clock for any questions or concerns you might have. They can help address feelings of isolation, provide caregiving suggestions or emotional support, and link you to other resources.
Additionally, we are now offering all of our educational programs and support groups via video conference or over the phone. We also offer Meet Ups for those living with dementia. Virtual Alz Meet Ups are a fun, social hour that provide an opportunity to connect with others living through a similar experience. Visit AlzHereforYou.org today.
- Written by Melissa Sonier, LCSW, Home Care Program Director
Consumer Directed Care (CDC) is a program that allows a LifePath State Home Care client to hire one or more people of their choosing to help with daily tasks, including personal care, housekeeping, laundry, meal prep, medication management, running errands, and transportation. One of the rewards of this program, besides choosing your caregiver, is that you have complete control over the entire process, and the only cost to you is your copay for State Home Care services. You get to decide what your caregiver helps you with, when, and how. The pay rate for your caregiver is $15 an hour, and they can submit for holiday time and sick time. Consumer Directed Care is a great option if you have a family member, friend, or neighbor who already helps you out.
You get to decide what your caregiver helps you with, when, and how.
The number of hours that your caregiver can be paid is something that will be determined with your Case Manager. The CDC program has budgetary constraints and is not appropriate for clients who need extensive assistance multiple times a day. However, if you do need that level of assistance, you can call your Case Manager to discuss other care options.
If you feel overwhelmed by managing all of this independently, you can elect someone in your life to be your surrogate, and manage any aspects of CDC that you want them to. Using a surrogate is required for clients with moderate to advanced dementia or anyone who is otherwise unable to manage the program. Your surrogate can be anyone of your choosing, but your caregiver cannot also be your surrogate, spouse, legal guardian who you are related to, or Power of Attorney.
In order to get set up with CDC, you will have a discussion with your Case Manager about how this program fits into your overall plan of care and determine how many hours you are eligible for. Next, your Case Manager will help you to complete the initial set-up paperwork, which involves signatures from the client, surrogate if applicable, and caregiver. The caregiver will have to complete a CORI check; the date that this is approved is the date that your caregiver can start getting paid to help you. Once all of your paperwork is processed, you will receive a packet of timesheets in the mail. Your caregiver will complete the timesheets and then you will submit them so that your caregiver can be paid. Your Case Manager will be able to help you through every step of this process.
- Written by Janis Merrell
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA-DPH) is trying to hear from as many community members as possible so that it can better help people during the COVID-19 crisis. By taking the COVID-19 Community Impact Survey (CCIS), you can help find new solutions to community problems, and give MA-DPH the information they need to take action and support the communities that need it most. MA-DPH is committed to sharing information back in ways that will help us all take collective action.
Please consider taking a few minutes out of your day to take this important survey.
Findings from this survey will be used to improve DPH’s ability to act by helping address the most critical needs, partnering with communities to support local efforts, and informing state policy with accurate information on what people need now and in the long term. Results will be available to community-based organizations for their own planning and action purposes.
Even if you haven’t been sick, your answers can help! The only requirement is that you are 14 or older and live in Massachusetts. Please consider taking a few minutes out of your day to take this important survey.
- Written by Pat Sicard, RSVP of the Pioneer Valley Volunteer Manager for Hampshire and Franklin counties
As the autumn leaves fall, elders can be assured that LifePath’s Benefits Counseling Program is designed to enhance the financial security of adults age 60 and older, and people with disabilities of any age, by offering a variety of supports to keep you independent. Information & Caregiver Resource Center Program Director Laurie Deskavich states, “LifePath, the Benefits Counseling Program, and its volunteers make a difference in so many elders’ lives.” The program provides access to benefits and increased home energy efficiency to help people stay in their own homes for as long as possible.
“Benefits Counseling has made a big difference in my life.”
The Benefits Counseling program can assist with SNAP (food stamps) and fuel assistance applications along with referrals to other agencies for assistance with home repair and home modifications. Assistance can lead to possible energy discounts, rebates on appliances, weatherization, and energy audits of your home.
- Written by Karen Lentner, MA, RD, LDN
Has the pandemic affected your eating habits? Are they positive or negative changes? Have you gained or lost weight due to stress or excessive snacking? It’s never too late to get back on the right track.
There are many factors that may influence our food choices, including stress, emotions, your health status, fatigue, the weather, or your income. If you feel any of these factors are affecting the foods and amounts you are eating, it’s time to take a closer look. Are you eating foods or meals that are rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains? Are you eating large amounts at one time or frequently snacking, perhaps due to stress?
Acknowledge your hunger or cravings, and ask yourself if you’re really hungry or just passing the time.
Let’s start from the beginning and think about what you are eating and why. Acknowledge your hunger or cravings, and ask yourself if you’re really hungry or just passing the time. Being aware and mindful, may help you make better choices. Think about what you are eating, why you are eating it, and how it makes you feel. Hunger is your body’s way of telling you it needs food and often those feelings of hunger never really go away until you finally eat what your body needs. Emotional hunger may be a craving for something comforting or sweet, and with distractions, it will often go away. Consider walking, reading, or calling a friend when emotional hunger sneaks in. Overeating, especially foods with high sugar content or caffeine, can increase anxiety or fatigue, the things we are trying to avoid.
Make a plan before you go to the grocery store. Having an idea of what you want to prepare during the week helps limit your shopping time. Look for healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, whole grains, and legumes or beans. Autumn is a perfect time to visit local farmers’ markets to take advantage of the harvest and use your farmers’ market coupons. Create your list with items having a longer shelf life including cabbage, potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, winter squash, and cauliflower. Consider melons, apples, pears, citrus fruits, and a variety of frozen vegetables or fruits. Do not use sanitizer, soap, or detergent to clean your produce, simply rinse under cold water and scrub with your hands or a brush. With cold weather on the way, utilize your vegetables in soups and stews, and consider freezing them in individual containers.
Try to have a routine or a schedule that you can stick to. Schedules can help alleviate anxiety and regular meals may help to avoid frequent snacking in between. Avoid distractions during meals, turn off the television, and take at least 20-30 minutes to enjoy the smell and taste of your food. This gives your brain enough time to recognize you’re full. Be aware and mindful of portion sizes and your calorie budget. If you’re going to splurge on a high sugar or calorie item, ask yourself if it’s worth it and make sure it’s something you really enjoy. Enjoy small treats, and avoid having too many available in your home at one time. Think about your selection of treats, and making healthier choices. Consider fresh, frozen, or dried fruits, nuts, raw vegetables and hummus, or peanut butter and crackers. Limit snacking before bedtime for a better night’s sleep and to prevent weight gain.
Taking care of yourself and staying healthy includes making mindful and nutritious food choices. If you are at home with others, try to gather together for at least one of your daily meals. Consider Grab and Go meals from one of our dining centers or call LifePath to set up Meals on Wheels at 413-773-5555, X1230 or 978-544-2259, X1230.