Are You Like Jeff?

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Jeff Blomstedt is one of our caring community members who has opted to share his time and talents as a volunteer within LifePath’s Home Safety program. Jeff jumped in with both feet early in 2022 and the program is better off today for his participation. Jeff contacted us at the prompting of his wife Susan LaScala, who is an active LifePath volunteer in our Grocery Shopping program. A veteran, a retired nephrologist, a beekeeper, a wood-turning craftsman, and an accomplished Hickory golfer, Jeff is a patient, practiced, critically-thinking, home-improvement-minded handyperson.

The Home Safety program was created in the fall of 2021 largely from grant funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s creation of the Older Adults Home Modification Program. Rather than focusing on home repair, the program prioritizes prevention of serious and avoidable home incidents such as falls and fires. Through Home Safety volunteers like Jeff, LifePath performs minor home modifications that remove hazards, increase functional access, and improve the safety and satisfaction of individuals who are aging at home. Like many of LifePath’s programmatic options for independence, the Home Safety program supports lower income older adults and people living with disabilities. Common home modifications include bathroom grab bars, raised toilet seats, handheld shower heads, and fire prevention equipment.

While I find Jeff’s breadth of activities and accomplishments amazing, what I value most is his bedside manner, so to speak. Jeff embodies the compassionate approach to construction that is the foundation of our program service. Our process is to listen and observe before making recommendations, then to collaborate and modify for improved safety. You might say we “listen twice, cut once.

So, you don’t need to play golf, make honey, or be a doctor of medicine to join our team of Home Safety volunteers. What you do need is a kind heart, a desire to positively impact your community, a base level of home repair skill, and an inclination to collaborate as a member of a caring and competent team. I like to think of our program volunteers as Safety Buddies to the consumers we serve. If you are like Jeff in these ways, please contact me, Mark Devlin, Home Safety Program Director, at 413-829-9256 or mdevlin@lifepathma.org. A sincere thank you to Susan LaScala and Jeff Blomstedt for helping enable LifePath to deliver our volunteer-powered program services.

Mark Devlin, Home Safety Program Director
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