Berkshire Senior April 2022

Page 1

Your Care, Your Home, Your Neighbors

Thanks to Our Volunteers Nutrition Program’s 50th Anniversary

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022



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The mission of Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc. is to provide Berkshire elders, caregivers, and individuals with disabilities the opportunity to live with dignity, independence, and self-determination, and to achieve the highest possible quality of life.

Statement of Inclusivity

By Christopher McLaughlin, Executive Director of Elder Services

Elder Services practices non-discrimination in employment practices and service delivery. Embracing diversity, our in-home and community-based services are available to all without regard to race, ethnicity, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or lifestyle.


Twitter: @Berkshire Senior

Instagram: berkshiresenior

LinkedIn: Elder Services of Berkshire County

Berkshire Senior Editorial Board: Deb Aldrich, Kimberly Kelly , Christine Thomson, Laura Feakes, Christopher McLaughlin, Kathleen Cleary, Kathleen Phillips, Susan Guerrero and Kara Graziola. Advertising: To place an advertisement in Berkshire Senior, please contact Kate Teutsch at (413) 496-6324 or e-mail Berkshire Senior is published bi-monthly by Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc., 877 South Street, Suite 4E, Pittsfield, MA 01201, 499-0524 or 1-800-5445242, e-mail: or on the internet at NOTICE

Signed columns are the opinion of the writers and not necessarily the opinion of Elder Services. For medical, financial or other advice, seek a qualified professional in the appropriate field. Elder Services and its programs are funded, in part, by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs. State and federal funds provided to Elder Services are limited. Elder Services welcomes charitable donations to help meet the growing needs of Berkshire seniors, and gratefully acknowledges all donations.


As I am writing this, Berkshire County’s COVID numbers are way down and today is a 60 plus degree mid-March day. As April is Volunteer Month, it is not only a great time to thank and acknowledge our volunteers (see page 6) but also to encourage others who may have been sitting on the sidelines during COVID to consider reengaging. Elder Services could not do what we do without our volunteers, who selflessly share their time and talents to help make the lives of their neighbors as fulfilling as they can be. For the time being, we seem to be transitioning into better times now that most of the COVID restrictions are behind us. However, the reality is that the needs of seniors in our community continue and so does our need for volunteers. Are you willing to make s senior’s life a little easier and spread some “sunshine” to someone who may be in need of a little assistance? Many people are truly vested in our community and genuinely want to help. However, the thought of volunteering can be intimidating. Many believe that volunteering means they have to commit many hours a day, several days a week. Our volunteer opportunities allow people to choose the number of hours and days they would like to serve. The time, dedication and energy of our volunteers enrich several of our programs: Meals on Wheels Drivers, Kitchen Volunteers and Meal Site Volunteers – Drivers deliver meals Monday through Friday and conduct invaluable well-being checks on seniors. Kitchen volunteers help prepare meals in our kitchen while meal site volunteers serve meals to seniors in one of many senior dining sites throughout Berkshire County. Long Term Care Ombudsmen – These trained volunteers advocate for the residents of Berkshire County’s nursing homes. Money Management – This program trains volunteers to assist seniors manage their checkbooks and monthly expenses so they can remain independent in their homes for as long as possible. SHINE Counselors – SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) Counselors work with seniors to ensure they maximize their Medicare and other public benefits, saving significant time and money ($1,700 a year on average) for consumers. Drivers, Shoppers, Companions – These folks assist seniors with transportation to appointments, grocery shopping and/or just spending time getting to know and sharing with someone who’s living alone. These are just a few of our many volunteer opportunities. To learn more about how volunteering could be a win/win for you and for Berkshire seniors, please call our Volunteer Coordinator, Pam McDonald at 499-0524. In closing, sincerest thanks to our wonderful volunteers and hoping you give some thought to joining us. Until next time be good, be kind and be careful.

Spring Cleaning for Fire Safety ����������������������������������������� 15 Thank You to Our Donors �������������������������������������������������� 16 CDC Service Option ������������������������������������������������������������ 17 Resources ������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 18 COVER PHOTO: Carolyn Swegel and Judie Austin Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Meals on Wheels at Pittsfield Senior Center St. Paddy’s Day luncheon.

Volume 40, Number 2 April 2022 The bi-monthly newspaper for Berkshire County seniors


Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022

Berkshire Senior advertising helps to the defray the costs of producing the newspaper. Inclusion of advertisers in no way implies that Elder Services endorses any product or service.

Seniors Volunteer to Help Evacuees �����������������������������������5 Elder Services Volunteers �����������������������������������������������������6 Nutrition Program’s 50th Anniversary �������������������������������7 Nursing Homes Need You �����������������������������������������������������9 Senior Community Dining Centers ���������������������������������� 10 Disposing of Unused Medicine ���������������������������������������� 11

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From left to right-Al Blake, Gabriela Sheehan and Bridget Sisk of Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts sponsor organization, he said. “As the Afghan evacuee families have given so much to help our country and were in great danger if they remained in their home, I felt the least we should do is provide them with a new beginning,” Blake said. He said it’s been a pleasure to know and work with the family he and other team members have been assigned to. “It’s also been a pleasure to learn more about Afghan customs and cultures,” he said. For Blake, the best part of being a volunteer is getting to know the family he is working with “as well as all of the other Berkshire volunteers that have so graciously donated their time and resources.” Sisk said the best part of being a volunteer for her is two-fold. “First, meeting the amazing volunteer team at BIC (Berkshire Immigrant Center) and the local JFS operation—it is a privilege to be working alongside them,” she said. “Second, knowing that what we are doing is making a

really positive impact on families who really need our help and support,” Sisk noted. Asked if volunteering with the Afghan people has changed her, Sisk said, “It’s especially poignant at this very moment working with my Afghan family against the backdrop of the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Ukraine. That conflict strengthens my commitment to helping displaced individuals who need to rebuild their lives and come to terms with huge trauma and loss.” Sisk said it is always stimulating and rewarding to be in a multicultural environment. “I love the way the multitude of cultures in the USA shapes our communities and adds to the very fabric of America,” she said. “The backgrounds of HOST teams of volunteers working with each Afghan family differ. Some represent faith-based or geographical organizations, while other teams of people may know each other continued on page 7

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022

Imagine what it must be like to lose, probably forever, one’s home and all possessions, family members, friends, and pets, one’s country, and everything in life that is familiar. Then, one lands in a country of strangers and unfamiliar customs and traditions. To say it would be traumatic and difficult to be plunged into a culture vastly different from one’s own, as well as hundreds of miles away from home, is an understatement. That’s exactly what thousands of families from Afghanistan, now being resettled in the United States, are facing. Here in the Berkshires, that includes six young Afghan families with 26 people, including 11 children. Thanks to Jewish Family Service of Western M a s s a ch u s e t t s ( J F S ) , t h e Springfield-based resettling agency, a JFS resettlement coordinator, and strong HOST (Host Organization Support Teams) of volunteers, the families are getting help. Most of the volunteers are seniors throughout Berkshire County. The young Afghan families are not alone as they face the challenging and difficult tasks of learning about and living in a totally different culture than their home country. “It is a pleasure to work with older volunteers,” said Gabriela Sheehan, Berkshires Refugee Resettlement Coordinator for JFS. JFS is based in Springfield at 15 Lenox St. Each HOST team is assigned to an Afghan family. Volunteers help with “health, housing, employment, education, and connecting” evacuees with their new community, according to the JFS website. Sheehan assists with coordinating all aspects of help the evacuees receive. The volunteers Sheehan coordinates are “extremely passionate, very committed, and

very reliable,” she said. Asked why she likes helping people from other countries to settle here in the Berkshires, Sheehan said, “I believe that communities define their strength by diversity. The more diverse they are, the stronger they are. This type of work is incredibly inspiring. You see how many people are dedicated to the success of these individuals.” “The volunteers are extremely passionate and it makes my job very rewarding,” she added. Bridget Sisk, a Pittsfield resident, has been a HOST volunteer at JFS since November of 2021. She said a friend and long-term volunteer with the Berkshire Immigrant Center asked her to join their effort to support a family in coordination with JFS. “My friend knew I had been to Kabul during my work with the United Nations,” Sisk said. She retired last November after a 30-year career with the United Nations, based in New York. She and her husband moved to Pittsfield in March of 2021. While working at the United Nations, Sisk managed an information ‘program in the organization,” she said, “focusing on best practices in managing business information. My work took me to the many locations the UN has operations—especially to peacekeeping operations, which is how I got to Kabul in 2004.” Another HOST volunteer, Alvin Blake, retired from a career in computer software management. He likes making a small difference to people and causes he cares about, he said. A hilltown resident, Blake said volunteering with the Afghan evacuees has made him appreciate how lucky he has been and how much others have sacrificed. He became a JFS volunteer in December, after his Unitarian Universalist congregation applied to be a


Berkshire County Seniors Volunteering To Help Evacuees



Thanks Sincerest

to Our Volunteers With Your Help, Services Continued without Interruption!

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022

By Christopher McLaughlin, Executive Director


The first year of the pandemic, 2020, was a tremendous challenge, with the transition to stay at home orders, remote learning and local businesses and service organizations scaling back or closing altogether. From my perspective, 2021 was even worse for Elder Services as many of our employees and their family members, who had remained healthy during 2020, contracted COVID-19 in 2021. The absence of many of our staff members throughout the year presented many operating and service delivery challenges. Thanks to our committed volunteers and staff, we were able to overcome these challenges and keep the focus on providing services to our clients. By the second half of 2021 we resumed providing most of our case mana g ement, counseling and other services in person, when our clients were comfortable doing so. During another year with even more COVID-19 and greater anxiety, our volunteers’ dedication to serving their Berkshire neighbors was stronger than ever. Our volunteers continued to serve on our Board of Directors and Advisory Council, prepared and delivered meals, wrote articles for the Berkshire Senior Newspaper, served as camera operators for Berkshire Senior TV, provided SHINE counseling and money management services, advocated for residents of Berkshire

County’s nursing homes and shopped for groceries for our clients. They volunteered their time and expertise in these functions and many more in service to Berkshire Seniors, caregivers and people with disabilities. We are extremely fortunate to have a diverse group of volunteers. Despite challenging circumstances, some volunteers chose to join us during the past year while others have been with us for many, many years. The majority of volunteers have been with us fewer than 10 years while approximately 15% have been with us between 10 and 18 years. We have two individuals who will celebrate 19 years of volunteer service in the next few months. Twenty of our volunteers have provided 2,000 or more lifetime hours of service to our clients. During the past year, the individuals on the accompanying list provided nearly 12,000 hours of service. This is the equivalent of six individuals working full time. You, our volunteers, should be especially proud that during a year with even g reater challenges, you continued to show up and step up, which enabled all of our programs and services to continue without interruption! On behalf of the Agency and the people we proudly serve, please accept our sincerest t h a n k s a n d g r at i t u d e fo r volunteering at a time when people needed you more than ever. Thank you!

Volunteers Active April 1, 2021 - February 28, 2022 Board of Directors Frank Engels – President Mary Shogry-Hayer – Vice-President Jacob Dabrowski – Treasurer Kimberly Mathews – Clerk Christopher King – Finance Committee Randy Burdick Sandy Driscoll Toni Fontana Roberta Gale John Graziano Georgette Kinney Mary K. O’Brien Walter Orenstein John Philpott Stephen Radin Paula Walczyk David O’Neill Teresa Caldwell AAA Advisory Committee Robert Allard Quentin Chin James Clark Maria Craft Frank Engels Lisa Fletcher-Udel – Chair June Green – Vice Chair Sandra Lussier Vincent Marinaro Meri-Ellen Morgans Nutrition Bonnie Andrews Carol Couture Jane Diaz Beth Wiggers Linda Cox Maureen Avery Barbara Bailly Anna Beining Veronica Deome Margaret Lavalette Susan Morris Julia Kaplan Alan Metzger Elaine Shindler Michael Ende Eric Paul Greenberg Louise Charron

Eugene Gebarowski Margaret Gwodz Elizabeth King Donald Pulver Dan Skorcz Peter Traub Robert Balawender Eleanor Rosier Julia Taylor Shirley Zurrin Gordine Galusha Jane Rozak Charles Joch Paula Bergeron Joan Moylan Celine Godbout Marie Grull Andrea Gaylord Rosemary Houghtlin Arlene Stockley Joy Engels Eileen Clarke Barbara Delmolino Sandra French Elsie Gilligan John Gilligan Paulette Graber Michelle Harwood Gillian Hettinger Nancy Macy Joan Powers Gail Tighe Dennis DeVergilio Robert St. Peter Joanne Stegner Pierce Roberts Samantha Tangney Amy Butler Frank Clarke Donald Freedman Kathleen Garofolo Sally Haver Erna Lampman George Oleen Susan Pitman Theodore Pitman Susan Rothschild Dennis Sears Kathy Staropoli William Kormanik Money Management Amy Backiel Rushelle Bowie Shelley Crippa

Judith Douville Michael Einstein Marianne Fresia Tanya Haas Paula Morey John Philpott Victor Roy Jane Tant Donald Usher Sharon Bartels Yvette Bastow Ronald Terry Tina Kelly Heather King Virginia Titterton Elizabeth Azar Joyce Boivin Susan Holland Norma D’Olivera Joseph Tirrell Michael Morelli Patricia Pero Ombudsman Virginia Bosco Cristine Byrne Michael Evans Eileen Gabriel Georgette Kinney Carolyn Palmucci Ruth Richardson Deborah Wehry Virginia Lafond SHINE Frank Engels Catherine Hall Nancy Leren Larry Shea Catherine Spinney Barbara Tanski William Tarmey Virginia Titterton Winne Veretto Anthony Zoito Jr. Rushelle Bowie Janice Brindisi Patricia Carlino Phyllis DeMartino Karen DeOrdio Terrill Douglas Michele Gilligan Catherine Hall Judith Hyde Steven Rosenthal Home & Community Based Programs Nancy Belouin Vicki Robare

Diane Weinstein Mary Spina Laurie Schwartz Karen Oak BSTV Diane Chicoine Jeff Turner Berkshire Senior Editorial Board Kathleen Cleary Susan Guerrero Additional Nutrition Volunteers Not Listed or Listed in Groups in Volunteer Reporter Jean Ketchum Donna McDowell Virgina Niewinski Maria Mendonca CIP (College Internship Program) Jason Brovelli Robert Ethan Handler Daniel Krizan Alexandra Mayerman Robert Raymond BFAIR Dakota Sunskis Kelsey Taylor Jenna Thomas Sarah Wiles Bonnie Worth Joann Potash Jill Moncecchi Catherine Leveque Catherine Darling Alan Dunlavey Todd Gerlach Matthew Girard David Messina Brent Mille John Milewski Candance Mills Janet (Emma) Sebastino Ron St. Germain Total Volunteers: 180 Total hours given (available count): 11,989.06



continued from page 5

Senior Nutrition Program Celebrated 50th Anniversary

Maura Doran : ESBCI Nutrition Program Manager on the set of PCTV Throughout March, Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc. shared resources on nutrition, social isolation, wellbeing, and more. We hope you were able to join the celebration on March 17th, 2022 at a local B e rk s h i r e S e n i o r C e n t e r or watch Eat a Rainbow on Berkshire Senior TV on PCTV. Nutrition is a vital component of our health and well-being, especially as we age. But in communities throughout the U.S., older adults sometimes lack access to the high-quality, nutritious food they need to remain healthy and independent. Since 1972, the national Senior Nutrition Program has been there to support older adults by providing nutrition services across the country. Funded by the Older Americans Act, the 1

Administration for Community Living (ACL) provides grants to states to support a network of local programs that deliver nutrition services to older adults. These programs promote healthy eating, decrease social isolation, and support better health. They also provide a gateway for older adults to access other home and community-based services such as falls prevention programs, chronic disease management services, and more. This March, Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc. was proud to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the national Senior Nutrition Program with others across the country. The theme for the 50th anniversary celebration was Celebrate. Innovate. Educate: - Celebrating the many

accomplishments of senior nutrition programs over the past 50 years. - Highlighting innovative approaches that have been used to support seniors. - Educating communities so that they can understand and use nutrition services. To learn more about Berkshire Elder Service’s Senior Nutrition Program eligibility for the Meals on Wheels Program contact Elder Services at 1-800-981-5201 or 413499-0524 or email at esbci@esbci. org. Visit the ESBCI website at and_services/nutrition. html to learn more about this important program and join the conversation on social media using hashtag #SNP50.

ACL is an operating division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022

through the Berkshire Immigrant Center,” Sheehan, the Berkshires Resettlement Coordinator , said. “Other volunteers may also be training and waiting to be assigned to a family or help with driving, working with the Afghan children, or getting donations of furniture, and so forth,” Sheehan said. Right now, there are about 150 volunteers working in this area. The Berkshires office of JFS is currently housed on the third floor of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 67 East St. Sheehan’s job as Resettlement Coordinator may entail her looking for apartments for families or finding medical or dental care for them. She helps enroll their children in schools and arranges for evacuees to attend English classes through Berkshire Community College. There are also English as a second language tutors who work in conjunction with the BCC instructors, Sheehan said. She is always on the lookout for jobs for evacuees, too. If anyone who is being resettled wants counseling, JFS has an entire department focused on mental/behavioral health. More information can be found on the JFS website. The address is: Sheehan also helps the families with bill paying, f i n d i n g p u bl i c a s s i s t a n c e, finding transportation and legal assistance. Her job is multifaceted. Prospective volunteers in the community can find out more about the program by calling or writing to Sheehan via email at If other, older, retired residents are thinking of volunteering with the Afghan Resettlement Program, Bridget Sisk said she would let them know “it’s a commitment and for the long term; it’s a lot of work; it’s immensely rewarding.” Alvin Blake said, “They will receive much more than they give and have a wonderful, rewarding experience.”






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Rep. John Barrett, III

Congressman Richard Neal

24 Beacon Street, Room 237 Boston, MA 02133 (617) 722-2305 District Office: (413) 743-8300

50 Independence Ave. SW Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-5610 Senior aide: William.tranghese@mail. 300 State Street Springfield, MA 01105-1711 (413) 785-0325 Aide:

Senator Adam Hinds 24 Beacon Street, Room 109E Boston, MA 02133 (617) 722-1625 District Office: (413) 344-4561

Rep. Smitty Pignatelli

Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier 24 Beacon Street, Room 156 Boston, MA 02133 (617) 722-2240 District Office: (413) 442-4300

Rep. Paul Mark 24 Beacon Street, Room 160 Boston, MA 02133 (617) 722-2304 District Office: (413) 464-5635

24 Beacon Street, Room 473F Boston, MA 02133 (617) 722-2210 District Office: (413) 637-0631

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times, residents do not have concerns, so the Ombudsman will spend a few minutes talking with the resident, getting to know them and their individual needs. But, there are times when residents or family members have concerns about the care in a facility. Our Certified Volunteer O m b u d s m e n h ave h e l p e d residents with concerns about food, wheelchairs, showering, guardianships and even getting the residents in touch with the correct people to facilitate transferring home. Whether it’s a short wave hello, a discussion about how the weekend was or talking about a concern, the residents enjoy each visit with their Ombudsman. The nursing homes themselves also put a strong value on the role of the Ombudsmen. They know Ombudsmen are there for the residents and that that person can help make a residents time in the facility more enjoyable. Many administrators and staff in the facilities see the Ombudsman as a welcome visitor. Anyone interested in becoming an Ombudsman volunteer should contact Elder Services. Amanda Height Ombudsman Program Manager 413-499-0524 ext. 726

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Often, I hear that residents in nursing homes need someone to speak up for them, to look out for their wellbeing and to see that facilities are taking the best care possible of their residents. “Not all residents have family members to advocate for them.” What most people don’t know, is that there is a program at Elder Services of Berkshire County that does this! The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) is a volunteer program that does exactly that; advocate for the residents in nursing homes. Nursing homes are not scary places; they are not places that warehouse the elderly. As more and more people are choosing to age in place at home, nursing homes have taken on a different role; caring for the sickest, the most at risk and at times the most challenging of residents. N u r s i n g f a c i l i t i e s e m p l oy thoughtful and skilled staff that take care of some of the frailest and most vulnerable people in our community. Certified Ombudsmen help to improve the quality of care and quality of life for residents in long term care facilities. Volunteer Ombudsmen visit their assigned nursing home once a week. During their visits, they speak with residents and address any concerns they may have. Many



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Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc.

NUTRITION PROGRAM SENIOR COMMUNITY BERKSHIRE COUNTY DINING CENTERS Due to the end of the State of Emergency, the status and offerings of the Senior Community Dining Centers are likely to evolve. Please call for the latest update.

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Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022

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Eligible seniors 60 years or older are welcome to attend any Senior Community Dining Center. Reservations are requested 24 hours in advance. Begining March 2022 a suggested donation is $3.00 per meal. All contributions are returned to the community toward the cost of the Nutrition Program and Services. Those 59 or under are welcome at a required fee of $8.00 per meal.


How To Dispose Of Unused Medicines

If no disposal instructions are given on the prescription label and no take-back program is available, throw drugs in the household trash following these steps: Remove them from their original container and mix them with an undesirable substance such as coffee grounds, dirt

or kitty litter (this makes the drug less appealing to children and pets). Place the mixture in a sealable bag. Scratch out all identifying information on the prescriptions label to make it unreadable to protect your identity. When in doubt about proper disposal, ask your pharmacist. In Berkshire County there are options to get rid of any left-over pills when you are done with a prescriptions by taking them to any of the following locations. You may leave them in the container or place pills in a sealed plastic bag. Prescription, overthe-counter and pet medications are accepted: Adams Police Department Dalton Police Department Great Barrington Police Department Lee Police Department

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Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022

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17 Cobble Road, Salisbury, CT (860) 435-9851 |

A nonprofit organization

Do you have a question about a healthcare charge on your Medicare Summary Notice? Do you know that Medicare loses more than $60 billion a year to erroneous and fraudulent claims? You can do your part by reviewing your Medicare Summary Notices, your Explanation of Benefits, and invoices from your healthcare providers. If you believe Medicare or you were billed for a service you did not receive, report it to the Massachusetts Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Program at 800-892-0890. The MA SMP Program helps Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries avoid becoming victims of healthcare errors, fraud, and abuse.


Never give out your personal information including your Medicare number to anyone you do not know and trust. If you think you have been a victim of a Medicare scam, report it to the MA SMP Program’s Scam Line at 978-946-1243 or email

AgeSpan 280 Merrimack St., Ste 400 Lawrence, MA 01843 800-892-0890 •

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022

To order a free MA SMP Program personal healthcare journal, “My Health Care Tracker,” to help you document your medical appointments, medications, and treatments, call the MA SMP Program at 800-892-0890 or order online at

This notice paid in part by Grant No. 90MPPG0051


We’re by your side so your loved one can stay at home.

Call (413) 442-0907 or visit Berkshire



Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022

Each Home Instead® franchise is independently owned and operated. © 2020 Home Instead, Inc.






Voted Best of the Berkshires!



Pittsfield Office 740 Williams Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201 413-447-8070


Dalton Office 400 Main Street, Dalton, MA 01226 413-684-9783



Lenox Office 90 Pittsfield Road, Lenox, MA 01240 413-637-2810


Spring Cleaning for Fire & Personal Safety by Laura Feakes Spring is here, and with it a feeling of renewal after months being cooped up indoors. With the arrival of milder weather and the additional sunlight as the clock sprung forward, thoughts turn to cleaning up after a long winter, making repairs around the home, and enjoying the outdoors. It a great time to review your safety checklist for your home.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms


In the laundry room, clean out the dryer filter, vents, and hoses of any lint and debris to reduce the chance of a dryer fire. Keep detergent pods out of the reach of grandchildren. In the kitchen, clean around stovetops and

remove all combustibles such as oven mitts, towels, utensils or food packages. While you are in spring cleaning mode, don’t forget the medicine cabinet. Take unwanted or expired medicines to a prescription drop box or takeback event near you. Look for a convenient drop box near you at: prescription-dropbox-locations. Then update your first-aid kit.

Fall Prevention

Clear out clutter throughout the home to remove slip, trip and fall hazards from the floor and clear pathways to exits. While clutter doesn’t start fires, it does become fuel that makes a fire grow. Install nightlights throughout the house to prevent falls if you need to get up during the night.

Emergency Plan review

Knowing what to do in an emerg ency is par ticularly important for older adults. Conduct your own, or participate in, regular evacuation drills to make sure you know what to do in the event of a natural disaster or other catastrophic event. Plan around your capabilities. If someone you live with cannot escape alone, designate a household member to assist and decide on backups in case the designee isn’t home. Make sure you are able to open all doors and windows in your home. Keep a telephone nearby, along with emergency phone numbers so that you can communicate with emergency personnel if you are trapped in a room. Be sure to

keep your glasses, hearing aid, cane or wheelchair close to your bed at night. Have a home and car emergency kit ready to go all year long. Contact your Senior Center or Fire Dept about a File of Life that records medications and emergency contacts and is kept on the refrigerator- EMTs will know to look there.

Outside the House

In the yard, remove potential fire fuel by cleaning up leaves and debris. Make sure that paint, yard, and combustible fuels are stored properly and that old and leaking containers are disposed of through local waste management. Have someone clean out gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris. Take a look at your grill – check all components for potential leaks and clean up any grease or fat buildup. And don’t forget to make sure you have house numbers that are clearly visible to emergency responders - seconds count in an emergency. Finally, know your physical limits. Spring cleaning can involve some heavy lifting, as well as climbing and kneeling so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Stay hydrated and take frequent breaks. With a little preventative work now, you can make a big impact on reducing your home’s risks and ensuring your safety. For more information about Senior Safety, go online to www. and search “Senior Safe Program”. Laura Feakes is one of Elder Services’ Information and Referral Specialists

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022

According to the Massachusetts Dept. of Fire Safety, seniors are more likely to die in fires than those of other age groups. Alarms should be tested frequently and batteries replaced immediately if needed. Older adults may want to ask someone to test the alarms for them to avoid the risk of falling off a chair or ladder. If someone in your home is hard of hearing, consider installing an alarm that uses a flashing light or vibration to alert them in an emergency. If no one is available to assist with installation, try contacting your local fire department. In addition, Berkshire County residents can contact the Red Cross, 1-800-746-3511 about their Home Fire Campaign. The Home Fire Campaign helps save lives by installing free smoke alarms in homes that don’t have them, and by educating people about home fire safety. Smoking fires are the leading cause of fire deaths for older adults (Office of the State Fire Marshall,

If you smoke, do it outdoors. Use large, sturdy ashtrays or a can filled with sand to put out smoking materials. Never extinguish cigarettes in potted plants or mulch. If you are drowsy or falling asleep put out your cigarette and never smoke in bed. Electrical fires are another leading cause of fire deaths to older adults. Don’t overload outlets and power strips. Use one appliance per outlet especially if it’s a heat generating appliance. Don’t run electrical cords under rugs or let them get pinched by furniture. Extension cords should only be used temporarily; they are not designed for long-term use. Hundreds of people die accidentally each year from C O p o i s o n i n g c a u s e d by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances. Carbon monoxide gas is produced whenever any fuel, such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. Since 2006, state law has required carbon monoxide alarms in most homes. Install alarms on every habitable level of your home. Check vent pipes, flues and chimneys for leaks or blockages. Don’t leave a vehicle running inside a garage, even if the door is open, as fumes can build up quickly inside the home.



Thank You To Our Donors: The following donations were received between January 1, 2022 and February 28, 2022. Donations received on or after March 1, 2022 will appear in the next issue of Berkshire Senior.

Memorial Donations

In Memory of: Olive Anderson Colleen and Matthew Gaffey Jon and Susan Mc Nally In Memory of: William Broderick Katherine Broderick In Memory of: Helen Croce Richard and Patricia Cassani Daniel and Lucinda Croce Beverly Osterhout James and Karen Pronovost In Memory of: Louis Doyle Robert and Christina Faye Nancy Kelly In Memory of: Joseph ‘Barry’ Hollister Margot Towl In Memory of: Joanne Jones John and Carole Genzabella Christine Gustitus William and Rose Ann Sturgeon In Memory of: Charles Kurek Richard Kurek In Memory of: Edward New Christine Castellon In Memory of: Mary Richards Barbara Tatro In Memory of: Dorothea Steele Peter and Candace Cross Kathryn Korte

In Honor of Donations

In Honor of: Richard and Maureen Tuggey Jane Karlin

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022

Elder Independence Donations

Adams Community Bank Ginger Alexander John and Jane Allen James Amaral Donald and Olive Anderson Patti Annechiarico James Armstrong

Jon Bak Robert and Georgiana Bartini Frank Battista Richard Bauer, Sr. Nancy Begbie Barbara Benham Barbara Bennett Berkshire Communicators, Inc. Marjorie Bissaillon Maggie and Sam Bittman Peter and Valerie Bluhm Susan Bohl Mary Bolshaw Jeanne Bresnahan Patricia Brien Donald and Sharon Briggs Adriana Brown Robert Bugley Ann Cain Peter Calderella Gene and Justyna Carlson Cheryl Ann Chalmers Dr. Alan & Dr. Roselle Chartock Donna Chenail Richard and Sandra Cobb Thomas and Nioma Coen Bruce and Concettina Collingwood Nancy Cook Richard and Armine Cooper Dr. Eugene and Delores Curletti Mark and Karen Daigle Donald and Jean Davis Marilyn DeRosa Dery Funeral Home Joseph Dewey and Willemina Kramer Janice DiTomasso Margaret Donovan Frank and Virginia Dubis Kathleen Duquette-Penna Lydia Lake and Robert Edwards Elm Street Luncheonette

Fairview Contractors, Inc Tenney and Linda Fales Barbara Favreau Barbara and Raymond Ferrarin Sr. Michelle Filiault Andrew and Karel Fisher Nancy Fitzpatrick Rose Fragala Thomas Furlano Paula and Donald Gamache Jr. Eugene and Patricia Gebarowski John Gerson Ernest and Sharyn Godbout Sheila Goldlust and William Rota Great Barrington Police Association Local 350 Linda Greenhouse Luis and Grace Guerrero Donald Hanson Joan Hayford Steven and Teresa Hayner Robert Hildebrand Mary Horton Ewa Jancewicz Thomas and Elaine Jones John Kellogg Ellen Kenwood Russell Kenyon Kathleen Kilgus Delmore and Georgette Kinney Paul Kleinwald K-M Toyota Iris Krieger Ellen Krupka Laborer’s Local 473 John and Judith Ladd Frank and Jeanette Lagowski Neal and Patricia Langlois Walter and Elaine LaPierre Diane LaValle Ernest and Carole LeBarron Edna Levenworth

Mary Levesque Katt Lissard Richard and Kathleen Luczynski Scott MacKenzie George and Carole Manarchik Lorraine and Albert Mancuso Jr. Vincent Marinaro Stephen and Susan Marko John Masiero, Jr. Thomas Maynard Lee McClelland Christine McGinniss Virginia McHugh Kathleen McMullen Debra Megas Paul and Sandra Merlino Constance Metall Patricia and Kenneth Miner Raymond and Jeanne Moulthrop MountainOne Bank Daniel and Jean Murphy Marie Musante Richard Nichols Northeast Fabricators & Mechanical Services Maureen O’Brien Robert and Margaret O’Clair Frederick Olszewski Charles and Susan O’Neil Joyce Orell Michael Ouellette Carlos Paredes Anthony Parise Diane Philippe-Gingras Steven and Sally Pullen Daniel Pupo Purple Plume Mary Rathbun Dr. Robin Renders Beverly Reynolds Susan Ricci Philip Rich

Quality Non-Medical Care in the Comfort of Home

The mission statement of our agency, Whole Heart Homecare LLC is to provide comprehensive, high quality homecare services to our clients by creating strong partnerships with their families and the community. We believe in creating a team of caring professionals whose goal is the care and support of our clients. Our staff is fluent in English and Spanish.



150 North Street, Suite 25 • Pittsfield, MA • 413.464.3694


Nancy Rodovick Gail Roger Rose Rondeau Sharon Rose Vlada Rousseff Barbara Rubin Lawrence and Martha Sands Cynthia Sault Anne Schnesel Thomas and Victoria Sedgwick Cindy Shogry-Raimer E. Bonnie Silvers Newell and Paula Skinner Pauline Sniezek Judith St Jacques Stedman Stephens Seth and Helen Stockwell Suburban Internal Medicine Shaun and Mary Ellen Sutliff Edwin and Barbara Taginski Judith Thompson Norma Tomkowicz Neville Toye, Jr. Ronald and Janice Uliasz David Vacheron John and Shirley Vachula Jean Veazie Robert Veit Dr. Arthur Wasser and Terry Wasser Judith Weber Stephen Weisberg Paula Wells Judith Whitbeck Carolyn Whitney Judith Williams Victoria Williams Ellen Wineberg Rae-Ann Winters Wohrle’s Foods, Inc. Susan and Thomas Young , III Olivia Zegarowski Barbara Ziemba

Fully Licensed & Insured • Private Non-Medical Home Care Agency Locally Owned and Operated by an RN

Edward and Emily Zoladz

General Donations

Phillip and Mary Bedient Berkshire Bank Foundation Berkshire Hills Knights of Columbus, Council 314 John and Melissa Bissell Thomas and Lorita Bosworth Jennifer Brennan Danielle Christ Mary and James Nicoll Cooper Cynthia Golin Arthur and Louise Hillman Carol Kirby Mary Anne Kirby Sandra Kleiner Christopher and Kimberly Mathews Anna Mickiewicz Ann Pannesco Robert Pothier Andrew and Marcia Powdermaker-Potler Sharon Robak Della Sayres Tamar Schrager Jodi St Peter David and Laurel Sturma Thursday Morning Club Judith Trask Cheryl Wilser

Meals On Wheels Donations

Catherine Blake Michelle Conroy Barry and Judith Dichter Charles Hyde William and Ann McLaren Carol Perkins Tamar Schrager

SHINE Donations Katherine Butler Cynthia Armstrong Judy Moss

by Kara Graziola Client Services Supervisor Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc. (ESBCI) offers the Consumer Directed Care (CDC) option for service delivery to consumers who are eligible for the State Home Care Program. T h e C D C s e r v i c e a l l ows consumers to hire, manage and dismiss their own workers. Rather than authorize a number of hours through one of our contracted provider agencies, ESBCI can authorize a number of hours per week a CDC worker can work. Then the consumer may directly pay the worker the consumer has hired, trained and recruited.

Eligibility criteria for the CDC service delivery includes:

Worker eligibility: • The consumer may hire any individual as long as it is not their spouse, surrogate or legal guardian • As required by state law, an authorized staff member from ESBCI will complete a Criminal Offender Record (CORI) Information check on any individual to be hired on behalf of the consumer.

The consumer and/or surrogate is responsible for the following: • Recruiting and hiring the worker • Establishing the worker’s tasks and work schedule • Training and supervising the worker as to how specific tasks are to be performed • Completing and submitting all necessary paperwork, including forms to become the employer of record, as well as timesheets and agreements • Evaluating and, if necessary, discharging the worker • Complying with all other terms and agreements

Elder Services of Berkshire County can assist with: • Facilitating the development of the consumer’s service plan and assisting with identifying the tasks that will be performed • Determining the number of hours per week of personal assistance services that ESBCI will authorize • Providing the consumer and/ or surrogate with training and guidance on how to be an employer of record, complete forms and provide education on how to hire and recruit a worker • Obtaining a CORI check on potential CDC workers • Providing the consumer with ongoing advice and information regarding consumer rights, safety and access to Adult Protective Services The consumer may instruct their workers to perform any personal assistance services, including: • Homemaking

• • • • • •

Personal Care Home Health Aide Transportation Chore Companion Assistance with other activities such as help with medications or other healthrelated needs that otherwise would be self-administered Please note that workers who reside with the consumer may not be reimbursed for assistance with certain tasks that benefit the worker, such as homemaking, chore, grocery shopping or meal prep. For more information regarding Consumer Directed Care and the flexibilities it can offer, please contact Elder Services of Berkshire County at 413-499-0524.

When it comes to caring for seniors, it’s a matter of trust Meet the Berkshires Senior Care Family

Springside 255 Lebanon Ave Pittsfield 413-499-2334 Rehabilitation Skilled Care

Craneville Place 265 Main Street Dalton 413-684-3212 Rehabilitation Skilled Care

Sugar Hill 45 Main Street Dalton 413-684-0100 Independent Living Assisted Living • Memory Care

Visit us online at

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022

• Financial and clinical eligibility for State Home Care Program • The consumer cannot be enrolled in the Frail Elder Waiver • An assessment which confirms the consumer’s need for personal assistance services; and, • If an assessment determines the consumer will require assistance managing the responsibilities of this service option, it will be necessary to appoint a surrogate. The surrogate can be a spouse, other family member or neighbor.

The worker’s eligibility is contingent on the results of CORI check.


Consumer Directed Care (CDC) Service Option



RESOURCES by Mary Jane Incorvia Mattina Senior citizens today are fortunate to have at their fingertips a cornucopia of resources for living well. If you have access to a computer at home or at your local library, then the internet can be your magic carpet ride to the universe of resources headquartered beyond our Berkshire borders. Let’s hop aboard and head east to Cambridge, Mass and explore the AgeLab at MIT (https://agelab., 617-253-0753). Dr. Joseph Coughlin founded the AgeLab at MIT in 1999 and has been its director since its founding. The AgeLab’s efforts are focused, not on the biological aspects of aging, but rather on the intersection of aging with technology, commerce, caregiving, transportation and livable communities, to name some of its research areas. Let’s highlight three of its current

projects: The CareHive, The 85+ Lifestyle Leaders Panel and The OMEGA project. A thumbnail sketch about each of these projects follows. The CareHive collects and maintains a worldwide database of caregiver volunteers who par ticipate in surveys to understand the challenges, needs and wants of family caregivers and those they care for. In addition to the survey responses, this understanding also comes from AGNES—the Age Gain Now Empathy System. AGNES is donned by the youthful AgeLab researchers to simulate physical conditions associated with aging: reduced muscle

The way YOU would like to be remembered...

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022

Allow us to put your vision in place and put your family’s mind at ease. Please call us to inquire about our preplanning guide or at need services.

F r i e n d s h e l p i n g f r i e n d s s i n c e 1915 4 0 M A P L E WO OD AV E N U E • P I T T S F I E L D, M A 012 01

C A L L U S: 4 13. 4 4 5. 5 9 8 8 Proud af f iliate of Car riage Ser vices


C a r o l i n e R . S u l l iv a n | J o h n W. B r e s n a h a n

strength, weakened joints, and diminished flexibility. Hopefully this experience will assist the researchers in understanding conditions experienced by older adults and in designing solutions for better coping. If you are lucky enough to be 85 or older, you are eligible for the Lifestyle Leaders Panel. There are bimonthly meetings with people 85 and older to delve into the opportunities and challenges of the unprecedented longevity many of us are experiencing. The MIT AgeLab is recruiting nationally within the US for people 85 and older who would like to participate in remote surveys and focus g roups. Questions about the 85+ Lifestyle Leaders Panel can be emailed to My f avo r i t e project is the Opportunities for Multigenerational Exchange, Growth and Action—much easier to call it OMEGA. The program is sponsored by AARP and Five Star Senior Living to foster intergenerational connection between high school students and older adults and is headquartered at the AgeLab. Students and adults brainstorm programming ideas for students in grades 9-12 throughout the US to design and implement in their community. Students can compete for annual college scholarships. This is a resource just waiting for adoption in Berkshire County schools with input from older adult residents. Rumor has it that a Mount Greylock student successfully designed and implemented an OMEGA project and received scholarship funding for her project a few years back. Again there is more to learn about OMEGA on the AgeLab website. Please don’t overlook the resources available closer to home in Berkshire County. You likely already know about these but keep them close at hand. Councils on Aging: Each of our 32 cities and towns has its own COA and as you might expect, there are 32 flavors and varieties. Services run the

gamut from exercise classes to tax information to appointments with foot care nurses, and day trips. And most of the COAs have a monthly, weekly or even sometimes daily newsletter that will keep town residents posted on what is on their agenda. If you haven’t already, get on the list for your town’s COA newsletter. A call to your city or town hall will point you in the right direction to your local COA. Osher Lifelong Learning I n s t i t u t e at B e rk s h i re Community College (https://, 413-2362190): OLLI at BCC offers five semesters annually of courses on topics ranging from advances in medicine to genealo g y, birdwatching to reading in Latin. Take a peek at the current catalogue on the website and you will see that the variety is endless. There are also Shared Interest Groups for people to discuss common interests in more depth. There is a membership fee and each course carries a tuition cost but don’t let financial barriers stop you from calling the OLLI office for info on financial assistance. Elder Services of Berkshire County (, 413 499-0524): If you are reading Berkshire Senior you have already heard about Elder Services. ESBCI is designated by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs as the Aging Services Access Point (ASAP) for all of Berkshire County. Just a quick glance at its home page will give you an idea of the huge range of resources it offers which include Meals on Wheels, assistance with prescription drugs and homecare services and caregiver support. A resource is only as good as the network available to inform people that the resource exists. Perhaps this article will encourage you to explore one remote and three local resources to enhance your life- and health spans.


“I’m so glad I called HospiceCare in The Berkshires when I did.” “They helped us make every moment matter.” “When Mom got sick, I was so overwhelmed managing her care, filling out paperwork, and trying to be there for her. Thankfully, HospiceCare in The Berkshires was there to make everything easier. They provided compassionate care, that supported a quality of life for Mom.”

• Emotional and spiritual support • Symptom management

• Integrative therapies • Home health aides

• Meaningful end-of-life care • Bereavement counseling

How will you know when it’s time to call hospice? Visit to learn more. 877 South Street, Suite 1W • Pittsfield, MA 413-443-2994 •

The difference is in our care

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022

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Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, April - May 2022

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