Berkshire Senior February - March 2023

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Your Care, Your Home, Your Neighbors February is American Heart Month Circuit Breaker Tax Credit Meals on Wheels Kitchen Undergoes Renovation Pets Can Play an Important Role in the Lives of Seniors
Bob Letourneau and his companion Lavender

“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.”

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior , FebruaryMarch 2023 2
Offering compassion to our community: • Emotional and spiritual support
Symptom management • Integrative therapies
Home health aides
Meaningful end-of-life care
Bereavement counseling HO W WILL Y OU KNO W WHEN IT’S TIME T O C ALL HOSPICE? VISIT WWW .HCIB. ORG/ WHENT OC ALLHOSPICE T O LEARN MORE. 877 South Street, Suite 1W Pittsfield, MA 01201 413-443-2994 www.hcib.org THE DIFFERENCE IS IN OUR C ARE
called HospiceCare in
Berkshires
“THEY HELPED US MAKE EVER Y MOMENT MA TTER.”
“I’m so glad I
The
when I did.”

Mission Statement

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

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.

Meals on Wheels and Winter Weather

Hoping all is well with you and yours and that 2023 has been good to you so far.

Senior

I realize that by the time you read this we will be pretty far into winter. Maybe I should have written about the realities of inclement weather and our Meals on Wheels Program sooner but it is still a timely topic. February and March can bring us some of the winter’s coldest weather and worst snow and ice storms.

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Editorial Board: Deb Aldrich, Kimberly Kelly, Christine Thomson, Laura Feakes, Christopher McLaughlin, Kathleen Cleary, Kathleen Phillips, Susan Guerrero, Yvonne Borsody and Kara Graziola.

Advertising: To place an advertisement in Berkshire Senior, please contact Kate Teutsch at (413) 496-6324 or e-mail advertising@berkshireeagle.com.

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: esbc@esbci.org or on the internet at www.esbci.org.

NOTICE

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.

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.

Elder Services’ Nutrition Department receives phone calls on days when weather forecasts predict bad conditions that do not hit full force and on days when the weather takes an unexpected turn for the worst. Sometimes predicted bad weather does not materialize causing our clients to wonder why we are not delivering their meals when the skies and the roads are clear. Conversely, our clients sometimes call wondering why our drivers are out delivering meals when winter weather makes driving (and walking) conditions dangerous.

The “disconnect” between weather realities and the decision to deliver (or not deliver) meals is better understood when you know what has to happen to produce and deliver 950 meals to all corners of our very large county. Our kitchen, located just before the Dollar General on Route 7 in Lanesborough, produces meals we deliver to all of the 32 cities and towns in Berkshire County. With a county covering nearly 950 square miles, the meals have to be ready early each weekday so they we can deliverer them to places like Florida and Clarksburg in the North and Sandisfield and Sheffield in South County.

A typical weekday starts with cooks and kitchen staff arriving in Lanesborough at 5 a.m. to begin cooking and preparing the ingredients for the day’s meals. From 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., meals are plated and secured with plastic using a sealing machine in an “assembly line” like process. Meals on Wheels drivers and transporters begin to arrive around 9:00. The transporters deliver large quantities of meals to the Spitzer Center in North Adams, Crossway Village in Lee and the Claire Teague Senior Center in Great Barrington while drivers with routes in Pittsfield and Central County depart the kitchen to begin making their deliveries.

On days when bad weather is predicted, representatives from the kitchen, Nutrition Department and Elder Services’ Administration hold a conference call at 4:30 a.m. to make the decision regarding whether or not to cancel meals. Sometimes when a storm starts late the previous night or earlier that morning, the bad weather is in full force and the decision to cancel meals is an easy one. At other times, the storm may have not started but radio and TV weather forecasts suggest that significant winter weather may arrive before or during

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ELDER SERVICES UPDATE Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior , FebruaryMarch 2023 3
February is American Heart Month ��������������������������� 4 The Companionship of a Pet ��������������������������������������� 5 Tales of Honey Cat �������������������������������������������������������� 6 “Circuit Breaker” Tax Credit ����������������������������������������� 8 Fallon Health Awards Grant to ESBCI ������������������������ 9 Senior Community Dining Sites and Meals on Wheels ���������������������������������������������������� 10-11 What is an Ombudsman �������������������������������������������� 13 Donations ��������������������������������������������������������������������� 14 Contents Volume 42, Number 1 February 2023 The bi-monthly newspaper for Berkshire County seniors FREE
Twitter:
FB/BerkshireSenior
@Berkshire

February is American Heart Month

Our hearts are busy little organs, vital for living, and it is our responsibility to take care of them and to make heart health a part of our everyday selfcare routine. Although many people develop some form of cardiovascular disease as they get older, it isn’t inevitable. A healthy lifestyle, when started at any age, goes a long way to helping to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Did you know that the heart beats about 2.5 billion times over the average lifetime, pushing millions of gallons of oxygenated blood to every part of the body? Its steady flow not only carries necessary oxygen, but also a host of essential properties and the beating heart whisks away the waste products of metabolism.

Here are some easy, yet important, things you can do to help maintain heart health and

Meals on Wheels

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the time when our drivers will be delivering meals.

The reality is that a lot can and does happen between the time we speak at 4:30 a.m. and the time our drivers would be delivering the meals. Sometimes we cancel meals on days when conditions are bad and the weather is predicted to worsen only to find that by late morning the worst of the storm has passed, and roads, and sidewalks are clear. At other times, we make the decision not to cancel meals and end up regretting it when the weather takes a turn for the worst and we fear for our staff members’ safety driving (and walking) in dangerous conditions. We go to great lengths to ensure the safety of our drivers and staff.

When we make the decision about whether to cancel meals or not we monitor the

all they cost is a little bit of your time.

- Talk with your healthcare provider about your heart health.

- Set aside some time each day just for you. Take a moment to move and de-stress.

- Be more physically active. Perhaps take a walk, or try gentle yoga or a tai chi class.

- Be mindful of your health and regularly monitor your weight and address your healthcare needs.

- Try some progressive muscle relaxation by tensing your muscles for a few seconds and then relax them. Do one muscle group at a time.

- Deep breathing is not only very relaxing, but it also allows our lungs to fully fill, which can help prevent respiratory concerns.

- Guided imagery allows you to

relax while visualizing a calm, peaceful setting, such as a beach or garden.

- Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night.

Maintaining a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes and

non-tropical vegetable oils also goes a long way in helping your heart stay healthy.

weather forecasts and consider many factors. However, the six hours between when we make the decision and when deliveries occur means that, despite going to great lengths to ensure our clients receive meals and ensuring the safety of our drivers and staff, we will continue to get it wrong now and then.

Elder Services’ website lists meal cancellations and the following radio stations make announcements when meals are cancelled due to inclement weather: WBEC 1420 AM, 95.9 FM; WUPE 1110 AM, 100.1 FM; WNAW 1230 AM; WBRK 1340 AM, 101.7 FM and WSBS 860 AM. In addition, meal cancellations are displayed on the ribbon at the bottom of the screen on channels 6, 10 and 13. Until next time be good, be kind and be careful.

Securing today and tomorrow

Dear Colleague,

In our ongoing commitment to provide efficient and equitable service, visitors to SSA.gov will now experience a new design that helps them find what they need more easily and do business with us online. Many of our most visited sections now use a more userfriendly and task-based approach. In the coming months we will continue to unveil new pages and improvements based on public feedback.

I invite you to read our blog announcing the redesigned website and several interactive tools, such as our new benefit eligibility screener.

Please encourage your friends, family, and clients to visit our redesigned website today!

Sincerely,

@SSAOutreach

Heart disease is largely preventable and focusing on improving your heart health has never been more important. Taking care of your heart health is a lifelong journey, and it is well worth it. SSA.gov

HEALTH & WELLNESS Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior , FebruaryMarch 2023 4 The Ralph J� Froio Senior Center 330 North Street Pittsfield, MA (413) 499-9346 Celebrating 30 years of serving Pittsfield seniors. Come join us for our celebrations this Spring! More information to come

The Companionship of a Pet

Animals provide a critical role in the happiness and mental health of humans, so it’s no wonder that 70% of households in the United States have pets. For elderly persons living alone, who perhaps no longer drive, are disabled or have no family close by, pets can be a bridge between loneliness and joy by giving them another living being to care for and bond with. Animals can truly brighten the life of a senior living all alone.

My friend Mary shared her home with Peanut, her eleven year old cat. Well into her eighties, Mary adored Peanut as much as he adored her. A decade before, she had been a widow living alone in her house, while Peanut had been a hungry neighborhood stray until they found each other. Mary would say “I think he rescued me more than

I rescued him” for Peanut gave Mary a reason to get up in the morning, and a friend to talk to, look after and curl up with when she slept. Mary didn’t drive, was hard of hearing, and was beginning to show signs of cognitive decline. She had friends and neighbors who took her for groceries and medical appointments, but Mary was happiest just spending time with Peanut in the familiar surroundings of her home. Her outer world was shrinking, and when she fell and ended up in the hospital and then went to a nursing home rehab center, Mary and Peanut’s world was upended. Mary would not be able to return home, which meant that her beloved cat no longer would have a home either. (Fortunately for Peanut, his story had a happy ending. I brought him to my home and fostered him in my sun-filled relaxation room and office--cats

love sunny windowsills!--while I spread the word among my network of pet-loving friends and colleagues. It took a couple of months to find his dream adopters, a senior couple who appreciated a mature cat, and after meet-and-greets and home visits to ensure a good match, Peanut went to live with them and is thriving.)

What happened with Mary is an unfortunate, yet all too common scenario as our population ages, with many living alone.

Berkshire County’s population is just under 130,000, and its median age is steadily increasing, with 33% of residents age 60 or older. That’s one out of every three Berkshiirites!

Too much solitude can usher in loneliness, grief and depression. After three years of the COVID pandemic, we all know what forced isolation can do to our mental health. We are social beings, and when we lose connection with those we love, melancholy and sadness often result, impacting our quality of life. What a positive difference a pet can make!

Just ask Bob. Bob is a retiree who shares his small apartment with Lavender, a friendly thirteen year old feline that he adopted twelve years ago. Bob laughs as Lavender hops off his lap every time I try to take a photo of the two of them. “She runs this place. She’s the boss, but I don’t mind. I just love her” Bob tells me. He explains how much it means to him to have her there with him—how he wakes each morning to see her sitting on his pillow staring at him (“she wants her breakfast!”) and how she can sense if he’s in a low mood-- she’ll jump up and snuggle, as though she knows he needs comforting at that very moment. Last year, when Bob was hospitalized for three weeks due to a heart issue, his first concern was for Lavender, all alone in their apartment. (His niece who lives nearby immediately took

care of her.) Bob can’t imagine life without a cat by his side; he would just be far too lonely. During my very enjoyable visit with Bob and Lavender, as I watched their interactions as Bob regaled me with many stories about her, it was evident to me that the bond the two of them share benefits both of them immensely. There are so many wonderful, mature cats and dogs needing homes, and so many lonely seniors whose lives would be enriched by having a pet.

Future issues of Berkshire Senior will explore topics relevant to seniors and their pets: resources available to help adopt and care for them, how to plan for their well-being should something happen to us, special considerations for seniors who have pets, and other information so that we and our pets can maintain that unique, healing bond that makes our lives so much more meaningful.

IF YOU LIVE WITH A PET, CAN YOU ANSWER YES TO THE FOLLOWING?

1. I have someone who lives close by, who knows my pet and can be called in an emergency

2. I’ve posted the name and phone number of my pet’s veterinarian, in case someone else needs to take over for me

3. I have enough pet food, pet medication, and other things (cat litter, dog chews, etc) in my home to last at least a week or longer, with written instructions

4. I have a sign on my entry door to alert visitors (or police/fire/medical responders) to not let my pet escape when they enter

Yvonne Borsody is a Berkshire resident specializing in animal care and adoption. She has a special interest in seniors and animal advocacy, especially for those who are disadvantaged.

HEALTH & WELLNESS Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior , FebruaryMarch 2023 5 When it comes to car ing for senior s, it ’s a mat ter of t r ust Meet t he Berk shir es Senior Car e Family Spr ingside 255 Lebanon Ave P it t sfield 413-499-2334 Rehabilitation Sk illed Care Cranev ille Place 265 Main St reet Dalton 413-684-3212 Rehabilitation Sk illed Care Sugar Hill 45 Main St reet Dalton 413-684-0100 Independent L iv ing Assisted Living • Memory Care Visit us online at www.BaneCar e.com

Tales of Honey Cat

Beloved pets, long after they are gone from daily life, remain deep within the hearts of human beings.

Like their departed human counterparts, they never really go away. Pet owners can feel their now quiet presence when least expected. On holiday mornings, special birthdays, or even on a lazy Sunday afternoon, they are there, rounding a corner or meowing with a gust of wind. Such is the case of Honey Cat.

She lived more than nine lives and touched the hearts of many people. She had a really incredible 17 years of life on the planet earth. Honey Cat’s birthplace was Tucson, Arizona. My family was living there at the time she came to us from the litter of kittens that belonged to a dear friend. Two years of pleading, begging, and wailing for a kitten had passed and finally, our very young daughter won. She had given every promise in the book when it came to cat care. In the end, we all came to love that tiny ball of honey-colored fur that fit in the palms of our hands.

As Honey Cat grew in size, she also grew in sheer bravery, courage, and perseverance. The demure, sweet, and loving kitten became a true huntress of the desert. She was afraid of nothing. She loved bringing her booty home to show everyone what she could accomplish.

One day, she sashayed through our kitchen patio doors with a foot-long, spiny backed lizard hanging from her mouth. On that momentous day, I was in the living room when she walked in with her prize. Immediately, I jumped up onto the couch and let out a bloody murderous scream that made Honey Cat drop her prey and run out of the room. The lizard crawled underneath the couch as my daughter came in to investigate what the heck was going on. I stood on the couch cushions, hoping I wouldn’t tumble down onto the living room rug. My daughter, who, even

today, handles crisis situations better than her mother, ran to get a broom and a cardboard box. She cajoled the lizard, who, by then was probably scared out of its wits, out from under the couch with the broom handled and popped the cardboard box on top of it. There ol’ lizzie waited until my late husband came home. He got lizzie into the box, closed the cover, and released it back to the desert outside our door.

Honey Cat brought home all kinds of booty such as rabbits, prairie dogs, and other wild creatures. Another time, my daughter summoned me to the patio. “Mom,” she cried, very upset. “Something’s wrong with Honey Cat. She’s making terrible sounds.” I ran out to the patio and sure enough, the cat was making throaty, guttural sounds, unlike any she had ever before elicited. They were chilling. It sounded like someone was sticking a dozen machetes into her soft fur. “Get the cat carrier,” I yelled. “We’ve got to take her to the vet.” Off we went with Honey Cat carrying on with her murderous chorus. The veterinarian came out, retrieved the cat carrier, and disappeared into an examining room. Awhile later, he called us in. Honey Cat was sitting up on a table with a portion of her fur shaved. “Your cat has been bitten by a snake,” the veterinarian said. He showed us the two holes in the cat’s body for proof. He then went on to explain that he couldn’t tell what kind of snake was the perpetrator. However, if it had been a rattlesnake, Honey Cat would need immediate treatment that started at $800. Otherwise, she would not survive the night. We were a young family, with human services workers’ salaries, and could absolutely not afford what could end up being an exorbitant bill. It was impossible. Consequently, the vet said he’d give her alternative meds, keep her overnight, and see if she’d make it. A very tearful delegation left the vet’s office that fateful evening. The next morning, a call to the vet revealed

that Honey Cat was flourishing. She had breakfast and was prancing around the caged area she had been put in, according to the vet. He kept her a couple more days and then released her. A happier group of Honey Cat lovers could never have been found as we cradled that beloved animal.

The time came when both kids had graduated high school and were in college. Their time with Honey Cat was far less than during their at home years. It was time to return to the east. I came back first to the east coast and paved the way for my late husband to eventually follow. The kids would make their own choices as to where they wanted to live as well as do for their living. For a while, I bunked with a cousin near Northampton. Loneliness was a huge factor during those endless months and my hubs and the kids decided I needed Honey Cat with me. I flew back to Arizona, arranged with an airline to bring her in a cat carrier on to the plane, and we took off for Bradley International. Honey Cat had been given a tranquilizer to calm her during the trip but it didn’t make the slightest bit of difference. She clawed at her carrier bag and meowed. Loudly. At one point, I heard another passenger say he heard a cat. “Yeah,” said another. “Some lady’s got a cat under her seat.” If Honey Cat escaped her carrier, I was determined to pretend I had no idea to whom she belonged. It was so unnerving. All the way across the country, the cat was miserable. In the airport at last, she was still unhappy. I got a shuttle to my car. It was winter and cold out. The desert cat continued to meow and complain. Once I got the carrier on the seat of the freezing car in some area of a remote parking lot, bam! Honey Cat was fast asleep. It took her more than 8 hours but she was out for the rest of the night. Eventually we found a home we loved in Pittsfield. Honey Cat settled in incredibly well. Because

she had always been an indoor/ outdoor cat, she continued with that lifestyle once we moved. She became a kind of queen of the neighborhood.

She’d proudly walk down the street near our house and through the yards of neighbors. Nothing deterred her. We always made her come in at night. One day, an unleashed dog got into our backyard. It dashed behind an area near a shed. Honey Cat quickly followed in pursuit of the canine. The dog barked and growled. Honey Cat’s shrill, fighting voice could also be heard. I screamed for my husband, truly thinking this could be the sad, sorry end of Honey Cat. Crying and praying like crazy, I managed to look out a window to the back yard. The dog, ears pulled way back, came barreling from behind the fence and flew like a shot in the dark out of the backyard. One rarely saw a dog move that fast. He was gone forever. Then came Honey Cat. She walked slowly, head raised, and looked like the Queen of Cats herself. She had won the fight.

She adjusted extremely well to the cold winters of New England, considering she was a cat of the hot Southwest.

She was part of every holiday we celebrated in our home as well as an intrinsic part of our everyday lives.

Whenever we traveled out of town, we had Maryann Elias, pet sitter, come in to take care of Honey Cat. During those years, her service was called Reliable Pet Sitting Company. Maryann was wonderful. We felt 100 percent comfortable leaving Honey Cat with her. The time came when Honey Cat’s health began to fail. She lost so much weight that she began to look emaciated. Our veterinarian, Dr. Sally Umlauf, took wonderful care of her and helped keep her alive as long as possible. Finally, the inevitable happened. Dr. Sally agreed it would be the kindest thing to let Honey Cat go in peace. Why prolong her suffering any longer? Her quality

FOND MEMORIES Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior , FebruaryMarch 2023 6

of life was very poor by then. My daughter was with me the day we brought her to be put to sleep. I cradled her in my arms, tears falling like rivers from my eyes. How could Honey Cat, after 17 years with us, be going away? She closed her eyes and became at peace after the injection was given. We took her home in a kind of shoe box. My husband dug a grave for our beloved Honey Cat in the corner of our backyard. We planted flowers there, too.

Years followed but Honey Cat never left our thoughts, hearts,

or memories. My husband died in 2020. In November of last year, I sold our home. It was with extreme difficulty that I walked past Honey Cat’s grave for the last time. She was one heck of a warrior cat who made better the lives of our entire family. One wonders if she’s chasing lizards or prairie dogs beyond that rainbow bridge. Sometimes, there seems to be a soft meowing in the wind. For sure, there is a feeling of Honey Cat’s presence in my heart forever

At Kimball Farms, retirement living is not a concept, it's a lifestyle.

ESBCI’s Executive Director, Chris McLaughlin and SHINE Program Supervisor Shauna Post accept a $10,000 donation from Greylock Federal Credit Union to support the SHINE Program (Serving the Insurance Need of Everyone). Presenting the check from Greylock Federal Credit Union are John Bissell, President and CEO and JamieEllen Moncecchi, Senior Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer.

Our unique approach to assisted living and memory care allows residents to enjoy the opportunities for social interaction, creative expression, and intellectual growth while receiving the personalized care they need.

FOND MEMORIES Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior , FebruaryMarch 2023 7
413-637-7000 to learn more. www.kimballfarms.org THANK Y OU F OR V O TING KIMB ALL F ARMS BE S T RETIREMENT C OMMUNITY OF THE BERK SHIRE S! ALL -INCL USIVE A SSISTED LIVING & MEMOR Y C ARE
Call

Senior “Circuit Breaker” Tax Credit

You may be eligible for a refundable real estate tax credit!

Certain seniors who own or rent residential property are eligible for a refundable tax credit – find out below if you qualify:

The Circuit Breaker (CB) tax credit is offered to older persons in Massachusetts to offset high property tax bills. This tax break is called the “circuit breaker” because it is triggered like an electrical circuit breaker, when property tax payments, together with half of your water and sewer expense exceeds 10% of a person’s income for the same tax year. Even though the CB tax credit is based on your property tax payment, it is the state that pays you back - not your local city or town.

To be eligible for the credit for the 2022 tax year you must be at least 65 years of age before January 1, 2023, own or rent a home or apartment in Massachusetts and occupy it as your principal residence. Your 2022 total income cannot exceed $64,000 for a single filer, $80,000 for a head of household, or $96,000 for married couples filing a joint return. For purposes of this credit, “total income” includes taxable income as well as exempt income such as social security, treasury bills, and public pensions. The assessed

valuation of your property cannot be more than $912,000. If the taxpayer owns more than one acre of land, only the assessed value of the principal residence, together with the land that immediately surrounds and is associated with that residence, not to exceed one acre, should be used in determining the eligibility of the taxpayer for the credit. The maximum credit allowed for tax year 2022 is $1,200. If you rent, the law assumes that 25% of your rent goes toward property taxes. A formula, based on actual rent paid during the calendar year, is used to determine the amount of an elder tenant’s CB credit. No credit is allowed if the taxpayer claims the married filing separate status, receives a federal or state rent subsidy, rents from a landlord who is not required to pay real estate taxes, or is the dependent of another taxpayer.

You claim the credit by submitting a completed Schedule CB Worksheet and Schedule CB, Circuit Break Credit, with a 2022 state income tax return. If you do not normally file a state return because you don’t owe any state taxes, you still can take advantage of this tax break by filing a Form One plus the Schedule CB. Full-year resident taxpayers who have previously filed a Massachusetts return are eligible to file an income tax

return and apply for the Senior Circuit Breaker Tax credit on MassTaxConnect for free. Or, if you’re eligible, complete Schedule CB with your Mass state income tax return, using your tax software. You can also print out the forms found online and mail them to the Mass DOR. Any credit received by an eligible taxpayer is not considered income for the purposes of obtaining eligibility or benefits under other means-tested assistance programs including food, medical, housing, and energy assistance programs.

If you find yourself eligible, you can go back 3 tax years and claim the credit retroactively. For example, you have until April 19, 2023 to file for the circuit breaker tax rebate for 2019. If you filed a Form One, you must file a Form CA-6, which is an Application for Abatement/Amended Return. Along with the amendment form, you submit a Schedule CB to calculate your credit. If you did not file Form 1, you must file Form 1 for that year now, together with Schedule CB. This must be completed within 3 years from the last day for filing the return, without regard to any extension of time to file.

For more information, you can go to the Mass. Dept of Revenue website, www.mass. gov/dor, where you can download forms and detailed instructions,

including the brochure “Tax Tips for Seniors and Retirees” and “Massachusetts Tax Information for Seniors and Retirees”.

Free tax preparation assistance may also be available from February until April 15th through the Tax-Aide Program sponsored by the AARP Foundation for all middle and low-income taxpayers, with special attention to those age 60 and older. Volunteers are trained in cooperation with the IRS and will assist in filling out tax forms and then filing them electronically. You do not need to be a member of AARP or a retiree to use this service. Berkshire County sites offering this service are generally local Senior Centers. Due to the COVID pandemic, some AARP sites as well as the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites may be offering virtual, telephone, and/or no contact drop-off service in addition to or in place of in-person appointments. Local VITA sites include Berkshire Community Action Council (bcacinc.org) and Berkshire Habitat for Humanity (berkshirehabitat.org/vita).

Elder Services Information and Referral (I & R) Department provides information about problems or issues relevant to seniors. I & R Specialists can be reached at 413-499-0524 or 1-800544-5242.

FINANCES Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior , FebruaryMarch 2023 8 MONUMENTS • MARKERS • LETTERING 413-499-1750 234 Wahconah Street Pittsfield MA 01201 Home and O ffice Visits Available by Appointment Find Us at www.FootCarebyNurses.net Phone at: 413.358.4202 (local) • 877.204.8880 (toll free) Email at: R2Admin@FootCarebyNurses.net

Fallon Health Awards Grant to ESBCI

Fallon Health has awarded Elder Services a $10,000 Community Impact Grant for the Senior Wellness, Nutrition and Safety Program. $5,000 of the grant will support ESBCI’s new Medically Tailored Meals Program for individuals with cardiac and renal specific dietary needs. Until now, we have not been able to provide these meals for individuals who require specific diets. The other $5,000 is providing support for a Fall Prevention Program which will distribute night lights, falls prevention and home safety information as well “File for Life” refrigerator magnets. The grant from Fallon Health is making these two new initiatives possible.

Volunteer for Elder Services Today!

Volunteer Opportunities

Food Service Help prepare and package meals for seniors at the ESBCI kitchen in Lanesborough.

Meals On Wheels Driver Deliver meals to homebound seniors.

Grocery Shopping Assistant Drive and escort a senior to the grocery store or shop for a homebound senior with a list.

Companionship Visit a lonely senior or accompany him/her into the community for shopping or special events.

Money Management Assist income-eligible seniors monthly in writing checks for household bills, budgeting, and reconciling bank statements.

Long Term Care Ombudsman Make weekly visits to nursing home residents to advocate for and resolve complaints.

Office Work Assist with special projects such as bulk mailings at Elder Services’ office, 877 South Street, 4E, Pittsfield.

Contact:

Pam McDonald, Volunteer Coordinator (413) 499-0524 | pmcdonald@esbci�org

Quality Non-Medical Care

VOLUNTEERING Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior , FebruaryMarch 2023 9 PERSONAL CARE | COMPANIONSHIP | HOMEKEEPING 150 Nor th Street , Suite 25 • Pittsfield, MA WholeHear thc com • 413 82 2 16 41 Fully L icensed & Insured Private Non-Medical Home Care A gency Locally Owned and Operated by an RN WHOLE HE ART HOME CARE SER VICE S: SERVING BERKSHIRE COUNT Y
in the Comfort of Home
Pictured: (left to right) Fallon’s Community Engagement Manager Cheryl Schmalz and Sarai Liebenow- Account Executive of Fallon Health’s NaviCare. From Elder Services are Maura Doran - Nutrition Program Manager, Kim Kelly –Community Services Director, and Kathleen Phillips-Planning & Development Supervisor. At the far right is Christine Cassidy, Chief Communications Officer for Fallon Health.

Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc. NUTRITION PROGRAM

SENIOR COMMUNITY DINING CENTERS

Due to the continuing State of Emergency, the status and offerings of the Senior Community Dining Centers are likely to evolve. Please call for the latest update.

Eligible seniors 60 years or older are welcome to attend any Senior Community Dining Center. Reservations are requested 24 hours in advance. The 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.

MEALS ON WHEELS Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior , FebruaryMarch 2023 10 If You Need Transpor tation Assistance We Are Available 2 4/7, 365 Days Serving All of New England & New York 18 Oak St., Pittsfield, MA • (413) 4 47-3800 You name it, we do it! Established in 2003 • Medical Appointments • Holiday Get Together s • Dinner • Shopping Voted Best of t he Berkshi res! Pit t s f ield O ff ice 74 0 Williams S tree t , Pit t s f ield, MA 01201 413 - 4 47- 8070 Dalton O ff ice 4 00 Main S tree t , Dal ton, MA 012 26 413 - 68 4 -978 3 L enox O ff ice 90 Pit t s f ield Road, L enox , MA 0124 0 413 - 6 3 7-28 10 JOHN DEL AHANT Y, DPT AMANDA ROBERTS, DPT BERKSHIRE PHYSICAL THERAPY & WELLNESS TIFFANY
PT
MIL ANI, PT
RYAN
Y
PT NICOLE TUCKER, PT BRENT SYLVIA PT JACKIE FARRELL , DPT THOMAS COONE Y, DPT CITY/TOWN PHONE ADDRESS DAYS MEALS SERVED SERVING TIME NO� ADAMS 662-3125 SPITZER CENTER 116 Ashland St. M-T-W-TH-F 11:30 am WILLIAMSTOWN 458-8250 HARPER CENTER 118 Church St. M-W-F 11:30 am ADAMS 743-8333 COMMUNITY CENTER 3 Hoosac St. M-T-W-TH-F 11:30 am CHESHIRE 743-9719 SENIOR CENTER 119 School St. M-T-W-TH-F 11:30 am LANESBORO 448-2682 TOWN HALL 83 North Main St. M-W 11:30 am DALTON 684-2000 SENIOR CENTER 40 Field St. Ext. M-TH 12:00 pm BECKET 623-8934 TOWN HALL Route 577 Main St. T & TH 11:00 am PITTSFIELD 499-9346 SENIOR CENTER 330 North St. M-T-W-TH-F 11:30 am LENOX 637-5535 COMMUNITY CENTER 65 Walker St. M-T-W-TH-F 12:00 pm LEE 394-4160 SENIOR CENTER 21 Crossway Village M-T-W-TH-F 11:30 am GT� BARRINGTON 528-4118 SENIOR CENTER 917 South Main St. M-T-W-TH-F 11:30 am PITTSFIELD 442-2200 KOSHER JEWISH COMM� CTR 16 Colt Road M-T-TH 11:45 am STOCKBRIDGE 298-3222 HEATON COURT 5 Pine St. CLOSED CLOSED PROVIDENCE CT� 443-1841 PROVIDENCE COURT 379 East St. M-T-W-TH-F 11:30 am STOCKBRIDGE 298-4170 SENIOR CENTER 50 Main St. CLOSED CLOSED SHEFFIELD 229-7037 SENIOR CENTER 25 Cook Road W & F 12:00 pm
BROWER,
JOY
SHAUNNA HOULE DPT
TUGGE
PTA ROBERT PADUANO,
BERKSHIRE COUNTY

Meals on Wheels Kitchen Undergoes Renovation

A grant through Berkshire Taconic Foundation’s CARES Act Community Food Security Program has made it possible for Elder Services to replace much dated equipment at its Lanesboro kitchen facility. The grant provided ESBCI the funds needed to replace 28 year old kitchen equipment that had been used to prepare nutritious meals for the Meals on Wheels Program. Much of the equipment required for meal prep was outdated, unreliable, inefficient and beyond repair. The $119,489 grant facilitated by the Berkshire Taconic Foundation was used to purchase and install 2 new walk-in coolers, a reach-

in refrigerator, and a walk-in freezer as well as insulated food carriers, a 60 gallon gas kettle and an electric food cutter. This new equipment is not only more energy efficient but more importantly in makes it possible to more efficiently prepare over 950 meals each day/five days a week for home delivered meals and meals for the senior meal sites throughout the County. The new equipment also makes it possible to meet the increased demand for Meals on Wheels. This past year ESBCI’s Meals on Wheels Program prepared and delivered

208,904 meals for seniors in Berkshire County.

Once the equipment was ordered and delivered to B&G Restaurant Supply of Pittsfield the plans were made to dismantle the old equipment and install the new equipment---while at the same time maintain meal delivery to over 950 seniors each day. This

herculean undertaking was accomplished with a team from Elder Services in conjunction with the assistance and efforts of staff from the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Thomas Bowler not only made his staff available but also provided use

St. Patrick’s Day Word Search

MEALS ON WHEELS Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior , FebruaryMarch 2023 11

of the Second Street facility for the three days from which to distribute frozen meals during the transition. The team from ESBCI included Kimberly Kelly, Deb Aldrich, Maura Doran, Lisa Allen and all the Meals on Wheels’ kitchen staff and drivers. The ESBCI team coordinated with the team from the Sheriff’s Office which consisted of Captain Renee

Stracuzzi, Gary Russell, Octavia Jones May, Katherine Sonsini, Megan Wright and Officer Christopher Bush. We could not have accomplished this important upgrading of equipment while maintaining the meal deliveries without the overwhelming contributions of the Sheriff and his staff.

DID YOU KNOW?

BERKSHIRE COUNTY LEGISLATORS

UNITED STATES CONGRESS

Congressman Richard Neal

372 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

(202) 225-5601

300 State Street, Suite 200

Springfield, MA 01105-1711

(413) 785-0325

Rep. Smitty Pignatelli

24 Beacon Street, Room 473F

Boston, MA 02133

(617) 722-2692

District Office: (413) 637-0631

Rep.smitty@mahouse.gov

Rep. John Barrett, III

24 Beacon Street, Room 237

Boston, MA 02133

(617) 722-2305

District Office: (413) 743-8300

John.barrett@mahouse.gov

The way YO U wo uld like to be re me mbe red...

Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier

24 Beacon Street, Room 127

Boston, MA 02133

(617) 722-2680

District Office: (413) 442-4300

Tricia.farley-bouvier@mahouse.gov

Rep. Paul Mark

24 Beacon Street, Room 160

Boston, MA 02133

(617) 722-2304

District Office: (413) 464-5635

Paul.mark@mahouse.gov

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior , FebruaryMarch 2023 12 MEALS ON WHEELS F r i e nd s he l p i n g f r i e nd s si n c e 1 9 1 8 4 0 M A P L E W O O D AV E N U E • P I T T S F I E L D , M A 0 1 2 0 1 C A L L U S : 41 3 . 4 4 5 . 5 9 8 8 P r o u d a f f i l i a t e o f C a r r i a g e S e r v i c e s C a r o l i n e R S u l l iv a n | J o h n W B re sn ah a n
Allow u s to help put your vision in plac e and put your family’s mind at ease. Please c all u s to inquire about our pre planning guide or at need ser vic e s.
can impersonate charities or create a fake charity in order to trick seniors into giving them money.
Cybercriminals

An Ombudsman is:

• An individual certified and trained by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs.

• Someone who will listen to your nursing home concerns and conversations are always confidential.

• A problem solver who works with you to resolve complaints.

• A resource for information and referrals.

Learn more: Phone: 413-499-0524 or 413-236-1726

877 South Street, Suite 4E Pittsfield, MA 01201

Berkshire Senior Television

Currently airing on PCTV Channel 1301 Access Pittsfield

Currently airing on PCTV, Channel 1301 Access Pittsfield

Broadcast schedule:

Broadcast schedule:

PCTV channel 1301

Mondays at 5:00 p.m. ▪ Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.

Thursdays at 11:30 a.m.

▪ Saturdays at Noon

Mondays at 5 p.m., Tuesdays at 3 p.m., Thursdays at 11 a.m. & Saturday 11:30 a.m.

Or watch online, ON DEMAND on pittsfieldtv.org.

Thank you to our friends at PCTV for all their help in making Berkshire Senior TV accessible to our community.

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior , FebruaryMarch 2023 13 SAFETY Each Home Instead® franchise is independently owned and operated franchise of Home Instead nc., `an Honor Company © 2020 Home Instead Inc Call (413) 442-0907 or visit HomeInstead.com/Berkshire
f you want to keep an aging loved one safe at home, Home Instead® can help. Services: • Personal Care • Companionship • Meal Prep • Transpor tation • Hospice Suppor t • Memor y Care • Ar thritis Care • Diabetes Care • Chronic Conditions Suppor t
I
De-stress for the Holidays with EMHOT staff Samantha Dominguez, Hilary Houldsworth and Jill Lebar with Kathleen Phillips.

Thank You To Our Donors:

The following donations were received between November 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022. Donations received on or after January 1, 2023 will appear in the next issue of Berkshire Senior.

Memorial Donations

In Memory of: Beverly and Thomas Armstrong

Lynda Armstrong-Race

In Memory of: Marie Biron

Marian Roper

In Memory of: William Broderick

Katherine Broderick

In Memory of: Wanda & C Fred Dubis

Elaine Kittler

In Memory of: Rita Duginski

Maryann Bassett

In Memory of: Jack and Helen Fitzpatrick

Sheila Fitzpatrick

In Memory of: The Pasquarelli and Talbot Family

Doris Pasquarelli

In Memory of: Lavena Pero & Rosemary Ryan

Ronald and Patricia Pero

In Memory of: Louis and Annette

Rosenberg

Howard Rosenberg

In Memory of: Elizabeth Stack

James Armstrong

Sharon Carlo

Dean and Marie Clement

Patricia Curry

CT and L Danese

Anna and Daniela Dethomasis

Garfield and Bonnie Galant

Rita and Philip Gregory

Lance and Dee LaPointe

John and Rosemary McLaughlin

Ann Norton Proshan

Paul and Susan Paoletti

Michael and Celeste Perkins

Barbara Russo

Richard Scialabba

Anthony and Cristina Scipione

Lina Simeone

William and Rose Ann Sturgeon

In Memory of: Phyllis Watroba

Robert and Lee Watroba

In Memory of: Lois Weaver

Paul and Meryl Delasco

David and Carol Jordan

Honor Donations

In Honor of: Rachel Acampora

Kim Kelly

In Honor of: Dona Jadatz

Elicia Wiltschko

Elder Independence

Donations

Ronald and Sandra Aasen

Mary Adams

Marion Adler

Ginger Alexander

John and Jane Allen

James Amaral

Judith Ambery

Louise Amstead

Dana Anderson

Robert and Shirley Annelli

James Armstrong

Tom and Marlene Atwood

Robert and Jo Ann Austin

Lisa Avery

Cheryl Baker

Robert and Katharyn Barnes

Robert and Georgiana Bartini

Frank Battista

Barbara Bennett

Maggie and Sam Bittman

Susan Bohl

Daniel and Jeanne Boino

Edward and Ellen Bond

Edward and Pamela Bourdon

Ronald Bourgoin

Jeffry and Marcella Bradway

Francis Brilliant

Richard Brophy

Sara Burke

John and Nancy Burton

Anita Busch

Teresa Caldwell

Kathleen Carter

Cheryl Ann Chalmers

Patricia Choquette

Richard and Wendy Clothier

Richard and Sandra Cobb

Dr. Laurence Cohen

Dr. Joel Colker and Sue Colker

Peter Conkling

C Jeffrey and Judith Cook

Nancy Cook

Paula Cooke

John and Geraldine Crane

Richard Daub

Keith Davis

Sarah and James DelSignor

Malcolm Douglas Beverly Doyle

Peter Dudek

Robert and Barbara Eccher

James and Carol Edelman

Cia Elkin and Larry Gedd Elkin

Joanne Longton

Paula Farrell

Raymond and Barbara Ferrarin

Michelle Filiault

Anne Fix

William and Patricia Flaherty

Henry and Susan Flint

Diana Fontana

Lois Forsley

Francis Investment Consulting Group

Donald and Paula Gamache

John and Carole Genzabella

Eleanor Gifford

Alfred and Evelyn Goggia

Donald Hanson

Joseph Havrilla

Mary Hayes

Sarah Henry

Robert Hildebrand

Neil and Nancy Hiltpold

Gerard and Christine Hurley

Dr. Frederic Hyman

Sylvia Jamros

Peter Karpenski

George and Patricia Kellar

Russell Kenyon

Karen Ketcham

Winthrop Kie

Delmore and Georgette Kinney

Kathryn and Gary Korte

Ellen Krupka

James and Sharon Kus

John and Judith Ladd

Frank and Jeanette Lagowski

Fern Lavelle

Joel and Patrice Less

Anne Lesser and Thom Lipiczky

Lesser

Patrick Litano

Rabbi Daveen Litwin

Richard Macht

Scott MacKenzie

Mary and Susan Mackle

Michael Margolis

Richard Markham

Lawrence Martz

Gary and Catherine Mayne

Lee McClelland

Leda Melideo

Mark and Osnedya Miller

Richard and Ruth Moon

George Munson

Anthony and Augusta Nicastro

Rosalie Noyes

Cornelius and Mary Obanhein

Frederick Olszewski

Donald and Barbara Percy

Allan and Susan Pike

Asta Potter

Elizabeth Prevey

Steven and Sally Pullen

Judith Culver

Raymond and Barbara Ranzoni

Dr. Robin Renders

Carolyn Renzi

Susan Ricci

Franklin Risatti

Ralph and Frances Robinson

Nancy Rodovick

Vlada Rousseff

Nancy Roy

Barbara Rubin

Joseph and Pat Salvadore

Thomas and Victoria Sedgwick

Joanne Seymour

Bernice Shainman

Kathleen Shelby

James Shippee

Mary Shogry-Hayer

Marilyn Shulklapper

Newell and Paula Skinner

Pat Steele

Seth Stockwell

Dr. Erwin Stuebner and Jane Stuebner

James and Margaret Sulzmann

Uldis and Maija Surmanis

George and Betty Sweet

George and Judith Szecsei

Barbara Tatro

Wayne and Lisa Tenney

Judith Thompson

Joseph and Nancy Tirrell

Norma Tomkowicz

Neville Toye

Jo Valens

Thomas and Mary Vaughan

Robert Veit

Judith Weber

Olivia Zegarowski

General Donations

Sylvia Allen

Allen and Shirley Arndt

Matthew Barbas

Bruce Barry

Al Bingham

Thomas and Lorita Bosworth

Lawrence Bravo

Jennifer Brennan

Brian Carpenter

Katharine L. W. and Winthrop M.

Crane III Charitable Foundation

Dr. Eugene Curletti and Delores

Curletti

Frank and Suzanne Engels

Kathleen Face

William Flaherty

Russell and Mary Glazer

Cynthia Golin

Joseph and Maureen Hennessey

Sarah Hitchcock-Degregori

Wade Hoffman

Francis Johnson

Gregory Jones

Thomas and Susanna Keefe

Kathleen Kilgus

Mary Anne Kirby

Carol Kirby

Lawrence and Marlene Kirchner

Sandra Kleiner

Richard Kurek

Diane LaValle

Vera Lecocq

Peter and Susan LePrevost

Mary Macbeth-Rivers

Wayne and Anna Mickiewicz

Laurie Moffatt

Dana Oliva

Onyx Specialty Papers Inc

Antonio and Margaret Pagliarulo

Bo and Katherine Peabody

Donna Pignatelli

Dr. Bruce and Barbara

Shickmanter

Theodore and Elaine

Sideropoulos

Mary Skorupa

St. Ann Church

Maureen Strype

Ben and Lauren Svenson

Joseph and Nancy Tirrell

Judith Trask

Peter Traub

Michelle Tyer

Jeffrey and Sally Vincent

Dr. Arthur Wasser and Terry Wasser

Cheryl Wilser

Sean and Kathryn Wilson

Meals on Wheels

Donations

Paul and Kim Bruce

Christ Trinity Church

Tim and Sharon Coe

John and Deborah De Forest

Clyde and Lorry Decorie

Barry and Judith Dichter

David Grady

Mary Ellen Prescott

Tamar Schrager

SHINE Donations

Cynthia Armstrong

Greylock Federal Credit Union

Steven Hoekstra

DONATIONS Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior , FebruaryMarch 2023 14
1983 MOL ARI HealthCare has enjoyed providing our neighbors in Berkshire Count y with trusted, qualit y homecare. Working as your par tner, our staff will create a flexible care plan to fit your needs With MOL ARI you are assured that you and your care is our number one priorit y. MOL ARI is committed to providing the best possible solution for your home healthcare needs. • A ssist ance with Per sonal C ar e • Medication Reminder s • Meal Pr epar ation
L ight Housekeeping • Companionship 166 East Street • Pittsfield, MA 01201 413-499-4562 or 1-800-649-4562 Visit us on the web : www.MOLARIinc.com Ser vices offered by MOLARI • L aundr y Ser vices
A ssist ance with Tr anspor t ation
Shopping and Err ands
Respite C ar e
Since
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