Berkshire Senior August - September 2022

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Your Care, Your Home, Your Neighbors

ESBCI Volunteers and Staff Celebrate at the Pride Festival in Pittsfield

“I’m so glad I called HospiceCare in The Berkshires when I did.”

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, August - September 2022

“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.”

Offering compassion to our community: • 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

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.


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 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.

By Christopher McLaughlin, Executive Director of Elder Services Hoping all is well with you and yours. Today is a 90-degree day and chances are, by the time you read this in early August, we will still have some 90-degree days ahead of us. Whether it is too hot or too cold, the weather in the Berkshires is never boring. At least we have had a little bit of a respite from COVID-19 during the past few months. The Pandemic is not an historic event yet but at least it seems to be playing a smaller role in our lives than it had been for more than two years. One positive outcome of the pandemic was the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), new federal funding to ensure essential services continue to support people during a time when they need it more than ever. Elder Services was the beneficiary of about $1.0 million of ARPA funding, targeted at our federal programs, one of which is our Nutrition (Meals on Wheels) Program. We are very proud of our Meals on Wheels Program but acknowledge that it has been a one-size fits all program. Prior to 2022, we had been unable to offer meals to individuals with vegetarian diets or to those who require specialized meals due to certain medical issues. During this time of many challenges, Elder Services took advantage of an opportunity to expand the Nutrition Program to broaden our outreach and offerings to the clients we serve. Research suggests that vegetarian and medically tailored meals improve health outcomes, lower health care costs and increase client satisfaction. As a public service organization, Elder Services collaborates with local organizations focused on addressing social determinants of health as a means of improving health outcomes. Here are a few of the local organizations we teamed up with to offer our clients more meal choices: The Berkshire County Sherriff’s Office – Meals are prepared at the Berkshire County House of Correction by a chef, supervised inmates and a registered dietitian. Vegetarian meals are tailored to meet the needs of individuals who refrain from eating meat such as beef, chicken, and fish. Meals contain fruits, vegetables, eggs, milk, legumes, nuts and seeds. Additionally, some clients will receive fresh heads of lettuce grown in the House of Corrections’ Aquaponics Program, donated by the Sheriff’s Office. Hillcrest Commons Nursing & Rehabilitation Center – Hillcrest Commons’ chef and registered dietician create appealing and nutritious cardiac and renal meals that meet the needs of individuals who require a more restrictive diet. Berkshire Grown – Elder Services’ kitchen incorporates locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables into the daily meals it prepares. Farmers’ market coupons will be available at many local senior centers. To learn more about the vegetarian, cardiac or renal meals we offer, please contact Elder Services at 1-800-981-5201 or 413-499-0524 or via email at Until next time be good, be kind and be careful.

Contents Eat Well, Be Well ������������������������������������������������������������� 4 Lee Senior Center Hosts Girl Scouts ������������������������� 5 Using Smart Technology ���������������������������������������������� 6 Farmers’ Market Coupons �������������������������������������������� 6 Community Volunteer Spotlight �������������������������������� 7

Volunteers Needed ������������������������������������������������������� 8 Medicare News �������������������������������������������������������������� 9 Senior Meal Sites ����������������������������������������������������������� 9 Fuel Assistance ������������������������������������������������������������12 Donations ���������������������������������������������������������������������14

Volume 40, Number 4 August 2022 The bi-monthly newspaper for Berkshire County seniors


Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, August - September 2022


Elder Services Now Offers Vegetarian and Medically Tailored Meals


Mission Statement


NUTRITION Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, August - September 2022 4

Eat Well, Be Well

Nutrition is a vital component of our health and well-being, especially as we age. However, in communities throughout the U.S., older adults sometimes lack access to the high quality, nutritious food they need to remain healthy and independent. Elder Services of Berkshire County of fers the Senior Nutrition Program to promote healthy eating, decrease social isolation, and support better health. They also provide a gateway for older adults to access other home and communitybased services such as chronic disease management services. Medical Nutrition Therapy is a one of the many vital service offered by Elder Services of Berkshire County. What is Medical Nutrition Therapy? Medical Nutrition Therapy is an approach to treating severe illness. People living with serious illnesses benef it from eating foods specifically designed for a

medical condition. Food is medicine. Did you know that studies show that individual with obesity, diabetes, and lipid metabolism disorders who receive medical nutrition therapy (MNT) from a registered dietitian have better outcomes than those who receive traditional care? You are what you eat. So why treat serious illness with nutrition? Food and nutrition standards founded in research result in better health outcomes. Tailoring the medical needs of an individual by a registered dietitian has been demonstrated to improve health outcomes, improve quality of life and longevity, and reduce hospital admissions for people with obesity, diabetes and lipid metabolism disorders, as well as other chronic diseases. Who needs a medically tailored meal? If you or s o m e o n e yo u l ove h a s a serious medical condition like cardiovascular disease, renal

failure, cancer or malnutrition. A registered dietitian then tailors the meal plan to the unique needs of the individual and completes a nutritional assessment. Elder Services of Berkshire County uses nutrition practice standards and provides evidence-based nutrition science to provide meals, education and counseling. Meals are available to those consumers who attend senior dining centers and for those individuals that require a home delivered meal.

are 800mg of potassium, 800 mg Sodium, 300 mg phosphorus.

What meals are available?

To learn more about our program and the services we provide by contacting ESBCI at 1-800-981-5201 or 413-499-0524 or email at 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 #MNT.

Cardiac meals are available for those with heart disease. Nutrients including sodium, fat and saturated fat are reduced. Meals are 800mg Sodium, 30% total fat, 10% saturated fat Renal meals are available for those consumers that have kidney disease. Nutrients including potassium, sodium and phosphorus are reduced. Meals

Pureed meals are foods that are pureed and are of soft consistency (like applesauce). Puree meals are available for consumers that have difficulty chewing or swallowing. Vegetarian meals are available for those consumers that do not eat meat products including beef, chicken, fish and pork. Meals do contain milk, eggs, nuts and seeds.

Enjoy life with a community of friends.

One Bedroom apartments are ready for f immediate occupancy.

The Inn at Lathrop Community offers a positive and supportive environment that helps build and nurture a sense of community and well-being. You’ll benefit from life enrichment programs and greater opportunities for socialization and fitness. Discover the meaning of Enhanced Independent Living at The Inn. 413-437-5892 | | 100 Bassett Brook Drive Easthampton, MA A Not-for-Profit Community Serving Older Adults in the Quaker Tradition.

by Patricia DiGrigoli, Director of the Lee Council on Aging and Senior Center

Sheriff Tom Bowler (center) with Sheriff Department Staff (left to right) Captain Renee Stracuzzi and Keisa Purry join Elder Services Executive Director Christopher McLaughlin and Nutrition Program Manager Maura Doran and Lt. William Ryan from the Sheriff’s Department to celebrate the new collaboration making vegetarian meals possible for the Meals on Wheels Program.

Girls have been blazing new trails and if you were ever a Girl Scout or involved in any type of Scouts you know how fun it was and all the memories you have of those “Good old Days”. Well here at the Lee Senior Center three seniors have stepped forward to become registered Girl Scout leaders. It is probably the most unlikely place to have a Girl Scout troop yet Susan Johnson, Brigiette White and Gayl Puhlaski host Brownie Girl Scout Troop 65244 every other Tuesday to a group of 10 girls. The girls with their leaders have hosted a spaghetti dinner for their parents, earned their First Aid badge with the help of the Lee Police and the Lee Fire/Ambulance Departments, earned a space badge, pet badge, learned the art of stained glass window making, had a drive collecting blankets, hats, scarfs, mittens, sox and donated to a homeless shelter and are planning a slumber party to prepare for a future camping trip! Everyone is breaking the intergenerational gap and having fun. We may be a proud first and our recommendation is to try it. Host your Girl Scout troop this coming September. It is such a rewarding experience.


Lee Senior Center Host To Brownie Girl Scout Troop

Editorial Board Members Wanted

Do you look forward to reading Berkshire Senior every other month? Do you have a passion for issues that are important to seniors? Are you creative? If you’d like to have input into the format and content of Berkshire Senior we’d love to have you serve on our Editorial Board! We meet once every other month for about 60 minutes in our administrative offices in Pittsfield or through Zoom If you are interested, please contact Christopher McLaughlin, Executive Director at (413) 499-0524.

Do you know of a senior who volunteers their time and energy to help others?

Providing comprehensive hearing healthcare in the Berkshires for 20 years s Diagnostic Hearing Evaluations s Tinnitus Treatment s Hearing Aid Dispensing s Custom Hearing Protection s Hearing Aid Repairs s Musician’s Filters 510 North Street, Suite 9, Pittsfield, MA 01201 • (413) 443-4800 •

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, August - September 2022

By helping others they contribute to our Berkshire County community—whether in their neighborhood, place of worship, through a community agency, or any other group or organization. We would love to share these senior volunteer stories in Berkshire Senior. Contact: Kathleen Phillips at 499-0524 ext. 728

Dr. Andrew J. Puttick Au.D., F-AAA



Using Smart Technology to Help You “Age in Place” By: Christian Tenczar

Aging in place is to have the capability to live in your own home and community safely, independently and comfortably regardless of age, income or ability. Now more than ever there are technology tools available to help everyone age in place as we all grow older. These technologies make everyday tasks easier for everyone involved, although sometimes require a little planning and setup beforehand.

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, August - September 2022



You can protect the accounts you have by using strong and unique passwords.

Fall Detection & Wearables This technology is worn like a piece of jewelry and comes in the form of necklaces, watches, and even rings you wear on your finger. If you are wearing one of these devices and fall, pushing a button on the device will make sure someone is called to come and help. Depending on the device, some can even recognize you had a fall all on their own and call emergency services for you. There are many options available including well known national companies such as Lifeline and Life Alert which might be covered by an insurance provider depending on your situation. Fall detection is also being added to mainstream technolo g y wearables such as the Apple Watch, although with the Apple Watch it is not active by default and needs to be turned on in the settings to be used.

Medication Management Sometimes it can be difficult to remember when to take important medications, especially if you have a large number of prescriptions or are prone to being forgetful. There are a number of medication dispensing devices available to help with this

Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline In 2020, Congress designated 988 as a new three-digit dialing, texting, and chat code for direct connection to support for anyone experiencing substance use issues, a suicidal crisis, or mental health-related distress. When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. These trained counselors will listen to callers, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources as necessary. The current Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, even after 988 is launched nationally. For more information visit:

sort of problem. These devices need to be programmed and filled with the medications beforehand, sometimes by a trusted caregiver. At the programmed time, an alarm or notification will go off to let you know that a medicine is about to be dispensed. Many of these devices even have the ability to send a message to a trusted caregiver if the medication is not taken out of the machine at the programmed time, making sure someone follows up to see why that medication was missed.

Home Safety Smart technology in this category can do a number of things from telling you when someone is knocking at your f ro n t d o o r, a u t o m at i c a l ly locking doors and windows at programmed times, and even turning off appliances that might be dangerous if left unattended.

Doorbell cameras are becoming increasingly popular and can be very handy for someone who may have difficulty hearing a knock at the door or a ringing doorbell. When someone is at your door these devices send an alert on a cell phone or other device in the home like an Alexa or Google Home. In most cases, you can even use the app to see who may be at your door. Smart locks can be programmed to automatically lock at specific times for the case where someone might forget to lock up to stay safe at night. Another common occurrence is folks forgetting that they have a hot pan on the stove, possibly risking a fire. A variety of smart stove systems can be installed to automatically turn off a stove if it is unattended for a period of time. Through the use of smart technology, aging in place can be achievable by more and more people than ever before.

Famers’ Market Coupons have been delayed until August 2022 The ever popular Farmers’ Market Coupon program has been delayed this year. While the coupons usually arrive to Councils on Aging in early July, they will be dispersed a month late in 2022 due to issues in physically printing the coupons caused by the lingering COVID-19 Pandemic. Be sure to keep in touch with your local Council on Aging to inquire whether they have received their coupons. They should be arriving between early-to-mid August.

by Susan Guerrero

and Allen Heights Veterinary Hospital so furry friends could be cozy and feel safe, Yetz said. Yetz has made scarves and lap blankets for people in the city’s homeless shelters, too. From the tiniest members of society to elderly residents, there is hardly a portion of the population that has not been impacted by her generous, handmade gifts. For example, newborn babies at Berkshire Medical Center have received Yetz’s soft, knitted mittens and hats. Veterans who live at Soldier On, on West Housatonic St. have received Yetz’s beautifully knitted scarves. Luckily, friends donate material for dozens upon dozens of lap blankets Yetz makes. These days, she’s still knitting and sewing up a storm in her home. Whenever she’s sitting while watching television, out come the knitting needles and yarn. Nearby one is sure to find Kleo, Yetz’s nine-year-old Persian

cat. “She’s very precious to me,” she said. If she is unable to sleep, Yetz gets up and works on lap blankets that are sure to be given to someone who will love their bright colors and warmth or on some other volunteer project. “ M y h a n d s a r e a lways moving,” Yetz said with a smile. So is her heart since she is always thinking of others and how she can serve, quietly, with dedication, and a lot of love.

The way YOU would like to be remembered...

Allow us to help 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 1918 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 US: 413. 4 4 5. 5 9 8 8

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, August - September 2022

“Volunteer Extraordinaire” could easily be Gisele Yetz’s middle name. Throughout her life, the Pittsfield native has volunteered. Mention an agency throughout the City and Yetz has probably done something for somebody there. She drove a van for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), has helped with various local food pantries, ran a gift shop at Hillcrest Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and has made wellness calls to seniors who are patrons of the Ralph J. Froio Senior Center. One year she served lunch to people who came to the Froio Center’s daily lunch program to eat, she said. At RSVP in 2020, Gisele was chosen from among almost 300 volunteers as Volunteer of the Year. She currently continues to make picturesque and warm lap blankets for Hillcrest Commons residents and every month she also sits down and makes out 20 “hello” greeting cards to Hillcrest residents and sends them to let them know someone is thinking of them, she said. T h o s e a re j u s t a m e re smattering of volunteer jobs Yetz has dabbled in. “Volunteering has g reat rewards, making someone happy and giving peace of mind to one or more individuals,” she said. Her spirit of volunteerism goes way back to her childhood. “My parents were firm believers in helping people,” she said. Her own first volunteering assignment came when she was just 11 years old. It was “sweeping sidewalks for cookies,” she laughed as she recalled how the job evolved. There were two elderly sisters who never married and who lived together in the Atwood Avenue area. They were neighbors of Yetz’s family. They were very particular about their yard, she said. When she swept their sidewalk, they paid her in chocolate chip cookies. When Yetz’s husband died eight years ago from cancer, she

was devastated but that didn’t stop her from continuing to volunteer. It actually helped her to feel useful and keep occupied. Even this past May, Yetz visited 18 houses on three streets near her home in the city. She left messages notifying them that she was collecting canned goods for people in need. Yetz collected 18 bags of canned goods for the Salvation Army on West Street, she said. When her own two adult children were little, Yetz said, along with a nun, Sister Kathleen Wallace, who was a Sister of St. Joseph, and two former St. Theresa Church parishioners, the Nifty-Thrifty Shop was formed in the basement of the former St. Theresa’s Church on South Street. “It was so much fun,” she recalled.Yetz was already known by women in the church for donating plants for bazaars. The thrift shop remained open for three years, she said, and all the money made was given back to the church. She even made curtains for the shop’s windows. “The kids played dress-up,” while Yetz tended to the shop. In those days, it cost five cents for a pair of socks and $5 for a suit, she said. Every so often, the Nifty Thrifty Shop even offered shoppers to fill a bag with merchandise for $2, she recalled. For more than 12 years, Yetz, along with Shirley Andrus, ran the fundraising bingo kitchen Saturday nights at St. Mark’s Church on West Street, she said. It was a huge operation that required many hours of cooking. She would start the night before the bingo sessions by baking cakes. Then, on the morning of bingo playing, cooking in three different crock pots would begin. The food kitchen finally closed up shop when everyone was fed and the kitchen was cleaned. Also at St. Mark’s, Yetz served as a lector and even cleaned pews and straightened missals in the pews after Masses. For the past eight years, Gisele has made quilted as well as fleece blankets to place in cages at the Berkshire Humane Society


Community Volunteer in the Spotlight

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



Berkshire Senior


SENIORS NEED YOU! Volunteer in your community You’ve got just what it takes to help your neighbors in need. Many older, low income taxpayers miss out on credits and deductions they’ve earned because they can’t afford to pay for professional tax preparation. With the help of neighbors like you, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free tax preparation and filing help to those who need it most. You can make a big difference in someone’s life. We’ll show you how. We’re looking for compassionate and friendly individuals to join our team of local volunteers for the 2022 tax season. Our volunteers receive training, IRS certification and continued support in a welcoming environment. And, as our current volunteers say, you’ll not only learn new skills but also get that great feeling from helping someone else.

Kim Kelly hosts Heather Luciani-Chair Yoga for Seniors

Currently airing on PCTV Currently airing on PCTV, Channel 1301 Access Pittsfield Channel 1301 Access Pittsfield Broadcast schedule: Broadcast schedule: Mondays at 5:00PCTV ▪ Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. 1301 Mondays at 5 p.m., Tuesdays at 3 p.m., Thursdays 11 a.m. Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. ▪ Saturdays atatNoon & Saturday 11:30 a.m. Or watch online, ON DEMAND on Thank you to our friends at PCTV for all their help in making Berkshire Senior TV accessible to our community.

Apply at (select the SUBMIT AN INTEREST FORM button) Or call 1-888-227-7669 For local information call 1-413-446-7483 Recent volunteers include: Engineer, Doctor, Lawyer, Teacher, Student, Professor, Accountant, Military, Administration, Tax Preparer, Homemaker, Finance, Retired and more. Sites include: Williamstown, North Adams, Adams, Dalton, Pittsfield, Lenox, Lee, Great Barrington

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, August - September 2022



If You Need Transportation Assistance We Are Available 24/7, 365 Days Established in 2003

Serving All of New England & New York

• Medical Appointments • Holiday Get Togethers • Dinner • Shopping

You name it , we do it!

18 Oak St., Pittsfield, MA • (413) 447-3800

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










NUTRITION PROGRAM SENIOR COMMUNITY BERKSHIRE COUNTY 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.

Don’t Roll the Dice When It Comes To Your Medicare Medicare Open Enrollment is just around the corner (October 15th-December 7th) and that means you will soon be seeing an increase in marketing materials, commercials, and telephone calls advertising coverage options for next year. A little research in the coming months could save you a lot of money and frustration in the New Year. Savvy Medicare Beneficiaries should:

Save the Date

2022 Annual Meeting & Celebration October 21, 2022

at Berkshire Hills Country Club For more information contact Noelle at ESBCI (413) 499-0524 ext.725




NO� ADAMS 662-3125

SPITZER CENTER 116 Ashland St.


11:30 am


HARPER CENTER 118 Church St.


11:30 am

ADAMS 743-8333


11:30 am

CHESHIRE 743-9719

SENIOR CENTER 119 School St.


11:30 am

LANESBORO 448-2682

TOWN HALL 83 North Main St.


11:30 am

DALTON 684-2000

SENIOR CENTER 40 Field St. Ext.


12:00 pm

BECKET 623-8934

TOWN HALL Route 577 Main St.

T & TH

11:00 am




11:30 am

LENOX 637-5535


12:00 pm

LEE 394-4160

SENIOR CENTER 21 Crossway Village


11:30 am


SENIOR CENTER 917 South Main St.


11:30 am



11:45 am







11:30 am





SHEFFIELD 229-7037



12:00 pm

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.

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, August - September 2022

• Review their Annual Notice of Change letter from their current plans in September and note any changes • Reflect on their health and medical needs over the past year and try to anticipate needs for the coming year. • Research total costs involved when comparing plans. This should include the premiums, copays, and deductibles. A plan with a low cost premium and attractive add-ons may

also have large deductibles for certain services...KNOW YOUR BENEFITS • Remember to contact their providers and confirm that they are in network (when applicable) before making changes to their coverage. As the old adage goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Over the past several months the SHINE Program has interceded on behalf of numerous Medicare Beneficiaries in Berkshire County who have suddenly found themselves unable to access vital medical services due to plan limitations. The SHINE Program (413-4990524) is available year round to assist Medicare beneficiaries with enrolling in Medicare, evaluating coverage for existing beneficiaries, making changes, and screening for insurance related public benefits. There is no cost or eligibility criteria to speak with a SHINE Counselor.



Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc.



You’ve Arrived! Retirement is Here. • Get Inspired • Be Social • Feel Secure

• Reignite Your Passions • Embrace Adventure • Enrich Your Life

We will be ready when you are.

235 Walker Street Lenox, MA 01240



Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, August - September 2022

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Noble 0 5 HORIZONS YEARS 1972-2022



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Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, August - September 2022


FUEL ASSISTANCE Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, August - September 2022 12

Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold! By Laura Feakes It’s not too early to think about how you are going to pay your home heating bills all the way through next spring. It is particularly important this year, in light of skyrocketing fuel prices, to plan ahead for the impending cold winter don’t wait until your heat is not working and your time and options are limited. Look at last year’s bills, then budget your money. Ask to sign up for your utility company’s budget plan. Apply for fuel assistance for help in paying a portion of winter heating bills. Now is also a good time to ensure your furnace is working properly – tune up your heating system or replace an old furnace with a new, more energy efficient one. Here are some important money saving tips to help you manage your heating budget this coming winter season: B e rk s h i r e C o m m u n i t y Action Council (BCAC, www. is the local agency that administers the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Prog ram (LIHEAP), known commonly as Fuel Assistance. This program helps low income people pay for part of the cost of their primary source of heat from November 1st through April 30th. Renters whose heat is included in their rent may also be eligible. The income guidelines for the 2022-2023 season are: up to $42,411 for a 1 person household and $55,461 for a 2 person household. To apply for fuel assistance, call BCAC: 413-445-4503 (Main office in Pittsfield), 663-3014 (North County), or you can also use the toll free automated system 1-866216-6200. Appointments for 1st time applicants are usually not scheduled until November and funds are usually not dispersed until November 1st. Green Energy Consumers Alliance (https:// g r e e n e n e r g yc o n s u m e r s . org/heatingoil) is a statewide heating oil co-op. Member’s

prices are lower than the typical consumer cost for a gallon of home heating oil. The program offers a consistent discount on heating oil from a credible full-service oil dealer. Join by phone at 800-287-3950 x4 (Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm) or on-line at g reenenerg heatingoil. The basic membership fee is $25 for 1 year, $15 for seniors, free for fuel assistance recipients. Serves all of Berkshire County except Florida and North Egremont. Eversource ( w w w. eve r s o u r c e . c o m ) of fers a discount rate for income-eligible residential customers who participate in certain state and federal assistance programs and whose income does not exceed 60% of the state median income (1 person household $42,411; $55,461 for 2 persons). Eligible programs include: Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC); Supplemental Security Income (SSI); MassHealth (Medicaid); Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Public/Subsidiz ed Housing, and some VA benefit prog rams. Applications are available on-line or call Eversource to request one: 1- 877659-6326. If you have a verified financial hardship in which your income is within 60% of the state median income as listed above, Eversource offers New Start, an arrearage management program. New Start allows income eligible residential customers to earn past due balance forgiveness. For more information call 1-877-9632632. Translation services are available. Berkshire Gas Company (BGC, www.berkshire gas. com) offers budget payment plans allowing customers more affordable payments by averaging higher winter bills with lower summer bills. Customers with overdue charges can possibly enter into an installment payment plan. BGC also offers discounted delivery charges t o l ow - i n c o m e c u s t o m e r s who receive public assistance

benefits and meet income limits. Utility companies enroll eligible customers automatically, or customers can apply directly. For more information and to find out if you are eligible for these programs, call the Customer Care Center: 1-800-292-5012. T he Salvation Ar my (https://massachusetts. s a l v a t i o n a r m y. o r g / ) administers the Good Neighbor Energy Fund (www. The GNEF helps qualified Massachusetts residents pay electric, gas, and oil bills when, due to temporary financial difficulty, individuals can’t meet their energy expenses and they aren’t eligible for state or federal assistance. It is available from January 2nd until funds run out. Income for either the prior twelve months or the past month (times 12 months for a total annual figure) must fall between 60 – 80% percent of the state’s median income levels. The income guidelines for the 2022-2023 season are: 1 person household $42,411 - $56,548; 2 person $55,461 - $73,948) For more information about eligibility criteria and to apply, call Pittsfield Corps 413-442-0624 (298 West St) or North Adams Corps 663-7987 (393 River St). Those who qualify may receive up to $500 per household per heating season. MassSave (www.masssave. com) is an energy savings program for Massachusetts’ homeowners and renters. It offers no-cost home energy assessments to help homeowners make home improvements that save money, electricity and heating fuel. To see which rebates, loans, home energy assessments, or other energy programs are available visit the website or call 1-866-5277283. Veterans’ Services has a state program known as Chapter 115 benefits that provides cash and medical assistance to low-income Massachusetts wartime veterans and their families who are in need of immediate help, including help with fuel. To determine eligibility visit the Massachusetts

Veteran Benefit Calculator ( It helps residents who have served in the military to quickly and easily determine if they may be eligible for financial assistance. You can also call the Veterans Services Officer (VSO) in your area: 528-1580 (South County), 662-3040 (North County), and 499-9433 (Pittsfield area). There is a VSO finder online at https:// The Heating System Repair and Replacement Program ( H E A R T WA P ) p r o v i d e s emergency heating system repair and replacement services to low-income households. The program is administered by a network of local agencies, in most areas the same agency that administers the Fuel Assistance Program. For more information, call BCAC: 445-4503 x 602 or visit their website heating-repair. The first priority of the program is to address heating emergencies during the heating season (November-April). Eligible applicants are those that are eligible for LiHeap (Fuel Assistance) with a gross annual income that does not exceed 60% of the estimated state median income. The program is designed to primarily serve homeowners as landlords are required to maintain the heating system for their tenants. Ju s t a r e m i n d e r. . . Massachusetts laws prevent utility companies from shutting off service to people in special situations. Senior households (65 yo or older), low-income families with infants, people with serious illnesses who cannot afford to pay their utility bills, tenants whose landlords are responsible for utility bills and low-income people who would be without heat during the winter are eligible for shutoff protection. Call ESBC’s Information & Referral Department for more information or go to keepingyour-utilities-on.


Rep. John Barrett, III

Congressman Richard Neal

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

372 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-5601 300 State Street, Suite 200 Springfield, MA 01105-1711 (413) 785-0325

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

Rep. Smitty Pignatelli 24 Beacon Street, Room 473F Boston, MA 02133 (617) 722-2692 District Office: (413) 637-0631

Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier 24 Beacon Street, Room 127 Boston, MA 02133 (617) 722-2680 District Office: (413) 442-4300

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

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Thank You To Our Donors: Memorial Donations In Memory of: Bernice “Red” Alcombright Jane Bernard Jane Betti Lynette Bond Patricia Chenail James and Bonnie Cunningham James and Dorothy Kelly Cecilia Kozik Barbara Luscia Robert Maroni Antoinette Mastrangelo

Gerald and Carol Mullen Adam and Angela Marie Park Frederick and Barbara Pietras James and Evelyn Robinson West Oil Company, Inc. James Wolfe In Memory of: Joan Arienti William and Carol Arienti Jeanne Chesanow James and Mary Mercer Richard Murray Sarah Murray Carol Piontek

In Memory of: William Broderick Katherine Broderick In Memory of: Joseph Calderella, Jr. Carol Morrison In Memory of: Richard Cowan John Kelly USW Steelworkers, Local 12325 In Memory of: Remo DiTomasso Douglas and Karen Bates In Memory of: John and Helen Fitzpatrick Sheila Fitzpatrick

Since 1983 MOLARI HealthCare has enjoyed providing our neighbors in Berkshire County with trusted, quality homecare. Working as your partner, our staff will create a flexible care plan to fit your needs. With MOLARI you are assured that you and your care is our number one priority. MOLARI is committed to providing the best possible solution for your home healthcare needs.

The following donations were received between May 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022. Donations received on or after July 1, 2022 will appear in the next issue of Berkshire Senior.

In Memory of: Clyde Horton James and Carol Aitken June Deblois Lawrence and Sandra Frederick Edward and Joan Marko Cheryl Moderski Roberta Orsi Bernard and Dianne Pinsonnault Gisele Torchia In Memory of: Mary Richards Barbara Tatro

Elder Independence Donations

Ginger Alexander Patti Annechiarico Robert and Jo Ann Austin Jane Betti Linda Biros Daniel and Jeanne Boino, Sr. Penelope Borax Linda Briggs Walter Creer Suzanne Crerar Thomas Dillon Virginia Florczyk Louise Frankenberg Michele Gilligan Kathryn Goerlach Alfred and Evelyn Goggia Robert Hildebrand Robert and Diane Hitter

Nanette Hucknall Flora Karbelnik George and Patricia Kellar Winthrop Kie, Sr. Frances Kollman Richard Kurek Sharon and James Kus Jo Ann Lancaster Herbert and Bertha Lawrence Milton Lestz Helena Matthews Mary Miner Rosalie Noyes Mary and Robert O’Brien William Patterson Jenifer Picard Andrea Pozzoni Robert Race Carolyn Renzi Susan Ricci Helaine Rose Barbara Rubin Helen Sciarra Frederick and Joanne Seymour, Jr. Veronica Silvia William and Rose Ann Sturgeon William and Martha Thompson Joseph and Nancy Tirrell Nancy Torrico Jean Vankin Jane Wheeler

Elder Services’ Berkshire Senior, August - September 2022

Services offered by MOLARI


• Assistance with Personal Care • Medication Reminders • Meal Preparation • Light Housekeeping • Companionship

Meals on Wheels Donations

Adams Hometown Market David Baran Casual Day for Charity Committee, Adams Community Bank Teresa Guyette Carol Perkins Tamar Schrager

SHINE Donations Cynthia Armstrong


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General Donations

Berkshire South Pamona Grange Jennifer Brennan Paul Burda Gilbert and Norma d’Oliveira Louise Gai Joan Gates Cynthia Golin Arthur Gordon Guardian Life Insurance Matching Donation Margaret O’Connor William and Janine Reid Karn Rosenberg Lawrence and Alice Spatz Judith Trask Jonathan and Barbara Zheutlin

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