The How To Guide 2021

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AChoose special advertising publication a Poolofor The Berkshire Eagle Spa Saturday, April 3, 2021

How-To Guide Saturday, April 3, 2021| The Berkshire Eagle |

Choose Choose aa Pool Pool or or Spa Spa


If you enjoy pools or spas regularly, you know membership fees can add up and with frequent visits you might begin to ask this question: Why not add a professional spa or pool to your home? Why not? You can enjoy the relaxing benefits of water therapy any time you please — by yourself or with your family or guests — without sharing with strangers and the inconvenience of leaving your home. If you’re worried about the price, you probably shouldn’t be. Home spas have become quite affordable in recent years. As a result, they are also very popular. Installation of a home spa can also be a cinch, with a growing number of plug and play models and even portable ones that you can take with you on vacation.

The home-spa industry has worked hard to incorporate innovations, such as ozonators and aromatherapy fragrances. Spas often found in high-end hotels and resorts are now available for the average consumer. You may be able to purchase some of these models at your favorite big-box or homeimprovement center. You can also purchase a home spa with a media center, along with therapeutic and LED lighting. Watch your favorite DVD or TV program while relaxing in the tub. The best spas include hydrotherapy, which will help you heal and repair your body. Tubs with water jets will massage muscles, improve circulation, relax nerves and ease pain. The water suspends your tired muscles in weightlessness, allowing them to rest. People with chronic back problems often report relief. Custom spas are also available. You can have it built to meet your

specifications. Everyone has a different reason for installing a home spa, and manufacturers are happy to accommodate your requests. At-home swimming pools are another favorite for health-conscious people. These pools are not like your typical in-ground blue bathtub. Natural stone, manmade waterfalls and landscape detailing will make your pool into a private oasis. Before purchasing your pool, decide whether you would like an in-ground or above-ground pool. Above-ground pools are less expensive, but many people prefer the durability and overall look of an in-ground pool. Take time to think about your decision. After all, your pool is a major investment. It will be a part of your home for many years. Consider the landscaping around your pool. There are many possible finishes for the decking alone. You can also choose the materials, style and features. Some-

times the environment around a pool can seem as relaxing as stepping foot in the water. It’s a fact that most people build their dream pool over a number of years as it fits their budget. You don’t have to do everything at once. Just start with a high-quality installation and a vision of what you want the area to become. You can add more features later. With so many advances in home spas and swimming pools, combined with their affordability, it makes sense to install one on your property. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to have your own private resort without the hassle of leaving home?

Sponsored by: Imperial Pools & Spas

How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021

Dive into Summer!

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by LaFrance Inc.

499-2702 • 760 Cheshire Rd., Lanesboro, MA (1 mile north of Berkshire Mall)

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5 different above ground models available


How-To Guide Saturday, April 3, 2021|

Wander into any kitchen anywhere and the elements that first grab your eye are cabinets and countertops. Cabinets are second only to quality countertops when it comes to the focal point of your kitchen. And here’s some good news: You can spruce up your dated cabinets on a budget if you need to with a simple sand and stain job. But if you’re looking at replacing your cabinets altogether, don’t skimp on cost. Many experts recommend spending up to 20 percent of your home’s value on any remodeling project. For a home valued at $100,000, for instance, homeowners might spend up to $20,000 on updating the kitchen. Of that money, about 40 percent should be spent on cabinets alone. Why spend so much money on cabinets? Because they are the focal point of your kitchen. They must be attractive and useful. If you’re planning on selling, high-quality cabinets will appeal to a wide selection of buyers. If you plan on staying put, they will bring you years of function and use.

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Custom-Built Cabinets


Custom-built cabinets are an excellent choice because they allow you to choose any style you want. You’re only limited by imagination. Specify the color, hinges, pulls rollers and even have special finish applied to the cabinets. It is essential to work with a professional. Ask your friends and family if they know experienced cabinetmakers. Tradesmen in your area will likely know cabinetmakers. If you are using a contractor, solicit him or her for recommendations. Visit two or three custom builders in your area and discuss your preferences. Ask to see their work. Be sure to outline your budget and specifications. A professional will give you a reasonable timeframe. You may need to live for an extended period of time without a kitchen, and that can be difficult.

Choose Kitchen Cabinets Take a look at special finishes. Some people adore the antique or distressed look. Other people prefer to have the cabinets match other colors in the kitchen. Your custom cabinet builder should apply the finish himself. Check the quality of the materials the builder is using. Hinges, heavy duty slides and ¾-inch solid wood should have a lifetime guarantee. You may need to change the cabinets once you have ordered them. Ask about the consequences

Sponsored by: Revelare Kitchens

should this situation arise. There may be an additional fee to make a change after a period of time. Get everything in writing. Most cabinetmakers are honest and hardworking people, but a contract should stipulate what is expected of both parties. Do not sign anything until you understand the contract and have read it completely.

Pre-Built Cabinets

When you are on a tight budget, consider pre-built cabinets. You can still receive quality for a little less cost. First, look for pieces made with real wood. Particle board is not as durable. The cabinets must also feature solid construction.

There should be warranties on the hardware, slides and other components. Choose a company that has a long track record. You should be able to find them if the need arises. Quality companies will also allow you to order special sizes. They will be slightly more expensive, but you will appreciate the results. Regardless of the choices you make, always choose to purchase cabinets from a company that has been in business for a long time. They should be good at what they do. Look at their previous work and get in touch with previous customers. Once you do this legwork, there is no doubt you will be happy with the results.

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How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021



How-To Guide Saturday, April 3, 2021|

Keeping your pet properly groomed is part of the care you commit to when taking on your furry friend for life. Grooming keeps its coat shiny and healthy and free of unpleasant smells and potential health issues. If your pet is in need of a haircut and a good bath, you may want to check out a local pet grooming service. Here’s how to pick the best one for your pet.

Get Referrals

Family and friends should be your first stop. They might know

of a good pet groomer in your area. Referrals are a large part of any business. Most groomers make an extra effort to make sure their customers are satisfied. If you are coming to a groomer via a recommendation, tell the person. The groomer will be happy to know that their business has a great reputation. It is likely they will go the extra mile to make sure you are pleased with their services. Groomers are most often found in large pet stores, veterinary offices and stand-alone storefronts. You can find them through your local newspaper, Yellow Pages or online. Make a list of groomers that are conveniently located near your home or business. You will drop your pet off and picking them up later in the day.

Visit and Ask Questions

Visit groomers on your list and inspect their shops. Check for cleanliness and professionalism. The service area should smell fresh and clean. The pet waiting room should also be free from debris and chemicals. Observe how the groomer and staff interact with animals and customers. Nothing can be more difficult than a slick, wiggly pet. But a groomer should be gentle. He should never yell or jerk a pet around. Inquire about their services. Do they groom both cats and dogs? Is there a separate waiting area for the two types of pets? Can you choose the shampoo? Are nail clippings and anal gland

expressions part of the package, or do these services cost extra? Checking about these things ahead of time will spare you the shock and disappointment when you bring your pet home. Some groomers do not perform these services. It’s important to know what you can expect. Also, be sure to ask about medical services. What happens if your pet has an emergency while they are at the groomer? Does the groomer have a relationship with the local veterinarian? Another option is a mobile pet groomer. These professionals have a vehicle with everything they need to groom your pet in front of your house. If traveling is inconvenient, mobile pet groomers might be an option for you.

Bringing Your Pet

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Choose a Pet Groomer


Prior to scheduling an appointment, bring your pet to their office. Observe the relationship between your pet and the groomer. Are they comfortable with each other? Tell your groomer if your dog is sensitive to having his or her nails trimmed or ears cleaned. Some dogs are terrified of the hair dryer. Mentioning it to your groomer help the situation be more successful and less stressful. Choose which services you need before your arrival. Sometimes, groomers who work on commission might try to up sale you. Never let them talk you into services you do not need or want. If you are unhappy with the way your pet looks when you pick it up, speak to the groomer right away. It might be due to miscommunication or your pet’s behavior. Most groomers will be sure to fix the problem to your satisfaction immediately. Remember, you can always change your groomer. If you are uncomfortable or your pet seems stressed, look for a new pet groomer. It is important that you and your pet are satisfied with the groomer’s results.

Sponsored by: Animal Inn

How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021


Animal Inn of the Berkshires

120 Hubbard Ave. • Pittsfield (413) 442-3472


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We treat your family like our family


How-To Guide Saturday, April 3, 2021|

Camp with Kids By Karen Stephens Reprinted with permission

Camping with children is one way to acquaint children with nature. If you make the experience positive, they too can reap the rewards of a close relationship with Mother Earth. Even more important, camping will provide your family with time away from the distractions of modern noise and technology. It will give you a setting to reaffirm emotional bonds and create family memories that sustain young and old alike. Here are some activities to make the most of camping out with the kids:

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Camping Pastimes


TOGETHER, set up camp, from tent to collection of firewood. Cook meals and delegate clean-up chores. Hike paths. Spy patterns in nature, such as rings in logs, spots on ladybug wings, spirals in unfolding ferns.Walk across a log that bridges a shallow creek. Seek out abandoned clam shells. Wade and mess in the slick algae. Pick up logs and rocks to investigate bugs that live under them. Climb a tree. Count how many different creatures live in it. Collect grasses, leaves, and flowers to make head wreaths or sashes. Walk along a stream and follow animal tracks. Find animal homes in a tree, in the water, or in the ground. Skip rocks. Investigate the habitat — where could animals find water, food, or shelter from a storm? Make a list of all the wild-

life you can identify, from butterflies to fish to mammals. Sit down and close your eyes, identify all the sounds you hear — from airplanes to birds to frogs croaking in a pond. What smells can you name? Sing songs or tell folklore stories around the campfire. Make handmade instruments from natural items (such as sticks, shells, or hollow logs) for sing alongs. Use a flashlight inside a tent to make shadow figures on the tent wall; make up plays. Play flashlight tag. Collect nature finds —such as a lucky buck-eye seed — to begin a nature collection. Tape record nighttime songs of crickets and tree frogs to listen to at home. Walk along fallen logs. Star and planet gaze. Teach kids to use a disposable camera or a camcorder to record nature scenes and family fun. Lie down and watch — really watch — ants busy at their hill or a spider spinning a web. Play I spy. Sit under a tree and teach your school-ager how to whittle wood or soft soap or learn together. Watch clouds and name shapes. Go swimming, canoeing or row boating (wearing life jackets!). Learn rope knots or rope tricks. Dig and poke around in the mud — what turns up? Find a fallen log; what is using the log as it decomposes? Search for insect shells (such as cicada) or empty bird nests. Teach the kids to fish. Use paper and the side of a crayon to make bark rubbings of various trees. Catch fireflies and put them in a jar (with air holes in

the lid) to create a nighttime walking lantern. Read books, make up poems, and tell jokes. Find a tree that’s been damaged in some way and make up a story of how it might have happened. Find fallen branches to make a fort. Have kids collect grass and stick items for fashioning a bird’s nest. Weave grasses into placemats. Collect fallen tree leaves or flower petals for pressing. Roast marshmallows!

Packing List for a Camp Out Planning for everyone’s basic needs will help ensure that you and the kids have a rewarding outdoor adventure. Overlooking basics like food, sanitation, sunscreen, or insect protection can end your camping trip with a trip to the hospital. Each family’s camping list will be vary, depending on age ranges,weather, camp site terrain, and how long you plan to camp. Some campgrounds have convenient home away from home facilities like electrical hook-ups and showers. Other camp sites are far more rustic, but you’ll have peace and quiet without other campers’ televisions competing with the hoot owls’ conversations. You decide which experience your family wants. Whichever experience you choose, prepare for possible hazards. If you live in bear country, learn to pack food so it doesn’t invite them into camp.Wear clothing

to protect you from woodland insects that could carry disease, like ticks or mosquitoes. With all that in mind, here is a basic packing list to get you off to a good start: • Shelter: Bring an adequate sized tent with screens to keep bugs out, ground cloth for dryness, rain fly, and sleeping bag (a sleeping pad or cot is optional, but nice). • Basic Tools: Have a map,water bottle for each person,watch, matches in a waterproof container, pocket knife (one with multiple attachments is handy), adequate nylon rope, hatchet for cutting firewood, flashlight with extra batteries, candles if batteries are lost, compass, binoculars, camera for photography, field guide for identifying nature finds, sewing supplies (needle, thread, and safety pins for material repairs). • Emergency Supplies: First aid kit, emergency whistle for each person in case one becomes lost hiking, cell phone for calling emergency assistance. • Food/Cooking: Containers of fresh water, long-handled cooking tools, cooking pans and/or pots, aluminum foil, plastic bags or containers, can opener, cooler filled with ice and food that keeps well, plates and utensils, plastic garbage bags, dishpans and dish soap,wash cloth/towel, paper towels. • Clothing: Hats; short and longsleeved t-shirts, sweatshirts for layering to accommodate cool mornings and evenings, but hot afternoons; long pants, shorts; sturdy hiking shoes and plenty of socks;water shoes; swimsuit; rain coat/poncho; gloves. Light clothing will help avoid attracting mosquitoes. • Health and Hygiene: Sunscreen, insect repellent, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, comb, medications, towel and wash cloth for each person, toothbrush and paste.

Sponsored by: Mt. Greylock Campsite Park

How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021



We welcome groups wishing to camp together in RV’s or in tents. Our new group tent campsite is popular with youth organizations, summer camps and family reunions. We developed successful COVID protocols last year that will remain in place this Spring. Face masks and social distancing are required when not on your campsite. The pool will open with scheduled times for each campsite to reduce crowding and promote social distancing. The horseshoe pits, fishing pond and volleyball and basketball courts will be open. Activity and Laundry Centers, as well as the playground will be open to a limited number of guests to keep everyone safe. Weekend guests can look forward to visiting our food truck and listening to local live music in our field. We will be ready to welcome overnight guests beginning April 23. Make your reservation at Tours of the campground are by appointment only. Voted the Best Campground in the Berkshires 2018, 2019 and 2020! Come and stay with us! We will be Beyond Grateful!

Check us out ONLINE FOR DETAILS, RESERVATIONS & DISCOUNTS! 15 Scott Road, Lanesborough, MA 01237 • (413) 447-9419 •

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Nature is everywhere - fresh air, tall trees, flowers, squirrels, chipmunks and an occasional bear! Every RV campsite has water, electric and grey water hook-ups. There is no sewer, however, there is a black water station and honey wagon service is free with weekly extended stays. Tent campers can reserve a primitive campsite on the hilltop or down by the pond. Deluxe tent campsites have water and electric hook-ups and every campsite has a fire pit and picnic table.


How-To Guide The Berkshire Eagle |

Saturday, April 3, 2021|

Choose a Garden Center


Gardeners used to rely on yearly seed catalogs to pick what they planned to put in their flowerbeds and vegetable gardens in the spring. Nowadays, gardeners can buy supplies year-round online or at conveniently located garden centers. Here’s what you should look for when selecting a new garden supply store.

Do the Research Research will help you determine which garden center is best for you. Look at the center’s catalog or website. Not only should it be filled with quality products, it should also have information to help you become more successful. Staff advice should be easy to understand and apply. Remember, they are not only retailers but also experts in their field.

Quality garden centers offer hands-on training and other classes on various gardening topics. Expertise can also be defined by media presence. The specialists at the garden center you are considering should be on the short list that the media uses. Your friends and neighbors may have referrals. Does someone in your social network love gardening? If so, then ask who they use. While some garden centers stock a wide variety of brands and products, most have a few products they specialize in.

Visit the Garden Centers Once you have researched garden centers, visit two or three locations before making a final decision. Talk to a sales person. Think of a problem you experienced in the past and ask them for a solution. The sales people should be knowledgeable about remedies. Note his or her demeanor and attitude. Find out how long they have been

in business and more about the owner. Good centers are usually in the same place, operated by the same people for a very long time. Take a look at the plants. Do they look healthy? Are they well-maintained? Is there a decent variety? Typically, plants grown in green houses are better quality. After all, they are produced to be grown in your area. Plants grown locally usually have fewer diseases. A plant may not appear diseased until you take it home. Inquire about how the plants are produced. “Open pollinated” designates a seed or plant will reproduce itself purely if a seed is properly saved from the fruit of the plant. An organic seed or plant has been produced without artificial or chemical pesticides. Genetically modified plants are created by laboratory technology that manipulates the plant’s genes. For example, instead of mixing two different kinds of corn to create one that is more resistant to diseases, they may combine genes from corn

and a totally unrelated tomato plant. These modifications do not happen naturally in the breeding process. Many people may be cautious about using genetically altered seeds and plants, but there are advantages to them. On commercial farms, this type of plant has plenty of assets over organic plants. In a backyard garden, however, genetically modified plants are usually not necessary. When shopping at a garden center, understand the types of plants they offer. There should be a labeling system in place. If not, ask the staff for more information. Commercial crops are more likely to have genetic modification. Once you’ve done your research and know what you want, head on over to your local garden center and get started improving your garden.

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How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021



How-To Guide Saturday, April 3, 2021|

Call Tick & Mosquito Control of Western Massachusetts, your equalizer in the fight against bites

Banish Backyard Pests

By Noah Hoffenberg Eagle sponsored content editor

PITTSFIELD — Jim Underdown and Tylor Harrington don’t have any love for bloodsuckers, and they aim to send them all packing from our fine Berkshire hills. It sounds like the plot for a vampire flick. In reality, Harrington and Underdown are on the hunt for ticks, mosquitoes and other biting insects with a thirst for human blood. This spring, the two lawn specialists are launching Tick & Mosquito Control of Western Massachusetts; they are now making appointments for free estimates on Berkshire County properties. Underdown, a former golf pro with a degree in mathematics, says treatments begin toward the end of April. That’s when he treats his own yard with the barrier spray, which is applied via a backpack mister.

You won’t need them as much as the other guys

The Berkshire Eagle |

They use it for themselves, family, furry friends


Without the onslaught of bugs, Underdown, his wife and children can use their Pittsfield yard regularly, instead of seeking cover. Harrington, also of Pittsfield, lives with two dogs, Paxton, 18 months, a boxer mix, and Ralphie, 4 months, an American bulldog mix. “I treat my yard with the same thing that we use with our customers. I’ve never had a tick on me or the dogs, and I feel better when they’re running around out there,” says Harrington. Underdown says he, too, has never been bitten by a deer tick, the carrier of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. “You can finally go outside and stay out past dark, and not worry about being eaten alive,” says Harrington. With diseases like West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis carried by mosquitoes, a barrier treatment is ideal for keeping

repel ticks and mosquitoes. The second is a synthetic solution made up of pyrethrins, which are based on a naturally occurring chemical found in the chrysanthemum flower. These are used in numerous insect control products, such as pet shampoos, and are not likely to be carcinogenic to humans, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The men use a mist blower for the application, and either is effective against ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, ground bees and ants. They wear protective clothing while applying the mist, and ask the home or business owners to take simple precautions during the initial application. “We ask clients to stay off the lawn for about an hour, until it’s all dry on the plants, then it’s safe for dogs, humans, everything,” says Harrington.

your family safe and free from these insect-borne illnesses, says Underdown.

Is it buggy around here? Is there a need for pest control in Berkshire County? It’s one of the state’s hotspots for Lyme, they note; and our region’s plentiful mosquitoes can carry canine heartworms, too. As an added service, the company offers a handy tool to help deal with carriers of ticks and fleas, Harrington notes, such as mice, rats or chipmunks. “Rodents are big carriers. Our

tick tubes target them with cotton treated with an insecticide. The mice bring it back to their nests, and they sleep in it. It repels the ticks but doesn’t kill the rodents,” says Harrington. As some might recall from history class, it was rodents that spread the Black Plague in Europe, via fleas. “Who knows what you’re stopping?” wonders Underdown.

Two pesticide packages The company uses two treatments. The natural variety employs essential oils — cedarwood peppermint and rosemary — to

Sponsored by: Tick & Mosquito Control of Western Massacchusetts

Tick & Mosquito Control of Western Massachusetts is needed less onsite by their customers, as their applications last 30 days, rather than the standard 21 days that you’ll find with competitors. That means more time to enjoy your backyards to yourselves, they note. Harrington says the company offers special event sprays, “for a really fast knock down for a couple days before the event.” These might be weddings, receptions or concerts, they note, any kind of outdoor activity where bugs might pose a problem. The company can customize contract for residential and commercial properties that range upward to midsize. If you sign up for seasonlong treatments, you’ll receive a monthly application for the length of the warmer seasons. Tick & Mosquito Control of Western Massachusetts also performs contracts and incidental work, such as treatments only during the buggiest months. Call or text 413-329-1940, email tickmosquitocontrolwma@gmail. com or visit Tick & Mosquito Control of Western Massachusetts to help make your black fly, mosquito and tick seasons more bearable and safe. Initial estimates are free.

How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021


Want to repel fleas, ticks and mosquitoes from your property?

R E F E E A S E T L I M U D A E T H E! C S

(413) 329-1940

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2021 Cornerstone Sponsor


How-To Guide Saturday, April 3, 2021|

Choose a Lawn Tractor

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If you have a sizable lawn to care for, investing a lawn tractor can save you substantial time in keeping your lawn trim and looking great.


Besides just mowing, lawn tractors can bag grass and leaves and spread seed, mulch, and the chemicals you need to keep your lawn healthy. And if you pick a quality model and keep it properly maintained, a good mower will last you for years to come.

The Right Fit

Lawn tractors come in a variety of capabilities and price points which can range from $1,000 for a simple, basic model to $10,000 or more for a fully-featured, commercial-grade tractor. In between, you will find a vast mixture of features and quality. Select the right model by asking yourself how you will use the lawn tractor. Lawn size is an important factor to consider. For a

bigger lawn, you may need a wider mowing deck. Do you have any other planned uses for your tractor such as hauling garden supplies of plowing the drive? High-end lawn tractors are more like pieces of farm equipment than traditional ride-on mowers. You can purchase accessories for them, such as baggers, trailers, powerful tillers and snowblowers. You are not only buying a lawn mower. These tractors are platforms that can be used for all kinds of jobs. So check on the accessories that come with each model, even if you don’t plan on purchasing them yet. You may appreciate the choices in the future.

Speed and Manueverability

Most people want to finish the job in the least amount of time. While it is true that large mowing decks will cover more ground with each pass, there are other things to consider as well. The transmission and speed is also a factor. How easy is it for you

to change gears and turn in different directions? The zero-turn mower is another popular option. These vehicles can turn quickly and precisely to cut lawns of all sizes and shapes. While they have been used for years by commercial lawn crews, only recently have these mowers become affordable for the average homeowner. Zero-turn mowers are particularly useful when mowing close to homes, playground equipment and other tight areas.


The longevity of your lawn tractor is also an important consideration. The brand’s reputation should weigh heavily when you are making a decision. Research consumer reviews and talk to your friends and family members about the best brands of lawn products. Also, visiting a retail store and talking to knowledgeable salespeople will also help you. There are plenty of low-end, af-

fordable riding mowers out there, but few have a reputation for durability. It is economical in the long run to choose a well-built model from a reputable manufacturer. Inspect the construction of each lawn mower careful to verify that it will meet your needs. While you probably don’t need the extreme engineering and high price of a commercial-grade model, you ought to buy the best model you can afford and follow the maintenance directions closely. It will help you get the most usage for your money. Finding a good dealer is an essential part of the process. When you locate an experienced local retailer with a long track record of happy customers, you will be well on your way to selecting the right lawn tractor for you.

Sponsored by: H.D. Reynolds

How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021

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Wide selection of new Lawnmowers For Sale and Power Equipment For Sale. Power Brooms, Makita Combo Kits, and more. Don’t forget to check out our Used Power Equipment. We proudly serve our neighboring communities of Berkshire County Southern Vermont and all surrounding areas.

37 Nobody’s Road • Cheshire, MA • (413) 743-9512 Mon-Fri 8am-5pm • Saturday 8am-3pm • Sunday Closed

The Berkshire Eagle |

New Line Arborist supplies Available April 5th


How-To Guide Saturday, April 3, 2021|

Trimming overgrown trees or taking out trees that are dead or diseased can be hazardous work. Unless you’re very skilled with a chainsaw and have equally experienced help, tree work should be left to the professionals. The right tree services company can do it safely and effectively. You’ll save time and avoid property damage by enlisting the help of a professional tree service. Follow these tips to find a qualified, professional tree service in your area:

Ask friends, family and neighbors You may know someone who has used a tree service in the past. They can tell you who does the best work. Also, check newspaper, phone and Internet listings.

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Contact at least three tree services


Inform them of the situation and request a site inspection. It gives you the opportunity to ask about issues and get a feel for the experience and expertise of each company. Take notes so you can compare your results afterward. Find out how long each company has been in business, their experiences, references and whether they are licensed and insured. Check with the Better Business Bureau for outstanding complaints. Even reliable companies may have a few problems. It is how they resolve the issue that counts.

Request estimates These figures can vary widely. Some companies are better equipped for certain jobs, so they can offer more competitive pricing. Other companies are slow or may be trying to “fill-in” appointment slots with smaller jobs just to keep their crews busy. Don’t choose a company strictly by cost. Tree work is dangerous. Proper equipment, well-trained employees and insurance create high operating costs. It is worth paying

more for peace of mind and excellent service.

Choose a Tree Service

Look at a copy of their insurance policy Coverage should include personal liability, property damage coverage, workers’ compensation and damaged vehicles or home coverage.

Inspect their previous work Each tree service company has a work style. Look at their portfolio to verify that it suits your needs. Photos of past work might also be on their website.

Get a detailed written estimate Review a full, written estimate of any work to be performed before signing a contract. Responsible companies will provide detailed descriptions, along with the time and cost for your records. This estimate should also offer information about cleanup expectations. Are logs to be cut up or left for firewood? Will the company haul everything away or leave it for you to manage? Will leaves and twigs be raked up or run through a chipper? If they are removing an entire tree, what will happen to the stump?

Verify the workers wear property safety gear They should be wearing helmets at all times. In addition, they should use face shields or protective glasses and steel-toe boots. The person who climbs the tree should have arborist climbing ropes, specialized safety and climbing gear, the proper saddle, helmet and safety glasses. If you find they aren’t wearing safety gear, contact the company to discuss the matter.

Sponsored by: Stafford Tree Service

How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021

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How-To Guide Saturday, April 3, 2021|

Choose a Chiropractor

If you have unexplained aches and pains, you may want to consult a chiropractor. These well trained medical professionals can help alleviate pain in your back, head or neck. Chiropractors believe that realigning your spine and normalizing the nervous system, will help relieve pain and discomfort in the body. And it works for a lot of people. Many patients find immediate relief from pain before even leaving the chiropractor’s office. They report rapid improvements in their muscles, joints, bones and ligaments. Chiropractic care can also improve your overall health. The treatments administered by chiropractors can also treat minor ailments such as headaches and sinus pain. Thinking about the following factors can help you find the right chiropractor for your needs.


Chiropractors have some of the most stringent educational requirements in the health care industry. According to the American Chiropractic Association, accredited chiropractors go through at least 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical training time combined. Students must spend four years in a pre-medical program, in addition to four or five years of professional training. Not only do chiropractors study the body, they usually also study the musculoskeletal system, pressure points, bone and joints, and nerves. Finding a chiropractor with these studies under their belt can give you a better experience and results. Prior to selecting a chiropractor, inquire about training and credentials. Make sure he or she is properly qualified, has a current licensee to practice, and has experience in the area you are looking for.

Insurance Coverage

Many insurance carriers include chiropractic care as part of their regular coverage. Verify that your care will be covered. But if you don’t have insurance, many chiropractors offer affordable plans to help patients. Even without health insurance, you can still find chiropractor offering quality, cost-effective care.

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Get Referrals


Someone in your social or professional network has likely received excellent care from a chiropractor. Ask family, friends and co-workers for referrals. Inquire specifically about his or her demeanor and schedule. Is it easy to make an appointment? You should also find out about the chiropractor’s philosophy about health and other wellness issues. Some practitioners will suggest complementary forms of care, including massage. Given the results it can provide, chiropractic care is still affordable and well worth the money. With time and effort, you are likely to find a quality chiropractor in your area. Re s e a rch i n g the chiropracSponsored tors in your area will help ensure by: Tosk you get the type Chiropractic of care you want and need.


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How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021

Choose The Right

Your Berkshire Chiropractor Choosing the right Chiropractor is an important choice to make. Dr. Steven Tosk and his staff are well trained on the latest chiropractic and patient care.

Dr. Tosk’s philosophy of patient care is to perform a thorough consultation and examination before performing any type of treatment. Treatments are gentle and painless and he only accepts a case if he feels that he can help the patient. If he feels it is not a chiropractic case, Dr. Tosk will refer the patient to the appropriate practitioner. Your health and his reputation are always treated with the highest degree of professionalism. Dr. Tosk receives direct referrals from numerous area health care providers, as well as from attorneys representing plaintiffs injured in auto accidents or from an onthe-job injury, managing pain, without opioids, and to help with other health issues. There are many roads down the path to wellness. Let us help find the one that is best for you! Call now to schedule your chiropractic assessment.

100 Wendell Avenue Pittsfield, MA 01201 Mon, Wed & Fri: 7:15 AM - 4:30 PM • Tue & Thu: 7:15 AM - 10:30 AM Saturday: By Appointment Only


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How-To Guide Saturday, April 3, 2021|

Power tools can make improving and caring for your home much easier. The tedium of outdoor maintenance and lawn care are substantially eased by leaf blowers and hedge trimmers. Woodwork, whether as a hobby or repair work, can be a breeze using power drills, saws and other tools.

Pay attention to what’s labeled “commercial” or “professional” grade. These models typically come with longer warranties. They are usually built for use over long periods of time and under tough conditions. But they also have downsides, such as cost. Commercial or professional grade equipment may be heavier than standard models. If you want a long-lasting tool, though, they are hard to beat.

The list of tools every homeowner could benefit from having is near endless. And that’s okay. You can purchase these tools as you require them for projects over the years. Just be sure to pick quality equipment backed by solid warranties. You want to build a collection of tools, not spend money replacing the same ones over and over. Here are some things to look at in choosing the right power tools for your weekend warrior arsenal.

The best power equipment dealers have in-depth knowledge about their products. Find a store with employees and owners who understand every last detail about what they sell. They

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Product Line


Brands and product lines will usually determine the quality of the power equipment dealer. Some brands have better reputations than others. Your friends, family and co-workers can guide you toward quality brands. Ask them which product lines are the best. Remember that is better to pay more for equipment that lasts rather than go through the hassle of replacing cheap tools every year. Some brands have product lines that are engineered to different standards. A good dealer will explain differences in manufacturing, materials and which ones have the fewest problems after the sale. Also, consider getting a recommendation from other people who use tools professionally. People who use lawnmowers and weed trimmers all day, every day will have thoughts about the advantages of certain brands.

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should be able to demonstrate the features of the equipment, explain how it works, inform you about warranty coverage, and offer advice on which accessories have the best value. They will also educate you on how to make your equipment last for many years. Salespeople should be informative, not pushy. They will help you find the right product to match your needs, even if it’s a more affordable model. They know that is the best way to get repeat customers. In fact, that’s another sign that you’re dealing with a reputable retailer. If they’ve been in business for a long time, it’s usually for a good reason. Look for power equipment dealers who have a solid track record.

Service All quality power equipment needs maintenance over time. Ask about what kind of services the store offers after the sale. Many equipment dealers offer repair services on site. If not, they should refer you to professionals who will do the job right, and for a good price. Some owners, for example, don’t want to change the oil in their lawnmowers themselves. Be sure to inquire about how much maintenance and parts will cost. The best power equipment dealers are partners who will help you get the job done right for many years to come. They will help you save money and time.

Choose a Power Equipment Dealer







How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021















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How-To Guide Saturday, April 3, 2021| The Berkshire Eagle |

Maintain Tires for Vehicle Safety


Vehicle owners should keep tire inspection and maintenance in mind as part of their overall car care plan. Maintaining tires is an important component of safe driving. Tires are some of the hardest working parts on a car or truck and are subjected to wear and tear every time rubber meets the road. Tires affect many components of driving, including handling, braking and the comfort of the ride. Maintaining tires makes driving safe not only for drivers and their passengers, but also for fellow motorists. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that, in 2017, 738 fatalities occurred

because of tire-related crashes. Many of those crashes were no doubt preventable, and that only highlights the importance of maintaining tires and monitoring their performance. Poor tire maintenance can lead to premature wear and potentially result in a blowout. The automotive group AAA notes it is important to visually inspect tires as often as possible. Drivers should look for overall tread wear. Pay special attention to tread wear on one edge of the tires, which could indicate poor alignment. Erratic tread wear may mean tires are out of balance. Drivers also should pay attention to how their cars drive and sounds. Unusual vibration or thumping noises suggest issues with the tires. A car that pulls in one direction also may be experiencing tire problems. Vehicle owners should be aware of the routine mainte-

nance steps that can keep them safe and improve the life expectancy of tires.

Tire pressure The NHTSA says only 19 percent of consumers properly check and inflate their tires. Keeping tires properly inflated is one of the most important steps to maintaining them. Tires lose around 1 psi per month, and underinflated or overinflated tires can contribute to unusual wear, blowouts and even excessive fuel consumption.

Rotation Check the owner’s manual or recommendations from the tire manufacturer, but know that most mechanics advise having tires rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Rotation helps distribute wear more evenly on tires.

Balancing AAA says balancing also helps minimize uneven wear and tear. Balanced tires are achieved by using small weights attached to the wheels to limit vibration of the tire and wheels as they turn. New tires should be balanced, and tires also should be balanced after one or more is removed to repair a puncture.

Alignment Vehicles have wheel alignment measurements that pertain to manufacturers’ specifications. Alignment that falls outside of the range can impact handling, fuel economy and tread wear. A drift or pull suggests alignment problems and should be addressed.

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How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021



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How-To Guide Saturday, April 3, 2021|

If your windows on the world are old, out of style or don’t protect you from the elements as they once did, it’s time to start shopping around.

Choose the Right Windows

Your home windows should both add style and value to your home and be appropriate for your particular climate. They’ll make weathering heat, cold and storms much easier, comfortable. They’ll also save you on energy costs and most likely pay for themselves. If you’re ready to invest in new windows, here are a few topics you need to understand.

Glazing The actual glass in a window is called glazing. Many homes and older buildings have a single pane of glass within each frame. It is a traditional style; however, it is not energy-efficient. Double-glazed windows are the popular option. There are two panes of glass in a frame. The gap between the panes acts as a layer of insulation. It improves the window’s ability to maintain the building’s temperature. Sometimes, newer structures have triple-glazed windows. They are more expensive, but they also provide additional insulation benefits.

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R-values measure the amount of heat a window loses through its glass panes. Higher R-values mean more energy efficiency. An R-value of three is very desirable.

U-Values U-values tell you the level at which a window conducts heat. The lower the U-value, the better. People who live in wintery cli-

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mates should choose replacement windows with strong R-value and U-value ratings to conserve energy.

Low-E Low-emissive, or low-e windows, are the latest innovations in the energy-efficiency mark. Low-e glass traps heat by placing a thin metallic coating on the appropriate window pane. Indoor radiant heat is reflected back inside, cutting the burden on a building’s heating system. If you live in a cold climate, install a lowe window as a complement to low U-value components. People who live in sunnier, warmer climates can also take advantage of low-e windows. The summer’s higher levels of infrared rays are reflected back outside, keeping the interior of the house cooler.

UV Factors Blocking UV rays will spare your carpets and furniture from sun damage. That’s why a window with high ultra-violent blockage is

recommended, especially for people who live in warm climates.

Casement Windows When energy efficiency is a key concern, casement windows are the best choice. This simple highand-crank design lowers air seepage. When the wind pushes against the glass, the seal becomes tight and reduces leakage. Casement windows are hinged on the sides. When the windows have top hinges, they are called awning windows. Hoppers are bottom-hinged windows. Hinged windows must be maintained, as the seal erodes over time. When left unchecked, the erosion can make the window less energy efficient.

Other Factors Large differences between interior and exterior temperatures create meddlesome condensation on glass. Always choose a window appropriate for your climate. Window placement is another

factor when building a new structure. Consider the building’s position and location as they relate to the sun. Windows facing the south let in more heat than north-facing windows. Properly placed, a window can increase a structure’s passive solar efficiency. Extreme temperatures cause frames and seals to deteriorate more quickly. Windows using warm-air technology and adequate spacers reduce temperature fluctuations, placing less strain on seals and framing. Before beginning any improvement project to your home or business, understand the building codes in your area. You may need a permit to do a major window-replacement project. If you don’t have the required paperwork in order, you might have to pay a fine and remove the work that’s already been done and start over. Knowing basic terminology and concepts before you shop for windows will save you time and money in the long run. It is really less complicated than it looks.

How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021


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Questions to Ask

Find the Right Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Setting Skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities serve many purposes in today’s healthcare environment. They’re a place to recover after surgery, they offer care for chronic illnesses, and the most modern settings offer specialized treatments such as pulmonary, ventilator, and behavioral health care. Comparing providers can be confusing. Here’s what to look for when you’re seeking a Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation facility.

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Review the ratings.


To review facilities near you, visit These rankings take into account everything from staffing levels, to the quality of care and amenities provided. Note that these ratings can change as often as monthly, so check back often. Also take a look at online reviews of any skilled nursing facility you’re considering. Check Google reviews, Facebook pages, LinkedIn, the facility’s own website – every source you can, to find real reviews from current and former patients, residents, and families.

Understand the type of care you need. Short-term Rehabilitation

Short-term rehabilitation provides physical, occupational, speech-language and other specialized therapies to patients recovering from surgery or a hospital stay. For planned hospital stays, including elective surgeries, you want to research settings in advance and reserve a room prior to your surgery.

Long-Term Care

Long-term care is for those who need to move to a skilled nursing residence due to multiple chronic health conditions. The goal of long-term care is to enhance quality of life: to help residents remain as independent as possible for as long as possible; be as active as possible; and stay connected to their community, family, and friends.

Skilled Nursing

Skilled nursing refers to roundthe-clock care available to longterm care residents. These services include: • Treatment for complex medical

conditions • Stroke rehabilitation • Neurological care for progressive conditions • Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation • Diabetes management • Feeding tube services • IV therapy • Push medication administration • Advanced pain management • Orthopedic rehabilitation • Wound care

Consider Providers with Specialized Services Since many skilled nursing residents often require multiple types of medical care, it’s helpful to choose a facility with specialized care programs. These programs can include: • Behavioral Health Programs • Certified Alzheimer’s/Dementia Care • Pulmonary Care • Ventilator Programs • Diabetes Management • Wound Care • IV Infusion Therapies • VitalStim® Swallowing Therapy • Dedicated Orthopedic Recovery Programs

Be sure to tour any facility you’re considering. Look for friendly staff, a clean setting, happy residents, and a facility that offers a warm welcome. Some questions to ask on your tour: • How often is therapy provided, and by whom? • What types of specialized services are available? • Who are the care leaders and medical director? • What are the activities offered? • May I see a sample menu and activities calendar? • May I speak with previous patients/residents about their experience? • What COVID-19 precautions are in place? Also be sure to ask about you or your loved one’s specific medical, social, and recreational needs and how the facility is equipped to support them.

Choose a Lifestyle Designed for Well-Being As important as the medical care provided is the lifestyle provided. Today’s skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities are far from what we think of as “nursing homes.” The most modern settings strive to offer dining, activities, and accommodations similar to those one may find in an assisted living setting. Some even offer fully furnished rooms or private suites for short stays. Be sure to choose a facility and team that truly get to know you or your loved one’s personal history, routines and preferences and help your family feel right at home. Some providers even welcome pets to visit. The key to making the right choice is to research early and often, so that whether you have time to make a decision, or are faced with a more immediate health issue, you know where to go.

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How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021

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Know the difference between independent living, life care and continuing care communities Independent Living communities are senior-friendly living complexes and offer no care, assisted living, or oversight for a monthly fee, based on unit size or location. A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) may include independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing as part of their continuum. There is traditionally an entrance fee and a monthly fee, based on the size of the unit. Changes in levels of care will increase monthly costs as care needs increase. Life Care or Life Plan communities also charge a monthly fee and entrance fee, and offer a full continuum of care with medical and life care plan options available if needed. However, the monthly fee will remain relatively the same when or if a resident needs additional levels of care.

Choose the Right Senior Living Fit

Independent Living

Independent Living is for people who require no assistance with activities of daily living and are looking for a lifestyle change. Often times Independent Living takes away the worries associated with maintaining a home and provides the freedom for seniors to explore their passions, make new friends, and stay healthy.

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Assisted Living


Assisted Living is ideal for people who want all of the benefits of retirement and worry-free living but with the support they need. Care staff often help with medication reminders, bathing, dressing, or grooming. Three meals a day, housekeeping and full laundry services may be provided, along with a robust activity schedule to keep residents as busy as they choose.

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Memory Care

Memory Care is for people who are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Programs vary by community, but the ideal Memory Care programs customize their care to the individual. Activities for the average Memory Care resident could include painting, pet therapy, tai-chi, and billiards. In addition, when selecting a Memory Care community, you should be sure to select a community that is safe with round-the-clock care. This ensures that you or your loved one are free to thrive with dignity, safety, and respect.

Financing Options and Medicare Coverage Medicare does not cover any Independent Living or Assisted Living environment, but some people have Veterans Benefits or longterm care insurance, which will provide partial reimbursement for services provided at some senior living communities. It helps to tour communities and do your research in order to know what payment options are available. Be sure to watch for all-inclusive costs versus fee-for-service pricing. Baseline costs for a fee-for-service

based community may start off affordable, but as needs increase, so do the fees for the services associated with them. This could cause the costs to end up equal to or higher than all-inclusive communities.

Other Key Considerations

While levels of care offered is the most important factor when considering senior living, there are other considerations that can make huge differences in the quality of life. One example is location. Some people prefer secluded and serene environments where they can take in the view without interruption. Other people prefer being in close proximity to shopping, restaurants, and big cities. It’s important to ask your senior living community about the local area and the options for local transportation. Another consideration are amenities and services. Senior living is better than it’s ever been, with some communities offering restaurant-style dining, spacious living options, art studios, exercise rooms, and more. Depending on you or your loved one’s interests, amenities can make a difference in how much you enjoy a community. When looking at a Continuing Care Retirement Community, ask the community if the additional levels of care are on the same campus. This allows couples to spend time together, even if their care requires separate accommodations. It also allows residents, regardless of care needs, to remain in a place they know, with staff they know, and with the friends they have made along the way. Lastly, you should consider awards and accreditations when looking at senior living communities. Some things to look for include deficiency-free surveys, “Best” awards, and the time period in which they’ve won awards. Accreditations by organizations such as CARF provide assurances of financial stability and a commitment to excellence.

The Choice Is Yours

At the end of the day, choosing a senior living community is your choice. Just remember that the community should serve you or your loved one’s needs and provide the best quality of life possible.

How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021

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How-To Guide Saturday, April 3, 2021|

Many people equate calling hospice with the last few days or hours of life. Unfortunately, this misperception means that patients and their families miss out on weeks to months of services and support that could greatly improve their quality of life. If you or a loved one has been given a diagnosis of a life-limiting illness or is showing signs of significant decline, it may be time to call hospice. Signs of decline may include frequent trips to the emergency room, not recovering as expected from health-related events, or reduced levels of appetite, alertness, or self-care. Making the call does not mean that you have given up. Instead, it is an opportunity to learn more about eligibility and available services. With a simple phone call, you will be prepared with a plan to help decide when it’s time and will know how to take full advantage of all of the benefits and support that hospice can provide.

Know When To Call Hospice

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Why Would Someone Need Hospice?


Hospice care is typically offered to patients and their families when life expectancy is six months or less. This may be for someone with a diagnosis of a life-limiting illness or when age and health conditions indicate that the individual is approaching end of life. The key to hospice is maintaining the best quality of life, rather than trying to get better. Hospice services are usually recommended when care efforts are focused on managing pain and other distressing symptoms, rather than treating or curing an illness or condition. Hospice providers specialize in providing compassionate patient care and helping families navigate the emotional, financial, and day-to-day concerns associated with the impending loss of a loved one.

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What Are Hospice Services?

such as a hospital or skilled nursing center.

Hospice services may include skilled nursing care for pain and symptom management, as well as non-clinical assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and grooming. In addition, hospice can help with obtaining and setting up medical equipment, supplies and medication. Other services – including spiritual and emotional support, companionship and assistance with light housekeeping and errands – are also included and can make all the difference.

Will the Doctor Tell Me When to Call Hospice?

How Can Hospice Help? Hospice helps the entire family, from addressing the cost and concerns associated with caring for a dying loved one to providing actual patient care. Hospice care and service are provided in the comfort of wherever the patient calls home. This includes everything from a private home to a senior living community such as assisted living or memory care, to a clinical setting

Your loved one’s doctor may suggest hospice, especially if providing a life-limiting diagnosis. However, healthcare providers often take their cue from patients and family members. If there seems to be a strong focus on a cure, providers may hesitate to raise the subject of hospice. Asking the doctor about hospice early can open the door for candid conversations about realistic expectations and options and ultimately provide access to services and support much sooner.

What Are the Advantages of Calling Hospice Now Rather Than Later? If you think that end of life is approaching, it is worth having the information you need before a crisis happens. You will want to find a hospice provider that can respond 24/7 on any day of the year, just in case.

During your conversations you can learn about what to expect, what services are available, and what documentation you may need from the doctor for eligibility. Knowing that you have a caring team ready to help when needed can reduce anxiety and ease the transition when the time comes.

How Do I Choose the Right Hospice Provider? You want a hospice team that will treat you and your loved one like family when the time comes. The hospice experience affects everyone and having compassionate people who are experienced with grief and bereavement can help ease the process. Hospice providers with customized care plans designed specifically for your loved one and their diagnosis are preferred, since they will know how to treat your loved one best. Familiarizing yourself with hospice care early-on gives you the freedom of planning and making every moment count with your loved one.

How-To Guide | Saturday, April 3, 2021

“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.”

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• Emotional and spiritual support • Symptom management