Category Archives: Stories from the Field

NCOA Running Falls Prevention Photo and Story Contest

In preparation for Falls Prevention Awareness Day in September the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is sponsoring a “photo and story” contest to illustrate and convey the great work being done nationwide to prevent falls.

Winners will receive prizes issued to the individual/organization submitting the entry and will be featured in NCOA materials, including information provided to the media and on the organizations website. Prizes are: 1st prize: $300; 2nd prize: $250; 3rd prize: $200. Photo entries must be submitted by August 25 at 11:59pm ET.

Details are available in NCOA’s Photo Contest Flyer.

Public Park in Leominster Dedicated to Alzheimer’s Awareness

Central Park in the City of Leominster, MA  was dedicated to Alzheimer’s awareness on the longest day of the year, June 21st, which coincided with a national series of events and fundraising spearheaded by the Alzheimer’s Association.

The park can be found downtown at the intersection of Route 12 and Route 117 with a newly renovated corner for all to see.  Through a collaborate of private and public funding, there are many special features including; purple lighting from dusk to dawn symbolizing the struggle with sun-downing, granite pavers that anyone can sponsor and customize, large perennial garden, purple themed annual flowers, and a large inspirational stone yet to be engraved!  Continue reading

Age-Friendly Boston Reveals Progressive Action Plan

After a comprehensive assessment that drew the participation of more than 4,000 older adults from 23 neighborhoods across the city, Age-Friendly Boston announced a major milestone with the release of their 75-point action plan to enhance the quality of life for residents of all ages and abilities.

At an event emceed by Boston’s Commissioner for Affairs of the Elderly Emily Shea and featuring Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, AARP Massachusetts State Director Mike Festa, Tufts Health Plan Foundation president Nora Moreno Cargie, and Secretary for the state’s Executive Office of Elder Affairs Alice Bonner, the action plan was framed as the result of an impressive grassroots-style collaboration with the support of UMass Boston. The action plan was also touted as one of the most detailed and well-constructed that has crossed AARP’s review process. Continue reading

Age-Friendly Berkshires Announces Grant to Pilot Transportation Program

Transportation for older adults is a common topic of discussion for communities looking to become more age-friendly in both urban and rural settings, and Age-Friendly Berkshires will be testing a solution for their region.

Inclusive of 32 cities and towns in a predominantly rural part of Massachusetts, Age-Friendly Berkshires joined the AARP network of age-friendly communities as a region in 2015 and is coordinating a wide range of organizations, planners, businesses and local leaders to improve healthy aging policies and practices.

The new pilot project, which will run from June to December of 2017, is funded by the National Aging & Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) and will provide transportation to pre-arranged medical visits for older adults and those with disabilities without other transportation options. Continue reading

Patient Navigators: Creating a Healthier Community through Volunteering

By Malka Young, LICSW, Director of Community Impacts, JFS of Metrowest

The last time I saw the doctor; I drove into Boston, went through a maze of dark parking levels, backed into a narrow parking space, and traversed long corridors. I rushed, only to fill out my personal information forms that I had completed on previous visits and wait.  I marvel that individuals much older than me had to do this on their own before the Jewish Family Services (JFS) of Metrowest’s Patient Navigator Program started in late 2012. Continue reading

A Fall May Signify More Than Just an Accident

By John L. Brusch M.D., Associate Chief of Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance

Falls are common among adults older than 65.  An estimated 14% of older adults in Massachusetts reported falling in the past three months. In about a third of these cases, they suffered an injury that needed medical care or restricted their usual activities for at least a day. Injuries from falling can include bruising, hip fractures, head trauma, or major lacerations. Sometimes complications from falls can be fatal— they are the fifth leading cause of death in older adults. Even the mere fear of falling can adversely affect elders, who may restrict their activities to avoid possible injury.  Such social isolation can lead to significant physical and emotional consequences. Continue reading

How to Identify Depression, and the Strength Behind the Pain

By Kathy Kuhn, Center for Aging and Disability Resource (CADER), BU School of Social Work

In my last blog post on mental health and aging, I described Ms. McKay, an older woman who was coping with multiple losses. She had significant hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis. She had been active in her church but was spending more and more time alone in her apartment and not even collecting her mail. Her closest relative had recently moved away. She felt that nobody really cared if she even showed up. Despite the clear signs of depression, Ms. McKay’s provider did not notice them during her last doctor’s visit. Continue reading

How You Can Fight Elder Abuse in Massachusetts

By Betsey Crimmins, Senior Attorney, Greater Boston Legal Services, Inc.

An elderly parent is neglected and isolated by his adult child; a 92 year old woman is at risk for eviction after being fleeced by scammers and does not have enough money to pay her rent; an elderly couple in their nineties begin to physically abuse each other; a 71 year old woman with limited education and sensory disabilities is duped by her son into transferring her home to him;  a proud 86 year old veteran finds himself standing outside his home in his bathrobe clutching money and very disoriented.  These are just some examples of how elder abuse affects our families, friends, and neighbors every day in our communities. Elder abuse is a complex and multi-faceted problem which must be addressed by everyone who works with or cares about older adults.

Continue reading

“It’s My Fault and I Just Need to Get Over It”: The Story of Ms. McKay’s Depression

By Kathy Kuhn, Center for Aging and Disability Resource (CADER), BU School of Social Work

I’d like to share with you a story from my days as a social worker at Kit Clark Senior Services (KCSS).

Ms. McKay is an 82-year-old African American woman living in Dorchester. She was single, with significant hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis. Although she had a prosthetic leg, she was mobile. She had been active in her church but was recently spending more and more time alone in her apartment and not even collecting her mail. Her apartment was getting increasingly cluttered, bordering on hoarding. Continue reading

Caregiving Made a Little Easier in MetroWest

By Marty Cohen, President & CEO, MetroWest Health Foundation and Rebecca Gallo, Program Officer, MetroWest Health Foundation

Odds are if you are over 45, you already are or soon will be a caregiver. Seventy-five percent of all care received by older adults in the United States is provided by family members and friends, and many do not even identify themselves as caregivers. Continue reading