I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, but one incident over my holiday break has me dedicated to doing more in the coming year.
It was Christmas dinner at my father’s house, and his in-laws had questions for me. A lot of questions, actually. They know I am communications director at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES), and they were hoping to get some direction on how to help a family member who is facing a wide range of aging-related challenges.
I was happy to help– we spoke for probably 45 minutes—because connecting people with helpful information and resources is a huge part of what we do at SCES. But it also drove home to me how often people are unaware of the many resources elder service agencies provide, with the goal of helping people maintain health and independence in the setting of their choice.
It made me want to do more to raise awareness in the coming year. And in that spirit, here is a partial list of the many programs we provide, many of which are free for eligible applicants:
The Aging Information Center is a free community resource that provides information and guidance on aging and disability issues. Our Elder Care Advisors are experts on aging, caregiving, and disability—and can facilitate access to resources that can help, both within the agency and in the community.
Adult Family Care helps MassHealth eligible people who cannot live alone receive the care they need from friends and family, by providing training, compensation and ongoing support for live-in caregivers.
Community Living Options is a private-pay Geriatric Care Management program that often helps families with care planning, care management, downsizing/relocation, hospital-to-home transitions, and more.
Home Care provides services to older residents who need assistance, so they may continue to live independently and safely at home.
Medical Advocates matches older adults with volunteers who become familiar with their medical issues and accompany them on doctor visits.
Medical Escort matches frail older adults with a volunteer who accompanies them to medical appointments.
Money Management matches trained and insured volunteers with older adults who need help paying bills, writing checks, balancing their checkbooks, budgeting monthly income,
and running bank errands.
Savvy Caregiver provides practical training about dementia for family caregivers.
Nutrition Services includes Meals-on-Wheels, congregate meal sites, nutrition counseling, nutrition supplements, and our Brown Bag Program, which provides groceries to low-income older adults once a month.
Protective Services investigates reports of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation and coordinates services necessary to eliminate or remedy the effects of abuse.
SHINE offers free information and assistance regarding health insurance and benefits to older adults, Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities, and their caregivers.
Again, this is just a partial list. Our Aging Information Center can provide a much more comprehensive view of what’s available.
I’ll close by wishing everyone a happy 2019. And by inviting you to call if you have any questions. Your Life, Your Way, At Home—that’s our motto at SCES, and it’s what we’re here for.
Nathan Lamb is Director of Outreach and Community Relations at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services, a non-profit agency that supports the independence and well-being of older people in Somerville and Cambridge. For more information, visit eldercare.org, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or contact the SCES Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601 for free advice and guidance.