MARCH 2021 NEWSLETTER | THE BAYPATH BULLETIN
A SPOTLIGHT ON THE VITAL PROGRAMS AT BAYPATH
In each edition of the BayPath Bulletin, we showcase a different BayPath program and how it helps serve our consumers and local communities. This month we are shining a light on our Long Term Care Ombudsman program, led by Program Director Mary Brooks.
Life in a nursing home or rest home can be unsettling for residents. Many feel powerless or forgotten. When problems occur, some residents do not believe that it is within their rights to complain. 
 
Our Long Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman Program seeks to empower residents to take control of their lives just as they did in their former homes. When this is not the case, the LTC Ombudsman will step in with the resident’s permission to attempt to resolve the issues at hand.
HOW DID COVID IMPACT LONG TERM CARE RESIDENTS?
Q & A with Mary Brooks, BayPath's Ombudsman Program Director

Q: When the pandemic restrictions went into full effect in 2020, what were some of the challenges you faced?
Mary: It was an extremely trying time for everyone as it came on so quickly. The most challenging part was not being able to visit the residents in person.  

The volunteers struggled with not being able to provide the comfort and support to the residents they had come to know.

Q: What were some of the interim procedures you used during this time?
Mary: We reached out to residents virtually with the assist of staff using zoom, google duo, and simply the phone. Initially, the focus was connecting with the residents to find at least one resident in each facility that could be an "ambassador," often the president of the resident council would take this on. The ambassador would serve as their facility's key contact for the ombudsman to call for insight and status updates. 

Thankfully residents were among the first phase of those vaccinated, and at this stage, we can resume visits, practicing safety & social distancing protocols. 


Q: How have residents dealt with the pandemic restrictions for the most part?
Mary: The most difficult time, of course, was in the beginning when residents were not allowed visitors and needed to stay in their rooms for their safety. However, two things became apparent. First, older adults are more resilient than we typically think of them being. They have lived through so much in their lives, from wars to other health crises, that this life experience made them more equipped to deal with the pandemic than many younger adults. Secondly, they gained a new appreciation for the support the staff provided them through this difficult time.

Q: How are you able to support so many consumers within MetroWest Long Term Care facilities?
Mary: One word... VOLUNTEERS! We have been so fortunate to have worked with such dedicated volunteers who build a bond with our consumers and take the time to understand the residents' needs. As such, they gain an intuitive sense of when concerns need to be addressed, even if the consumer in question is reluctant to share. The volunteers are a vital part of the work we do.

If you would like to know more about becoming a volunteer for our Long Term Care Ombudsman program - CLICK HERE or you can contact Mary Brooks at mbrooks@baypath.org
MAY IS OLDER AMERICANS MONTH
#OlderAmericansMonth

Every May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads our nation’s observance of Older Americans Month. The theme for 2021 is "Communities of Strength."

Older adults have built resilience and strength over their lives through successes, failures, joys, and difficulties. Their stories and contributions help to support and inspire others.

This year Older Americans Month is celebrating the strength of older adults, with a special emphasis on the power of connection and on building intergenerational communities.
To learn more about the various health awareness campaigns promoted every month, check out the Wellness Wall on BayPath's CaregivingMetroWest.org website, where we share a concise overview on the most relevant health topics.
HOMEMADE CARDS BRIGHTEN THE DAY!
A community comes together to bring love to isolated seniors - winter, spring, summer, and fall!

Every year, in the heart of winter, volunteers from Gay For Good (G4G) Boston team up with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and FriendshipWorks to make hundreds of Valentine's cards for isolated seniors!

This year we were so grateful to have also received thoughtful support from our friends in the Health Tech class at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School.

So many of you helped make valentines for isolated elders that FriendshipWorks was able to deliver over 950 valentines! ❤ THANK YOU!

Due to the success of the valentine's effort, G4G Boston and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, teamed up again to make springtime cards, which are being delivered by BayPath Elder Services as a little surprise with Meals on Wheels deliveries! The goal was 700 cards, and they are still coming in!

We want to keep this going every season and plan to have a summertime card-making event. Look for announcements on our social media pages or email Julie Nowak (jnowak@baypath.org), who heads up our LGBTQ+ initiative and is the initiator of this program.

Julie worked with Nutrition Director Denise Mendzdorf to spearhead connecting the card making with BayPath's MetroWest consumers through our Meals on Wheel deliveries.
MASS.GOV COVID-19 UPDATES
Since information on the coronavirus gets updated frequently, we recommend that you stay up-to-date on local COVID-19 news at mass.gov.
How to find an available vaccine appointment.

People age 16 + who live, work, or study in Massachusetts are now eligible to be vaccinated.
Mass.gov provides two ways to search for an appointment.

VACCINE SIGNUP MA (Also called Preregistration)
You register for a future appointment at one of the Massachusetts COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Locations.

  • You can use this site to find a vaccination location near you at not just the mass vaccination locations, but also at your local Board of Health, or a retail pharmacy. 
  • Type in your location and you will get a listing of local locations that are offering the vaccine. 
  • Click "Details" to visit the "how to schedule" links for each location. (Note this will bring you to that locations website.)
WHAT ARE THE COVID VACCINE SIDE EFFECTS?
AARP shared a breakdown of the most common side effects in older adults from all three vaccines
While no one wants to have side effects, the consensus is that COVID vaccine side effects only last a short amount of time and are minor compared to actual coronavirus symptoms.

Interestingly, a key finding from the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial data and from monitoring the first few months of vaccine rollout, is that older adults have fewer side effects from a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to younger populations.

Below, are the most common vaccine side effects to expect if you are over 55.
AGING WISDOM
MORE ABOUT US
BayPath Elder Services, Inc.
BayPath is a designated Massachusetts Area Agency on Aging and one of 26 Massachusetts Aging Services Access Points.

BayPath is dedicated to being a trusted partner, providing an array of services and programs to older adults and individuals of any age with disabilities who require support to maintain their independence.

BayPath's Information and Referral team is happy to answer your questions and direct you to the proper support. Call 508-573-7200 or visit
CareGivingMetroWest.org
Caregiving MetroWest, a BayPath program, offers resources and information to our communities' family caregivers. Review all of the offerings for family caregivers on our caregiving website: CareGivingMetroWest.org

BayPath also provides direct support for family caregivers through our Family Caregiver Support Program. Contact our Caregiving Specialist, Donna Murray, at 508-573-7239 or dmurray@baypath.org
The Family Caregiver Support Program is funded by the Massachusetts Office of Elder Affairs and Title III of the Older Americans Act. We would also like to express our gratitude to Avidia Bank, our Community Partner whose generous support helps increase and enhance our efforts to support and assist area family caregivers.
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BayPath Elder Services, Inc. is a member of the MetroWest Aging and Disability Resource Consortium, a partnership with HESSCO and the MetroWest Center for Independent Living.

BayPath Elder Services, Inc.| 508-573-7200 | www.baypath.org