By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Region – One of the most daunting events that can rock a family is when it is apparent that a beloved elder is in need of help due to a medical, physical or emotional change. Compounding this problem is that one often does not know where to look for support, especially if the elder lives alone or far from family.
For anyone facing this situation there is one nonprofit organization, Baypath Elder Care Services, Inc., that can help guide and offer information, resources, and references in a compassionate, supportive way.
As the executive director of the nonprofit organization, which was established in 1977, Christine Allesandro oversees a staff of over 120 employees.
“Our mission to offer home care and related services enabling people to live independently and comfortably in their homes while promoting their wellbeing and dignity,” she said. “We are a resource to help elders and their loved ones find help and support.”
The organization offers support through the following programs: Adult Family Care; Care Transitions; Caregiver Support Program; Crisis Intervention; Elder Community Care; Healthy Living; OneCare (a new health care option for Massachusetts adults, age 21-64, who are eligible for both MassHealth and Medicare (dual eligible), such as those non-elderly adults with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, serious mental illness, and substance abuse disorders); Senior Housing; Nutrition; Money Management; Ombudsman; Options Counseling (assistance in finding the right home environment for your situation); and Personal Care Attendant and Senior Care Options (a health insurance program for dually eligible Medicare and Medicaid recipients, 65 years of age or older.)
For its Home Care Program, an elder must be 60 years of age or older. For the Respite Program, applicants may be under the age of 60 with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementia. They must meet income eligibility guidelines and may be required to pay a co-payment.
To qualify for either program, the applicant must need assistance with at least six activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, eating, transferring, laundry, housework, toileting, meal preparation, medication management, money management, grocery shopping, and transportation. One of those areas must be determined to be a critical unmet need.
Upon referral, Baypath will conduct a comprehensive in-home assessment, determine eligibility and needed services, develop a custom service plan, coordinate service delivery and changes in service, and monitor effectiveness and quality of services.
Many Baypath services are free, while others are based on one’s ability to pay or offered on a fee-for-service basis. As a designated Area Agency on Aging, the organization and its programs are funded in whole or in part by contracts with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA), funds from the Older Americans Act, and donations and grants from businesses, foundations and individuals.
“It’s usually a crisis that propels people into action,” Allesandro said. “That’s human nature. It’s best to know about us before you need us but we can help support you when the time comes that you do need us.”
Baypath can also, through its Community Care Transitions Program, help elders who are transitioning from a hospital to home. The program is designed to help empower the patient and reduce his risk of re-admittance to a hospital.
The organization hosts a number of Healthy Living Programs at different sites throughout the month to help individuals with the prevention and self-management of chronic diseases and other health conditions. (Visit www.baypath.org/Healthy-Aging.html and click on the calendar icon for more information on the various programs.)
In certain situations where a person qualifies, the agency can provide support and services to those under age 60 such adult family care, family caregiver support program and personal care attendants, to name just a few. Visit www.baypath.org/Under-60.html for more details.
Another feature Baypath offers is a link to a comprehensive website, http://www.caregivingmetrowest.org which serves as a source of information, resources and support for Metrowest caregivers.
Baypath serves the towns of Ashland, Dover, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Natick, Northborough, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Wayland and Westborough.
Allesandro noted that if a person is not located in one of the towns Baypath serves, they will direct them to an Area Agency on Aging that serves their community.
Baypath is located at 3 Boston Post Road West in Marlborough. For more information, visit www.baypath.org or call 508-573-7200.