Senior Connection

Sep 30, 2009


12:15 - 1:30 PM
Worcester Senior Center
128 Providence Street
Worcester MA 01604

Governor Deval Patrick’s newly-appointed Secretary of the
Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Ann Hartstein, will be
holding a public forum at the Worcester Senior Center.
Secretary Hartstein will meet with elders and their
families for an interactive dialog about issues important
to the region, their families and themselves. 

The Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging
Elder Services of Worcester Area, Inc.
the Executive Office of the Worcester City Manager,
Division of Elder Affairs
and The Massachusetts Senior Action Council
are proud to host this event.

No reservations are required unless you wish to have lunch at  noon.
To reserve lunch, call 508-799-8070 by October 12th.

The Executive Office of Elder Affairs promotes the
independence and well-being ofMassachusetts’ elders
and people needing medical and social supportive services.
By providing advocacy, leadership and management expertise,
Elder Affairs is able to maintain a continuum of services responsive
to the needs of their constituents, their families, and caregivers.

Sep 14, 2009

Nonprofit Groups Upset at Exclusion
From Health Bills

Nonprofit organizations say they are upset that Congress and the Obama administration have not addressed their rising health care costs in the various health care proposals being floated on Capitol Hill.

The main bill in the House would award a tax credit to small businesses that provide their employees with health insurance - but nonprofits do not pay income taxes and thus would not benefit.

"Why should employees of nonprofits be treated worse than employees of for-profit businesses?" said Jonathan A. Small, government affairs consultant at the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York. 

Nonprofit groups were hoping that the president would include them in his speech to Congress on Wednesday, but instead he mentioned only "families, businesses and government."
"There was nothing in that much-repeated trilogy of those needing help that spoke to nonprofits," said Lester M. Salamon, director of the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Some nonprofit groups have called for a subsidy along the lines of the Earned Income Tax Credit, in which money would be returned to organizations that demonstrate they have paid for an employee's health care.

As a group, nonprofit organizations are the nation's fourth-largest employer. But their advocates say policy makers know little about the workings of nonprofits, which pay payroll taxes and, in rare instances, taxes on unrelated business activities, but are exempt from taxes on their income.

"In this administration, there are so many people who came from the nonprofit community, but they don't really seem to think about the unique laws and rules that govern it," said Diana Aviv, president and chief executive of the Independent Sector, a nonprofit trade association.
When the concerns of nonprofit groups were raised on a conference call after the president's speech on Wednesday, representatives from the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs were taken aback, and nonprofits have reported similar reactions from staff members in House and Senate offices.

"We had our nonprofit lobbying day on Capitol Hill in July, and our members spoke to their elected officials about this issue," said Tim Delaney, chief executive of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations. "We heard a constant refrain: 'Gee, we never thought about nonprofits as employers before.' "

Linda Douglass, a White House spokeswoman, said she had no comment because the policy was still being analyzed.

A recent survey of nonprofit groups by the Listening Post Project at Johns Hopkins found that the impact of rising health care costs was "mammoth."

Only 2 percent of the organizations responding to the survey said they were "not too concerned" about health care costs, and 72 percent of the respondents said those costs had risen - with roughly one-third of those reporting increases of 10 percent or more.

New York Times

Sep 12, 2009

Keeping People at Home, Out of Nursing Homes

Anita Cole knows that her life of 75 years is coming to an end.

Still, she says from the hospital bed near the DVD player she uses to watch “The King and I” in one of six bedrooms in the Blackstone home of her daughter and son-in-law, “I’m lucky” because there are so many people who are worse off.

She did not feel so lucky during the year she spent in a nursing home just over the state line in Woonsocket. By the time she left it and arrived nearly two years ago in the six-bedroom home of Jackie and Alan Morrissette, with the help of Tri-Valley elder services in Dudley, she had bedsores you could put your hand in, said Jackie Morrissette, Mrs. Cole’s daughter.

Mrs. Cole, who used to fix knitting machines in the mills, said that some aides and nurses were kind and attentive, but Mrs. Morrissette said that some of them abused her mother.

Tri-Valley was a godsend, Mrs. Morrissette said. Even though Mrs. Morrissette used to work as a certified nursing assistant in nursing homes and as a certified medical technician, clearing the trail through paperwork by herself and coming up with a proper plan to bring her mother home would have taken far longer without the agency’s help, she said.

The Morrissettes sold their pizza restaurant and Mr. Morrissette became a personal care assistant about two years ago. Now he makes a living from the paid shared living arrangements they have taking care of Mrs. Morrissette’s mother, who has latter-stage Parkinson’s disease; a 74-year-old woman with physical ailments and mental disabilities; and a 37-year-old Vietnamese woman with severe physical and cognitive problems.

Mrs. Cole and her two housemates are benefiting from the home atmosphere and family-style care that the Morrissettes provide, but so are taxpayers.

Albert Norman, executive director of Mass Home Care, an association of 30 nonprofit agencies serving the elderly, said that “somewhere around 15 percent of people in nursing homes today could come out” if there were proper support. That would be about 5,000 of the 30,000 nursing home residents on Medicaid, he said.

Many nursing homes charge $58,000 a year, Mr. Norman noted. The annual cost of serving disabled elderly people in the community averages $26,000, less than half the cost, he said

Already support programs enable 10,000 Massachusetts nursing home-eligible people to live in homes in the community, Mr. Norman said. That saves the state and federal governments $580 million a year.

Massachusetts Senior Care Association, whose members include nursing homes, questions whether 5,000 nursing home residents could live in the community, according to Scott Plumb, senior vice president. The state, with its “cataclysmic budget” is not adding services but cutting back adult day health and other programs, creating waiting lists to get community services, he said.

“If somebody can be cared for safely and effectively at home, that’s where they should be cared for. Nursing homes are not in the business of taking care of people who don’t need to be there,” Mr. Plumb said. “There are some people in nursing homes, particularly with mental illness, who if the state were to make a strong, funded commitment to community care, that they could be cared for in the community.”

Since February or March, five agencies in the Worcester area have formed the Aging and Disabilities Resource Consortium, according to Ellen M. Messier, director of programs for the Center for Living & Working in Worcester. Besides Center for Living & Working, they are Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging, Elder Services of Worcester Area, Montachusett Home Care and Tri-Valley Inc.

“The point is to have no wrong door,” Ms. Messier said. The agencies are collaborating, so they know each others’ services.

If an elderly person or someone with disabilities who needs help living on their own calls the “wrong agency,” that agency will connect the right agency to the caller, she said.

Mr. Norman said the 11 consortiums across the state will fight the “silo” concept of service provision that separates services for elderly people from those for people with disabilities, when some people may need both. “Individuals don’t age in silos,” he said. The same person may need services to transition from middle age into old age.

Ginger Wills Howe, Tri-Valley program director for home and adult family care, said that long-term options counselors under the consortium will be an important addition to the outreach work the agencies already do. With a $2.5 million infusion from the state Legislature, the options program will go to people, usually when they are in a hospital, to counsel them on how they can return to the community rather than enter a nursing home, Mr. Norman said.

There has been a 20 percent drop in nursing home patient days in Massachusetts over the past nine years, he said. He’d like to see that trend continue, believing the state can reverse its ratio of 61 percent of Medicaid money — $1.5 billion — going to nursing homes and 39 percent spent on community care, much as he said Oregon and Washington state already have done.

Sometimes all that people who are not nursing home-eligible need is three hours a week of personal care services, the Mass Home Care executive director said.

Karen S. Monroe, 60, spent three months in UMass Memorial Medical Center — Memorial Campus after a motor vehicle accident that left her in a wheelchair, and then 3-1/2 years in the Odd Fellows Home. She said that her daughter’s home in Dudley, where she lived before the accident, was not accessible, and that she languished in the Odd Fellows home 2-1/2 years longer than she thinks she needed to be there. Finally on June 1, with the help of the Center for Living & Working, she got an apartment on Pleasant Street from the Worcester Housing Authority.

While Ms. Monroe said she was well taken care of at Odd Fellows, “I have more freedom here,” she said. She can cook for herself or sit outside or go to the nearby CVS, she said.

Ms. Messier of Center for Living & Working said the tragedy of living in a nursing facility when you don’t need to is that “You’re isolated, when you can be out in the community and doing things and living independently. There’s nothing better than being able to live independently.”

Sep 11, 2009

Message from Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee on National Day of Remembrance and Service

On September 11, 2001, our nation experienced the worst terrorist attack in our history.  On that day, families, friends and all Americans citizens were torn apart by the loss of the innocent individuals who perished in New York City, at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and in a field in southwestern Pennsylvania.  Eight years later, we continue to mourn their loss and celebrate their lives.  We also pay tribute to the heroes and first responders who gave so much when their fellow citizens needed them the most.
The Administration on Aging(AoA) is proud to join President Obama and the entire nation as we acknowledge September 11 as National Day of Remembrance and Service.  Today we reflect on how blessed we are to live in the United States. We come together to continue to show strength in unity and courage in the face of adversity.  We remember the past, but we look to tomorrow. We are Americans. We will endure. 
Today, America's spirit of compassion and generosity continues to shine.
All across the country, people are taking time today to lend a hand to those who need a boost.  I am very proud that AoA staff and members of our national network of state, tribal and community-based organizations that serve older Americans are fanning out in communities across the country to perform meaningful service activities on behalf of at risk and frail older persons, their caregivers and their families.  Whether it's serving a meal to a hungry senior, running errands for those who are homebound or just spending some time with those who are alone and isolated, these gestures make a big difference in their lives.  I ask everyone to take some time today and throughout the year to help someone less fortunate.  Together we can help tackle the tough challenges our country faces now and in the


To Enhance The Quality Of Life For Area Seniors And Their Caregivers, The Central Massachusetts Agency On Aging Will Provide Leadership, Information And Resources, Coordination Of Services And Advocacy.