Senior Connection

Dec 3, 2014

“Tis the Season to be Jolly” Coping with Grief at the Holidays

For many of us the holidays are a time of celebration, joy, and fun. However those who have experienced loss can have feelings of sadness, anger, loneliness, and emptiness. Loss can be the death of a loved one but it can come in other forms such as loss of physical ability, absence of a loved one, or loss of traditions that once defined a holiday celebration. Grief can be explained as the emotional result of the pain one experiences because of loss.

The holidays can be some of the toughest times after loss. When someone is grieving the holidays can be quite an overwhelming and difficult time. While you may wish that you could ignore the holidays and avoid them all together it is virtually impossible. Where ever you go there are holiday decorations. The television and radio are filled with holiday shows and music. One must voyage through the holidays as part of the grief journey.

It is important to know that there is no right or wrong way to approach the holidays when you are grieving. The ways we handle the holidays are as individual as we are, what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for everyone. It isn't unusual for well intentioned people to imply pressure on how the holidays “should” be handled; advice may be well intentioned only the individual can know what feels right.

While there is nothing that will take away grief, there are things that can be done to help alleviate the weight of grief throughout the holiday season.

Share Your Feelings
Make sure to allow time to express feelings. Overbooking yourself to avoid feelings doesn't work and can lead to unpredictable emotional outbursts. Sharing your feelings can help set a safe atmosphere for others to share too; others may be feeling similarly but aren't sure how to bring it up.

Tell People What You Need
If you don’t share what you need family and friends will make assumptions. Assumptions can lead to poor communication and hurt feelings. While it would be nice, we can’t expect others to know what we need since we all grieve in our own unique way.

Make Action Plans
It isn’t easy to know what we will need at the holidays but being caught off guard can make things harder. Try to anticipate your reactions to specific situations you may encounter throughout the holidays. Develop planned responses and actions, and allow yourself to change your plans.

Avoid Being Alone Most of the Time
The pain of loss can be exacerbated by loneliness and isolation. Too much alone time can allow thoughts to become overwhelming. Even if you aren’t feeling in a jovial mood, make an effort to simply stay connected with the people that care about you. However do make plans to have private time to process your thoughts and feelings, and have a good cry.

Take Care of Yourself
This can mean many different things for everyone. Take time to do the things that you enjoy and that fulfill you. Grieving is draining so be aware of your physical needs such a eating right and sleeping, these are simple things but they make a big difference in your well-being.

Balance Traditions and New Rituals
When we experience loss we are changed and so are the holidays. It is important to find a balance between long standing traditions and new rituals. It can be helpful to remember the loss of a loved one at holiday gathering with a candle lighting, a prayer, a song, or something that honors their memory.

Hopefully with some of these tips you can work to develop new ways to experience the holidays. It is natural to feel you may never fully enjoy the holidays again; however in time many are able to find a new meaning and a new form of holiday spirit.

Emily A. Pattee MSW, LCSW
Hospice Social Worker/Bereavement Coordinator
Holy Trinity Hospice

Nov 21, 2014

What is Hospice?

Hospice is a comprehensive program of interdisciplinary services designed to meet the unique needs of persons, who have a limited life expectancy, their families and loved ones.
Hospice offers a special kind of care that:
  • treats all aspects of the patient including their physical, emotional and spiritual needs;
  • offers the patient the choice to remain at home or reside in a home-like setting;
  • focuses on pain and symptom management;
  • recognizes the family to be an essential part of its mission; and
  • promotes the importance of and affirms the quality of life.
Who Pays for Hospice?

Hospice is a covered benefit under most health insurance plans, including HMO’s and other managed care organizations. Hospice is also a covered benefit of the Medicare (Part A) program and is covered by Medicaid (Mass Health) in the state of Massachusetts.

Who Makes Up the Hospice Team?

Hospice is made up of an interdisciplinary team that works to make a patient and their family as comfortable as possible during this time in the patient’s illness. The interdisciplinary team is compromised of the following people: Patient’s Physician and the Hospice Medical Director, Registered Nurse, Certified Nursing Assistants, Medical Social Worker, Pastoral Care, Bereavement Counselor, Speech Therapist, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Dietician, and Trained Volunteers.

Why Does Hospice Appeal to the Terminally Ill?

Hospice care is an answer when an individual’s life is threatened because of advance stages of an illness. Working with the patient’s family member and love ones, the hospice team helps them say good bye with comfort and dignity.

The care given in hospice is based on letting the patient experience the best quality of life in the comfort of the place they consider home until they breathe there last breath. Hospice care is an interdisciplinary approach to meet the needs- physical, psychological, and spiritual – of a person at the end of life.

Hospice also offers emotional, and bereavement support, to the family and love ones for up to a year or longer if requested.

How Can I Receive Hospice Care?

Anyone involved in the care of an individual in the final stages of life may make a referral to hospice—Physicians, Patients, Family Members, Care givers, Clergy.

For further information please contact:

Holy Trinity Hospice
Christine Mateer
Community Liaison

Nov 7, 2014

Family Caregiving—the First and Most Loving Care We Can Give

By Bob Dwyer, Executive Director -- CMAA

Many of the people who work in community services for older persons are not only professionals in our fields.  Oftentimes folks forget that we are people too!  And the fact is, we have family members, younger and older, for whom we help to provide care.  As a grandparent, I have had the experience of caring for our grandchildren, at different times and for different reasons.  As someone whose parents grew sick and frail, I helped my sister and brother care for our parents.  My sister certainly took the lead, but we were there to help her and my parents.

I have also been privileged to assist in the care of my wife’s, my in-laws, as they have aged.  My father in law passed over last winter.  And my mother in law has now moved into an assisted living facility in Maine near my wife’s family.

This move into a “facility” was not easy for my mother in law, nor for my wife and her siblings.  Yet, the attempt to care for her in their long time home was proving very difficult for all.  The house was old, and needed more than just updating.  Furnace issues, leaky roof, utility costs and rotting pipes—all in combination with a true degradation of my mother in laws conditions of severe arthritis, additional leg pain, depression and the beginning of dementia, was taking its toll on her and the family.  The caregiving role is difficult, particularly when the one you care for is a loved one.

Like many other older Americans, Glo didn’t want strangers in her home, and would not accept someone to help her with personal care.  She accepted meals on wheels, but reluctantly.  My wife Kathy’s siblings stopped in nearly daily, doing laundry, making sure the furnace was working, helping their Mom with her personal care, groceries, and housework.  Kathy called daily, spoke with doctors, and made the trip to Maine on a regular basis from our home in southern Worcester County.  All in all, it was too much for everyone to handle.  There remained the fear that Glo would fall and break a hip, or worse, using the few stairs she needed to use.

Moving Glo to assisted living was the solution.  None of us had a safe and appropriate home in which she could live.  Now, Glo is safe and secure, and though other of her conditions remains, her children understand that their caregiving takes on a different role of visiting, comforting and loving.

All too often when we think about “caregiving,” our thoughts turn to professional caregivers.  Our loved one’s care does not always take place in hospitals, or nursing homes, or doctor offices, or medical clinics. Most care actually occurs in the home – and that’s a good thing. People are healthier at home and health care costs are reduced. Family caregivers have the best interests of their loved ones at heart.  But caregiving at home can take its toll and it certainly takes a lot of planning. The Nation’s 90 million family caregivers are front and center in providing care every day – enabling their loved ones to stay at home longer where they are happier and healthier. 

• Most adults would prefer to age in place.  90% of adults over the age of 65 would prefer to stay in their current home as they age.  Family, friends, and neighbors provide 80% of the care for the elderly.

• Two out of every 5 adults are family caregivers.  39% of all adult Americans are caring for a loved one who is sick, disabled, or living with frailties of old age. That’s up from 30% in 2010.

• Family caregivers are the only people who are present with patients in all care settings.  Patients may have more than one doctor; nurses change shifts; prescriptions may be filled at different pharmacies. But family caregivers are there as full partners with their loved ones through it all.

• Complex care happens in the homeAlmost half of family caregivers perform sophisticated medical/nursing tasks for their loved ones – such as providing wound care and operating specialized medical equipment – and up to 70% manage medications for their loved ones.

• Caregiving affects the whole familyMen are now almost as likely to say they are family caregivers as women are (37% of men; 40% of women). And even 36% of younger Americans between ages 18 and 29 say they are family caregivers!

• Many families make changes at home because of their caregiving responsibilities. Some families have to tighten their belts at home to pay for out-of-pocket caregiving costs (an average of $5,500 per year). And many more have to make home alterations to ensure safety, security, and cleanliness for their loved ones.

(**See Caregiver Action Network at  .)

Family caregivers are the front line of caregiving throughout the world.  Whether it is shoveling the walk, raking leaves, bringing your Dad to the doctor or your Mom to the grocery store, it’s all about the care and family.  In this month of November, we celebrate Family Caregiving, the first and most loving care we can offer.

Oct 3, 2014

2015 Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare’s Open Enrollment period is October 15 - December 7 
with new coverage beginning January 1.
October 15 to December 7 is when people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plan and prescription drug coverage for 2015. Information on 2015 plans will be available beginning in October.

You don't need to sign up for Medicare each year. However, each year you'll have a chance to review your coverage and make changes. Your health needs change from year to year.   Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year-things like cost, coverage, and which providers and pharmacies are in their networks. That is why it is important to review your Medicare choices each fall.

People with Medicare can call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit for plan information.  

Seniors in Central Mass can call Central Mass Agency on Aging at 508 852-5539 to make an appointment with a SHINE counselor to help them review their options. 

Older adults everywhere in Massachusetts can call 1-800-AGEINFO (249-4636) option 3 to locate a SHINE counselor. If a person is satisfied that their current plan will meet their needs for next year, they don't need to do anything.

Sep 25, 2014

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day - September 27th 10am-2pm

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.  Below we have listed collection centers close to the central MA region. For additional collection sites Click Here

Northern Central MA

Westminster Police Department                   Pepperell Public Safety Complex
7 South St                                                        59 Main St
Westminster, MA  01473                               Pepperell, MA 01463

Price Chopper Supermarket                         Acton Police Department
560 Main St.                                                    371 Main St
Gardner, MA  01440                                      Acton MA

CVS                                                                 Nashua Police Department
314 Main Street                                              DPW Garage Stello Dr
Gardner, MA  01440                                      Nashua, NH 03062
Stop & Shop                                                    Littleton Police Headquarters
384 Timpany Blvd                                           500 Great Rd
Gardner, MA  01440                                      Littleton, MA 01460
Lunenburg Police Department                     Princeton Police Department
655 Massachusetts Ave.                              8 Town Hall Dr
Lunenburg, MA  01462                                 Princeton, MA 04541
Fitchburg Fire Department                           Boxborough Police Department
33 North Street                                              520 Massachusetts Ave
Fitchburg,  MA  01420                                  Boxborough, MA 01719
Fitchburg Police Department                       Harvard Police Department
20 Elm Street                                                 40 Ayer Rd
Fitchburg, MA  01420                                   Harvard, MA 01451

Phillipston Police Department                     Ayer Police Department
40 The Common                                           54 Park St
Phillipston, MA  01331                                 Ayer, MA 01432

Ashby Police Department                           Groton Police Department  
893 Main Street                                           99 Pleasant St
Ashby, MA  01431                                       Groton, MA 01450
Townsend Police Department                    Lunenburg Police Department
70 Brookline Rd.                                          695 Massachusetts Ave
Townsend, MA  01469                                Lunenburg, MA 01462

Central Central MA

Worcester Housing Authority                     Marlborough Police Department  
40 Belmont St.                                            355 Bolton St 
Worcester,  MA  01608                              Marlborough, MA 01752

Worcester Senior Center                          Rutland Police Department
128 Providence Street                              242 Main St
Worcester,  MA  01608                             Rutland, MA 01543

Holden Police Department                       Grafton Police Department
1370 Main Street                                       28 Providence Rd
Holden,  MA  01520                                  Grafton, MA 01519

Shrewsbury Senior Center                       Northborough Police Department
98 Maple Ave.                                           211 Main St 
Shrewsbury, MA  01545                           Northborough, MA 01532

Old  Marlborough Transfer  Station          Leicester Recycling Center
Hudson St.                                                  200 Mannville St
Marlborough, MA  01752                          Leicester, MA 01524

Southern Central MA

Bellingham Senior Center                         Webster Police Department 
40 Blackstone Street                                 57 Thompson Rd
Bellingham, MA   02019                            Webster, MA 01570

Woonsocket Police Department              Hopkinton Police Headquarters
242 Clinton Street                                      74 Main St 
Woonsocket,  RI   02895                           Hopkinton, MA 01748

Hopedale Police Department                   Blackstone Town Hall/Senior Center
70 Hopedale Street                                   15 St. Paul St
Hopedale,  MA  01747                              Blackstone, MA 01540

Milford Senior Center                                Northbridge Police Department
60 North Bow                                             1 Hope St 
Milford,  MA  01757                                   Whitinsville, MA 01588

Cumberland Police Department              Dudley Police Department 
1380 Diamond Hill Road                          71 West Main St
Cumberland,  RI   02864                           Dudley, MA 01571

Millis Police Department                          Sturbridge Police Department
885 Main Street                                         246 Main St
Millis, Ma  02054                                       Sturbridge, MA 01566

Medfield Police Department                    Brookfield Police Department 
110 North Street                                        3 Post Rd
Medfield, Ma  02052                                 Brookfield, MA 01506

Foxborough Public Safety Bldg.              Southbridge Police Department 
8  Chestnut Street                                     1 Mechanic St
Foxboro, Ma  02035                                 Southbridge, MA 01550

Northbridge Police Department              Charlton Police Department
1 Hope Street                                            85 Masonic Home Rd
Whitinsville, MA  01588                           Charlton, MA 01507

Douglas Police Department                    Ware High School      
29 Depot Street                                        22 North St
Douglas, MA 01516                                 Ware, MA 01082

Palmer Town Hall
4417 Main St
Palmer, MA 01069

Aug 28, 2014

Dad, Are You In There? (Part III)

by Patti Holm 

            By now, dad is back at the nursing facility after suffering a major heart attack and stroke.  He is on "comfort" measures only.  He made sure that I knew what he wanted if it ever came to this.  He never wanted any "heroic" measures or machines keeping him alive.  He told me that he never wanted to exist as a vegetable.  This has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  I just sit with him, hold his hand, put cool cloths on his forehead, talk and pray with him.  So many family members and friends come to visit him, but are not sure what to say, so we just visit together for a while.  I believe that on some level, he knows we're here -- maybe.  The staff assures me that he is not in pain, and is not suffering, but I wrestle with the what-ifs.  I ask about how long "it" will take, and they tell me that "it" varies with each person.  The will to live is stronger in some than in others.  I sit and wonder about the purpose of all this, and I feel the pain of losing someone so dear.  I know that deep down, there is a reason, so I just keep waiting.  I find myself taking a trip of my own down "memory lane."  I want to gently shake him one more time and ask, "Dad, are you in there?"

Aug 15, 2014

Dad, Are You In There? (Part II)

by Patti Holm

            I know now that Dad cannot live alone anymore.  He's been in and out of the hospital several times for the same problems.  Each time, a little bit more of him is gone.  The doctors tell me that he has a condition known as dementia, and that it's not safe for him to live alone.  At this point, he will go for some rehab until he gets a little stronger.  After this he will have to go to a nursing facility with around-the-clock care. 
            While he was in rehab, I was able to find a nice nursing facility for him.  They were very helpful in all aspects of the transition for him.  Dad is now angry with me.  He does not want to be in "this place".  He asks me why I put him here.  I tell him that it's not me, but the doctors that would like him in a safe place while getting stronger.  He asks me things about the need for a wheelchair, why he can't use his walker, and why they have to help him all the time.  I just pretend a lot to keep my sanity at this point, because I hate to see him so agitated.  In his mind, he can walk and take care of himself.  The reality of something so debilitating robbing him of his independence, is very difficult to deal with. He doesn't understand that he is in a facility like this so he will be "safe". 

            Some days are better that others, but I always feel so helpless.  We talk about old times, and these are the times when he is the happiest.  I want to shake him though, and ask "Dad, are you in there?"  I'm grateful that he still knows me when I go to see him, but also know that there may be a time when this too shall end.    

Aug 8, 2014

Dad, Are You In There? (Part 1)

by Patti Holm 

"Do you want to go for a ride Dad?"  He says "sure, we'll go wherever you'd like to go."  Dad doesn't drive anymore, except in his mind.  "I'll drive today, Dad."  He asks me where we are going.  I tell him that we're going to his favorite fishing spot on the lake.  He then tells me that he doesn't want to go there, and when I ask him why, he tells me that it's not the same, and that there's nothing there anymore.  I decide to take him back to his nice apartment in the senior living complex.  When we get inside, he asks me when we're going for a ride.  I just wanted to shake him and say, "Dad, are you in there?"  I know doing that would not be very helpful since we do this every time we get together whether it's for a shopping trip, doctor's appointment or just to go for a ride to get ice cream or a coffee.  I usually just change the subject, and talk about old times.  It's a thing I call "going down memory lane."  We sometimes look at old pictures or work on a puzzle.  He likes to take a snooze while I do the puzzle!  I also take the opportunity to clean, put out his clothes for the next day, pack up the laundry to do at home.  By now, it almost time for dinner.  I usually pre-make meals for him to take out of the refrigerator or freezer, but he usually forgets if he is alone, so if I do it for him, he'll have something nourishing.  I put out his medicine with little notes so he'll see it.  The next day, we start the same process all over again.  "Dad, are you in there?"    

Jul 3, 2014

The Cane

by Andrea Erickson

So, what do you see behind this cane?
A forsaken woman? A slow-walking pain?
A lazy relic of a forgotten time?
An unhealthy human who didn't do enough time 
on treadmills, in sneakers, out in open air?
A person who complains that life just isn't fair?
This woman is a scholar, and very much alive 
with tall tales and small tales and never ending drive, 
who prays to the Lord to protect friends, and family, 
who sneaks in a prayer of thanks for still living free.
Who gets frustrated, but proud that she's still living life - 
not begging for mercy as a broken-down wife.
This woman has feelings and hurts at times 
for lost friends, and strength that keeps her alive. 
This lady finds comfort in all parts of her life, 
and tries not to ponder too much anguish or strife.
She knows that this life happens once for us all,
so she breathes in the sunlight, and brilliant colors of Fall. 
She loves conversation, and journeys to the sea
To watch ocean and waves, and gulls flying free.
So, please take a moment to return a kind smile, or hold open a door - 
she'll be around for awhile. 
And listen, for this woman may have a story to tell, 
about her endless belief that all will be well.
So what do you see behind this cane?

Jun 19, 2014

Whatever happened to 'wild and crazy'?

 by Andrea Erickson

Back in my 20's, 30's, and even well into my 40's, I always had an touch of 'wild and crazy' in my blood. Whether it was biking with a group of friends for 50 miles, skiing in a snow squall, hiking down a remote trail in the wilderness, or hopping on a train in Europe with no destination in mind to see if I could find the sun. These days, my 'wild and crazy' has been changed due to my reduced ability to walk long distances, and my life responsibilities. Pet dogs cannot always come along, and when they can join us, their company requires oversight. So, no spontaneous trips that force us to leave them behind.

But, life is far from boring! These middle age years have given me a true appreciation of classical music, opera, ballets, contemporary music. I've also learned to love the wonder and beauty of museums, from art to science to astronomy - we finally have the time and a little money to squeeze in visits and shows. It's wonderful to be able to soak in these experiences! And then there are the vacations we're able to savor - short stays or longer. I've seen more of this country now than ever before - local areas and long distance. There are surprises and fun around every corner.

Finally, there is my new career - writer, blogger, poet. These were activities that were former hobbies, but I'm embracing then as a new source of inspiration for me as a profession. Money is not the motivator now, it's my ability to call my own shots and work with the freedom I've acquired in these 'middle' years.

But, maybe that's the way life works. Our life experiences and memories keep us remembering those 'wild and crazy' moments, so we can laugh, reminisce with friends and family, and chart our next course of discovery. As the author, Jules Renard noted, “It`s not how old you are, it`s how you are old.”  

May 29, 2014


Age sneaks up on me like an invisible pen.
Drawing lines.
Adding depth and volume
to my neck and chin - previously smooth and slender.
It's challenging to see yourself in your mind's eye as the youthful young woman
you once were,
only to continue to be greeted by an older woman in the mirror.
There's still beauty there;
but, veils of wisdom and time have carved their memories into your smile and your eyes.
The spark of surprise and the blush of anticipation
can be found somewear in the valleys of wear.
Oh, how I miss those pristine fairways.
                 - Andrea Erickson

May 2, 2014

The History of Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month! 

When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthdays. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing, however. In April of 1963, President John F. Kennedy's meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens served as a prelude to designating May as "Senior Citizens Month."

Find out more about the history of Older Americans Month here

Apr 18, 2014

Bullying -
It’s Not Just Kids Stuff Anymore
A Conference for Professionals in Elder Care

 MAY 21, 2014 8:00 am to 12:30pm
Anna Maria College
50 Sunset Ln,
Paxton, MA

 Featured Speakers:

Marsha Frankel, LICSW,  is the Clinical Director of Senior Services and the Director of Mental Health at Jewish Family and Children's Services of Boston.

Workshop:  Is it Social Bullying?  Strategies for Assessing and Intervening with Older Adults. This workshop will discuss what constitutes social bullying among older adults versus unacceptable social behavior due to other causes like dementia or mental illness.  A description of common characteristics of older bullies and how victims are selected will be offered with examples from different setting that will demonstrate the negative impact of the behavior.  The major focus of the workshop will be in describing a four-part targeted intervention approach addressing the organization, the bullies, the victims and the bystanders.

Joan Webster is the Volunteer Coordinator  and Volunteer Mediator on the roster of the Community Mediation Services at the Center for Nonviolent Solutions in Worcester. 

Workshop:  Mediation Strategies for the Elder-Serving Professional. This workshop will begin with a discussion of tools and strategies that can be used to combat bullying on site.  A brief discussion of formal mediation will follow.  There will also be role-playing exercises demonstrating how mediation works and a question and answer period.

Presented By: 
The Worcester County Elder Abuse Prevention Roundtable
The Worcester County Elder Abuse Prevention Roundtable is an association of dedicated elder-serving professionals that work to provide training, education and outreach to prevent and reduce elder abuse in Worcester County.

 Sponsoring Agencies:
Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging
Molly Bish Center /Anna Maria College
Elder Services of Worcester
Office of District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.
National Assoc. of Social Workers-MA

Participating Agencies:
Community Legal Aid
Centro Las Americas
City of Worcester Elder Affairs
Montachusett Opportunity Council
Pathways for Change
Tri-Valley, Inc.
Worcester County Sheriff’s Department

Registration Form

Mail Registration Form and Payment to:
Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging
360 West Boylston St, Suite 216
West Boylston MA 01583


Registration Cost: $20.00
 includes 3 Social Work CEU’s and Continental Breakfast

Please make checks payable to Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging

Mail Registration Form and Payment to:
Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging
360 West Boylston St, Suite 216
West Boylston MA 01583
Contact Nicole Kanis at or 508-852-5539

Limited space is available for resource tables. If you are interested in providing informational materials please contact Nicole Kanis.

Apr 4, 2014

Why should you work in the aging field?

In the 21st Century Americans are not only living longer, but also represent great diversity in needs and interests. Unprecedented growth is projected in all service-providing industries, and almost limitless opportunity exists for the development and delivery of new products and services.

More than a single profession, Gerontology provides a specialist overlay to any profession serving our aging population. Many states are expected to experience dramatic workforce shortages, in existing as well as emerging professions. In addition to Health Care, demand will be high for qualified applicants to work in Financial and Legal services, Leisure, Travel, Hospitality, Fitness and Wellness pursuits, among others.
According to current data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the population 65 years and over will increase to 55 million in 2020 (a 36% increase for this decade). By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons in the U.S., almost twice their number in 2007 and roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population.

The demand for healthcare workers will remain particularly strong due to the mounting healthcare needs of the burgeoning elderly population. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “the health care industry added 428,000 jobs throughout the 18-month recession from December 2007 until June 2009 and has continued to grow at a steady rate since the end of the recession.” Moreover, “the health care and social assistance industry is expected to be the most rapidly growing sector in terms of employment” through 2020. The BLS projects that employment will increase by 34.5 percent in healthcare support occupations and 25.9 percent in healthcare practitioner and technical occupations through 2020. There is a growing demand for workers in long-term care in particular as more of the elderly require nursing home care, residential care, adult day care, and home care.

While job growth will continue in the health care sector, new opportunities are emerging daily in the development and delivery of aging products and services. Individuals who understand older adults’ needs, strengths, and limitations, as well as their cognitive, physical, and social functioning, will be well-positioned for today’s competitive marketplace.

To help address the need for educational programs in the field of Gerontology Assumption College is now offering a Certificate in Aging Services. This certificate will allow individuals to gain a better understanding of the field of aging.

To find out more about this exciting new certificate program go to

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau

Mar 7, 2014

Can you feel my heartbeat? -Part 2
By Andrea Erickson

How can you reduce your risk of developing heart disease?

This is a common question among Seniors and Elders alike. But, the answer applies to humans of every age. Start young – keep your organs healthy and working. But, since aging is an ongoing process, here is a list of recommendations you can use to cope, or reduce your risk of encountering heart disease in your lifetime: Share this with your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. You could help to save a life by simply sharing information.

  • Exercise 3-4 times per week for 20-30 minutes.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight for your height and age.
  • Breathe! Get oxygen into your bloodstream.

Reduce and/or eliminate bad health habits
  • Do not smoke, or stop smoking if you smoke.
  • Reduce alcohol intake (no more than two drinks per day – 5 oz. glass of wine, 12 oz. beer, or 1.5 oz spirits) and avoid recreational drugs. You may have been a child of the 60’s, but respect your body’s elegance as you age.

  • Reduce stress in your life (identify outlets to relieve stress such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing), and learn to accept events that you cannot control.
  • Live in the present moment – stop and look around you and be amazed by the sunset or sunrise, the stillness of a lake, the rhythms of the sea, the sounds of nature, the characters in the clouds.
  • Rest and sleep. Give your body time to recover from stressful events.

Manage your time
  • Time Management is critical to living life in this fast-paced world we live in! Schedule events and dates. Give yourself time to get things done. Enjoy your big and small life events.
  • Schedule fun, but keep your life open to unexpected happenings.
  • Stay true to your commitments, but understand that sometimes commitments can be delayed or postponed.

Enjoy your culinary appetites
  • Eat nutrient-rich foods that are familiar, easy to find, and represent the five basic food groups (provide the most nutrients per calorie): grain, fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and protein, fats, oils and sweets.
  • Eat plenty of fatty fish (salmon, trout, or other oily fish).
  • Replace butter with a healthy spread such as Promise, Smart Balance, or other that contains healthy fats and plant sterols.
  • Avoid high fat dairy and meats (stick with lean meats, such as loin, skinless chicken breasts).
  • Read nutrition labels.

Stay current with Health Checks
  • Keep your blood cholesterol at or under 300 milligrams per day.
  • Reduce high blood pressure (anything over 140/80 mmHg is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease.
  •  Keep diabetes under control.
  • Take doctor-prescribed medication to treat angina (chest pain), if needed.
  • Get regular checkups for health conditions that may affect the heart, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
  • Remember to keep your pulse on your emotional health
  • Have a support group of friends and family to share your life’s moments.
  • Embrace hobbies that add fun to your life! Read, garden, walk, bike, jog, etc.
  • Keep a positive attitude – smile, pray, love, and laugh!

So, let me feel your heartbeat! This is your life. Feel better, be happy, and live a wonderful life!



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.