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HESSCO provides support for elders and those who care for them. Services include but are not limited to: home care services, caregiver support, nutrition and nutrition counseling, information and referral, money management and more.

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HESSCO Highlights and Happenings Winter 2015

By |December 9th, 2015|

Winter Newsletter 2015

MA Meals on Wheels Association Recipient of Grant

By |December 7th, 2015|

The MA Meals on Wheels Association is the recipient of this year’s NANASP/ Pfizer Vaccine Awareness Campaign grant.  The grant award is $3,500.  This money will be used to help offset costs associated with production and dissemination of materials used to raise awareness and motivate older adults to get vaccines including flu, pneumococcal, shingles, and tetanus boosters.

About NANASP (National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Program):  NANASP is a leading organization advocating for community-based senior nutrition programs and their staff. With members from across the United States, they are able to impact local, state and national public policy to maintain and improve the health and well-being of all older persons.

About the Massachusetts Meals on Wheels Association: MAMOW is an advocacy organization made up of twenty-six Nutrition Program Directors who are part of the Aging Services Access Point network in MA. The group shares best practices, keeps an eye on current political issues affecting nutrition, and develops plans to support legislative action.

10 TIPS FOR CAREGIVERS DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON

By |December 1st, 2015|

free-wallpaper-2 holiday starHolidays bring added commitments, obligations, increased demand on finances, increased visits with family/friends, and other additional stressors which can cause caregivers to experience feelings of being overwhelmed and burnt out.  Here are 10 tips to help you not only survive, but thrive this holiday season, as a means to minimize the added stress of the holiday season.

 Plan – Individuals who experience the most difficulty with the holiday season are those who have given little though to the challenges they will encounter.  Consider yours and others expectations of you, both socially and emotionally.  Discuss holiday celebration plans with relatives and loved ones in advance.  Plan to maintain a regular routine as much as possible while trying to provide an enjoyable, meaningful, and calm holiday event.  If possible, explore celebrating the holidays earlier in the day, rather than a late dinner, as this allows for “down time” at the end of an evening.  Planning can avoid holiday stressors.  Allow yourself extra time to be ahead of schedule in terms of gift shopping, meal prepping, and event planning.  Start early.

  1. Prioritize/Self-Care – As a caregiver, you should keep in mind that the holidays are an opportunity to spend time with your loved ones.  Concentrate on enjoying your time with your loved ones.  Prioritizing involves setting limits by communicating with your family and friends that you intend to reduce your stress this holiday season by opting to say “no” to certain things.  It could be as simple as not taking the time to send out family holiday cards or to skip cooking for the family one night a week and go out to dinner instead.  As a caregiver, maintaining a positive mental attitude will go a long way in terms of self-care.  Lean on family, friends, and professional supports as a means to reduce stress by asking for help when you need it.  Arrange for respite care for your loved one when you are feeling burnt out as a caregiver.  It is also important to build a “toolbox” that pertains to managing your own self-care and coping skills.  Coping skills can be anything from deep breathing exercises, stopping to smell a scent that makes you smile, listening to music, spending time with others outside of your caregiving role, or even just taking a walk.  Seek counseling if you feel you require additional therapeutic interventions as well.
  2. Simplify – Holidays can cause feelings of being overwhelmed with the demands of family traditions.  A caregiver should simplify things by setting limits for the care recipient.  Preparing the care recipient for the family gathering allows both of you to enjoy the holiday traditions together.  Talk with the care recipient about and show photos of family members and friends who will be visiting in order to reduce their feelings of anxiety, stress, and being overwhelmed.  Having a “quiet” room for the care recipient is helpful in the event that the celebration gets to be overwhelming for the care recipient.  Playing familiar music and serving favorite family traditional foods will help ease the stress on the care recipient.  Scheduling naps for yourself and the care recipient can be beneficial for rejuvenation.
  3. Prepare – Prepare family and friends by communicating with them about your role of a caregiver and what that entails, as well as what is to be expected in terms of the care recipient’s needs.  Lean on others for additional support.  Involve everyone when selecting activities including the care recipient.   Communicate with success by being calm and supportive to each other.
  4. Adapt Gift-Giving – Encourage family and friends who want to give gifts to purchase something useful for both the caregiver and the care recipient.  Ideas such as comfortable easy to remove clothing, favorite music cd, magazines, photo albums, or videos of family members.  Warn people about unsafe gifts such as power tools, pets, challenging board games, etc.  Allow the care recipient to participate in gift-giving.  For example, someone who enjoyed cooking may utilize this strength by baking cookies and packaging them for others.  Remember not to neglect your own needs during the gift giving process.  If asked what you would like for a gift, remember to go back to simplifying things.  You might consider a gift card to a carry-out restaurant to alleviate having to cook one night.
  5. Connect – Remember to stay connected to supports whether they are formal professional supports who can provide respite care for your loved one, or whether it be a family or a friend who may be able to do some shopping for you, get creative and utilize your support system to your advantage.
  1. Give Yourself Permission to Say No – You are not obligated to attend every social holiday gathering nor host events in your home during the holiday season. Remember that each time you agree to host or attend a holiday party; you have to put something else on the back burner.  For example, relaxation time for yourself, time to prepare for the upcoming holiday, and time to spend with loved ones.  Committing to too much will increase stress levels and get you off track.
  2. Manageable – Remind yourself to keep your holiday parties manageable. For instance, keep the number of guests to a manageable amount of people.  Often times, noise and hectic activity can be difficult for a care recipient who may be frail or confused.   Schedule a time for other family/friends to visit before or after your traditional holiday celebrations.  A suggestion of a pot luck dinner could be helpful for the caregiver, so that you do not have to cook and prepare a whole meal by yourself.  Use paper plates and plastic utensils so that you do not have a lot of dishes to do.  This makes your time more manageable and again coincides with keeping things simple.
  3. Realistic – Try not to be a perfectionist, as there is no such thing as perfection. Forego having to be sure that all of your Christmas decorations are put up in the exact spot or that you are trying to portray the perfect family in Christmas cards.  No one is perfect, no family is perfect.  Be realistic about your situation and take notice that you do not have to present your home or family as being perfect to anyone.  Love and accept yourself and others for who they are.  Simplify your expectations in order to avoid feelings of not measuring up to standards you have previously set for yourself.
  4. Accept – Admitting that your loved one is in need of continued care is often difficult. As a caregiver, you should make adjustments for your loved ones needs.  For example, a care recipient may have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, who used to be able to complete simple tasks independently such as placing a drinking glass on a TV tray.  The confused care recipient then attempt to balance the TV tray on his/her lap and spills the tray of food and drink on the floor.  Accepting the fact that your loved one would never do such a balancing act if they were not confused is par for the course.  Pretending that your loved ones condition has not changed is not doing anyone any favors.  Accept your loved ones impairments and help support them with their needs.  Acceptance will allow the caregiver to also face reality from a social-emotional perspective.

 

 

References:

(Alzheimers Association, 2015)

Free HESSCO Program for Caregivers on November 4, 2015

By |October 15th, 2015|

Caring for a spouse, partner, parent or family member?

chair massage 2

Caregivers join us at the HESSCO office in Sharon on November 4 for an afternoon of pampering hand treatments and gentle chair massage along with information about stress relief.  Reservations required for this Free service. 

Please call (781) 784-4944 to reserve your slot today!  4 identical sessions at 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 and 5:00.

Celebrating 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

By |July 7th, 2015|

Disabilitygov_ADA25Icon1-150x150“Celebrating 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” by the Disability.gov Team: Celebrating 25 Years of the Americans with Disability Act

Eldercare Q&A August 2015 – How Long is Long Term Care?

By |July 1st, 2015|

Q&A August 2015 How Long Is Long Term Care v

Eldercare Q&A July 2015 – Is Massachusetts a Healthy State for Seniors?

By |June 22nd, 2015|

Q&A July 2015 Ranking of Healthiest States

Eldercare Q&A May, 2015 The Skinny on Eating Fats

By |March 30th, 2015|

Q: Is it OK for me to eat some fat, what kind, and how much?

A: Yes, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says it’s fine to eat some fats. But it’s recommended that you try to reduce your intake of solid fats, and instead use liquid oils, such as olive oil and canola oil, where possible.

Although fats generally have a bad reputation, your body actually needs some fats—for energy, for healthy organs, skin, and hair. Fats also help your body absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fats also provide you with essential fatty acids, which your body can’t make on its own.

But certain fats can create problems. Fat contains more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates. Eating too many high-fat foods will add excess calories—which leads to weight gain—and excess weight increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.

Not all fats are created equal. Some fats are healthier than others. Whenever possible, use products with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. “Better fats” include vegetable oils that are plant-based, such as soybean, corn, canola, olive, safflower, and sunflower oils. Oils are just fats that are liquid at room temperature, like the vegetable oils used in cooking.

You can also find polyunsaturated fat in nuts, seeds, and fish. Walnuts, flaxseed and salmon are examples of foods with polyunsaturated fat. The target is to limit total fats to no more than 35% of your daily calories. For instance, if you eat and drink 2,000 calories daily, no more than 700 of your calories should be from fats.

As for “bad fats,” you should limit the amount of saturated fats and trans fats you consume. Both of these fats can put you at greater risk for heart disease. You can read the “Nutrition Facts” label on most packaged food to see the amount and types of fat contained in a single serving.

The Nutrition Label also will list the number of calories from fat in a serving of packaged foods. For example, a quarter cup serving of whole almonds contains 15 grams of fat, including 1 gram of saturated fat. On the Nutrition Label is a “% of Daily Value” column, which is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. This diet recommends a daily intake of less than 65 grams of fat, of which less than 20 grams should be from saturated fat. The label says one-quarter cup of almonds has 1 gram of saturated fat, which is 5% of the 20 grams of saturated fat recommended daily. One tablespoon of olive oil has 2 grams of saturated fat, twice the saturated fat found in one tablespoon of canola oil. One cup of whole milk has 5 grams of saturated fat.

The Food & Drug Administration is currently updating the Nutrition Facts label. The “calories from fat” listing will no longer be found on the label.  “We know that the type of fat is more important than the total amount of fat,” an FDA spokesman said. “Total, saturated and trans fat will still be required.” For people with cardiovascular issues, foods lower in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol and sodium are best.

Saturated fats are found in red meat, milk products including butter, and palm and coconut oils. Common sources of saturated fat in meals include regular cheese, pizza, grain-based desserts like cookies, cakes, and donuts, and dairy desserts, such as ice cream. Guidelines suggest consuming less than 10% of calories from saturated fats.

It’s best to eat a mix of nutrient-dense foods every day. Nutrient-dense foods are foods that have a lot of nutrients but relatively few calories. Choose foods that contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. At the same time, try to avoid “empty calories” — foods and drinks that are high in calories but provide few or no nutrients.

Whatever your age, you can start making positive lifestyle changes today. Eating well can help you stay healthy and independent — and look and feel good — in the years to come.

For more tips about healthy eating as you get older, go to the NIH SeniorHealth website: http://nihseniorhealth.gov/eatingwellasyougetolder/faq/faqlist.html#a30

 

 

Tomorrow is Race Day!

By |March 13th, 2015|

Mick Morgan's Race Flag

Tomorrow is the day! Thank you for the tremendous community support we have received to make this year’s 4th Annual Mick Morgan’s 5K to benefit HESSCO a success! We expect close to 600 runners despite whatever the weather has in store for tomorrow.  Come out and cheer for your friends and thank you for supporting the race and HESSCO services for seniors, individuals living with disabilities and their caregivers!

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Workshop

By |March 6th, 2015|

GRANDPARENTS RAISING GRANDCHILDREN

Information, Resources, Help…

Are you (or someone you know) a grandparent raising grandchildren?

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2015 ~ 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Lunch included, courtesy of Roche Bros.

 

Panel Discussion including representatives from Metro West

Legal Services, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren of MA, and the Department of Transitional Assistance

 

Question and answer session following presentation

 

Place:   Sharon Adult Center, Sharon Community Center

219 Massapoag Avenue, Sharon

781-784-8000 or email us at:

sharoncoa@townofsharon.org

 

                                                                          

This program is free; RSVP required* by March 11.

Call the Adult Center ~ 781-784-8000.

If you need a ride let us know when you RSVP.

*Calls will be accepted after the deadline for seating only