- Caregiver Support
- Home Care Services
- Information & Referral
- Legal Services
- Money Management
- Nutrition Services
- Protective Services
- SHINE Program
Contact the HESSCO Ombudsman Program at (781) 784-4944 to speak to the Ombudsman Program Director about your concerns.
We can help! Call us at (781) 784-4944 and one of our Information and Referral Specialists will point you in the right direction or you can call 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636) for Massachusetts resources anytime.
The identity of the reporter, the person who alerts Protective Services to a possible abusive situation, is not disclosed to anyone during the course of the investigation or casework. However, if serious physical abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation is uncovered, the situation will be reported to the District Attorney for criminal investigation. When a case is referred to the District Attorney for investigation, the name of the reporter is disclosed.
The Elder Protective System in Massachusetts is based on the Theory of Adult Protection. This theory states that any person over the age of 60 who has the ability to make decisions for themselves maintains the right to refuse any and all aspects of protective services offered to them. This, however, should not deter people from calling Protective Services if there is reasonable cause to believe that abuse may be occurring.
No one is informed of Protective Services’ involvement, unless a client consents to contact with that specific individual. Protective Services caseworkers do work in accordance with ethical guidelines for social workers. Therefore, some exceptions to this rule exist. The current limits to confidentiality are:
- If we uncover possible abuse of another elder, child or disabled person, we are required to file reports with the appropriate state agency.
- If we believe that a client is at serious risk and does not understand those risks, we may petition the court for permission to provide services.
- If serious abuse is uncovered, we are mandated to report such findings to the District Attorney.
- If a client, or another individual, makes threats to harm themselves or others, we must notify potential victims and the local police department.
HESSCO, like other Elder Protective Service agencies in the state, is governed by Massachusetts General Law 19A and is overseen by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.
After conducting a thorough investigation, a service plan is developed with a client. Services that can be offered include, but are not limited to: legal assistance, counseling, protective orders, safety planning, restraining orders, home care services, transportation services, temporary shelter, and money management.
In general, the Senior Citizens Legal Project of MetroWest Legal Services does not prepare wills. The exception is in the case of low-income elders; those cases are referred to the pro bono panel.
MetroWest Legal Services has staff members who speak Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. They also have a contract with a translation agency so that they can help people in just about any other language.
No, SHINE Counselors assist family members and individuals who are trying to understand all aspects of health insurance coverage.
How does a volunteer SHINE Counselor learn all the information needed to assist with such a complex topic as Medicare?
Volunteers complete an intensive 12-day training program that uses a variety of teaching methods, including classroom instruction, group problem-solving exercises, and case studies. They receive a comprehensive manual which becomes an ongoing resource.
Upon completion of the formal training, volunteers spend time with a mentor so they can become familiar with the types of questions and issues most commonly raised by beneficiaries. During this mentoring period, volunteers begin to provide services with the backup of a knowledgeable and experienced counselor at their side.
Volunteers have the opportunity to gain confidence in their knowledge of the material before they are asked to provide the services on their own. In addition, the regional director provides ongoing support and conducts monthly training meetings to keep counselors abreast of changes in Medicare and other insurances.
Volunteers are required to complete the initial training, a total of 12 days. The training usually runs from 10 am to 3 pm, two days per week. Training is conducted in the spring and fall each year. Following the formal training, counselors are asked to give 3-4 hours per week at a senior center, Council on Aging, or at the regional office. In addition, counselors are required to attend a two-hour monthly meeting.
People 60 years of age and older with income limits of $44,950 (single) or $51,350 (couple), who do not posses liquid assets in excess of $44,950, who live in any of the twelve towns served by HESSCO Elder Services.
If any of the following statements seem familiar, you might benefit from the Money Management Program:
- Bills are piling up but you’re not sure how or when to pay them.
- You’re having trouble telling the difference between legitimate bills and junk mail.
- You find it difficult to turn down solicitors who call you on the phone or come to your door asking for donations.
- You’re ashamed to admit – or you suspect – that family, friends, or acquaintances are cheating you out of your money.
- You forget to write numbers in your checkbook, add or change
numbers that don’t belong in your checkbook, or forget to sign checks.
- You forget to respond to notices from creditors.
The Family Caregiver Support Program is available for many types of informal (unpaid) “caregivers,” including:
- A caregiver for an older adult (over 60 years of age)
- A grandparent or other relative (over 55 years of age) caring for a child or children under the age of 18
- A parent, grandparent, or other relative (over age 60) caring for one or more individuals with mental retardation or developmental disabilities
- A caregiver for a person with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia (no age requirement)
Available services include:
- • Information about available community services
- • Assistance in gaining access to those services
- • Caregiver assessment and home visit by Caregiver Specialist
- • Assessment report with a Plan of Caregiving based on the caregiver’s strengths and weaknesses
- • Establishment of an Emergency Plan and long range goal planning
- • Individual supportive counseling
- • Follow-up contact as needed
Is there money available for respite services so that a caregiver can have time away from caregiver responsibilities?
Caregivers can sometimes access a small one-time grant for this purpose through the Caregiver Program. The Caregiver Specialist will also explore with the caregiver other possible funding sources for respite care.
There is no charge for social meals or home-delivered meals, but we request a donation of $3.00 per meal to help defray the cost of the program. A monthly donation statement will be mailed to your home at the end of each month listing the number of meals you received each month and the suggested voluntary donation. Donations are strictly voluntary and confidential. Each congregate and home-delivered meal is now over $7.00 per meal to prepare, serve and deliver.
Home delivered hot lunch meals are available 5 days a week to people 60 years of age or older with limited mobility, and their spouses, who are unable to prepare meals for any of the following reasons:
• They lack the physical, emotional, or cognitive ability to attend a meal site or prepare a nutritious meal
• They have no facility to prepare meals
• They have no formal or informal support system to provide a meal.
Cold supper packs are also available for people who meet the criteria above. These meals are delivered with the hot noon meals only, 5 days a week. Meals are also available for weekends and holidays. Kosher, pureed, ground meals and Renal meals are also available to those who meet certain criteria. For a list of these options and their availability, call (781) 784-4944.
Call HESSCO at (781) 784-4944. A care manager will visit you to determine your eligibility for the meals. This process is free and the care manager will answer all of your questions.
Anyone 60 years of age and over and their spouses are eligible to attend any of the sites for noontime meals. Reservations are required two days in advance by calling the HESSCO office at (781) 784-4944.
The best way to find out is to call us. We will listen to your concerns, talk with you about your options, and connect you with services. We look forward to hearing from you!
Call us! We’ll help. When you call HESSCO at (781) 784-4944, you’ll talk with a staff person who will discuss your specific situation with you and will connect you with home care services that meet your needs.
Yes, you may be eligible for many services, and we’re happy to explain them to you. Your family members may be interested in learning about our Family Caregiver Program.
We have applications for different programs that provide telephone equipment adapted for the needs of people with disabilities. We can help you choose the program that’s right for you and fill out the application forms.
Our Information and Referral Department keeps an updated list of hairdressers who do home visits.
An Information and Referral specialist will research the availability of these and other specialists in your area. While we can’t provide recommendations, we can give you the information that will help you make an educated decision.
The elder I care for needs a wheelchair (or hearing aid, handicapped accessible van, etc.). How do I pay for this?
We can help you apply for a loan through the Easter Seals loan program for medical equipment. We also have information on companies and organizations that provide medical equipment.
We can help you apply for fuel assistance through Self Help Inc. and the South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC). We also have information on other fuel assistance programs.
We have a list, but we don’t make recommendations. We can send you a booklet listing the assisted living communities in your area, and you can call or visit them and make your choice accordingly.
These requirements vary depending on the service. Some are free to everyone, and others have income guidelines. Those with income guidelines can range from a voluntary co-payment to payments on a sliding-fee scale, to a percentage of your monthly income. We explain all your options when you call, and we can help you assess your eligibility for reduced-fee programs.
HESSCO offers a broad range of services, and we have connections to a great many more service providers in the extended community. To help make the decisions less confusing, we talk with you to evaluate what type of services are needed, and then connect you with the programs that can help, either within HESSCO or at another agency.