60 Marched Against Elder Abuse in Brockton

OCES March Against Elder Abuse IMG_7122Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), the Brockton based regional agency serving older adults and individuals with disabilities, joined forces with the Brockton Council on Aging (COA) and HarborOne Bank to “March Against Elder Abuse”. On June 13th, 60 members from the community and the three organizations marched down Main Street in Brockton in an effort to raise awareness of elder abuse.

June 15th of each year has been designated as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.

After the march, participants gathered at the Brockton COA where guest speakers Janice Fitzgerald, Director of Brockton COA; Diana DiGiorgi, Executive Director of OCES; Teresa Kourtz, Director of Protective Services at OCES; Pat Foley, Protective Services Intake Worker at OCES; and Bill Carpenter, Mayor of Brockton, shared information on how to assist elders in need and answered questions.

Last year, OCES’ Protective Services Department assisted more than 800 abused or neglected elders. OCES helps elders who have been victims of neglect or harm from a caregiver. Types of abuse include physical, verbal, sexual and financial. When there is a report made to OCES, a Protective Services Worker investigates the report, provides support, and if needed, information about resources such as medical, legal, psychological, financial and housing assistance.

“World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an opportunity to share information and spread awareness about abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults. As individuals, and working together, we can make a difference,” noted Diana DiGiorgi.

If you know, or suspect, that an elder is being mistreated or neglected, call OCES’ Protective Services staff at 508 584-1561, or call the Massachusetts Elder Abuse Hotline at 800-922-2275.

About OCES

Founded in 1974, OCES serves 20 communities in Plymouth County as well as Avon, Easton and Stoughton. OCES is a private, non-profit organization located in Brockton and designated as one of 27 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OCES’ mission is to support the independence and dignity of elders and individuals with disabilities by providing essential information and services that promote healthy and safe living. The agency has 179 employees and operates more than 15 programs serving older adults, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers. For more information call (508) 584-1561 or visit www.oldcolonyelderservices.org.

Old Colony Elder Services Encourages Individuals & Businesses to Take The 2012 Giving Common Challenge October 10 & 11

Old Colony Elder Services (OCES) is pleased to announce that they are participating in the Giving Common Challenge, which will take place over 36 hours (beginning at 8:00 a.m. October 10th and extending to 8:00 p.m. October 11th). OCES will join more than 500 other nonprofits to raise money and compete for prizes ranging from $1,000 to $25,000. If OCES is one of the first 10 nonprofits to get 50 donors, they will win a $1,000 prize. If OCES raises more funds than other nonprofits, they have a chance to win a grand prize of $25,000.

Donors have an impact on the quality of services provided to elders and individuals with disabilities living in the local community who are most in need. With donations from our generous donors, OCES is able to provide needed services and assistance to thousands of elders and individuals with disabilities so they can remain living in their homes.

Organizations taking part in the Giving Common Challenge will raise funds and compete for a total of $150,000 in prizes during the 36-hour event.
Mark your calendars because OCES needs your help! OCES may be found under the “Human Services” category of Giving Common at www.givingcommon.org.
About Giving Common

The Giving Common, an initiative of the Boston Foundation, is an innovative web-based resource designed to provide comprehensive and current information about nonprofit organizations across Massachusetts, and to make informed, online charitable giving easy, quick and meaningful. To learn more about Giving Common and the Challenge, visit the website at www.givingcommon.org.

About OCES
Incorporated in 1974, Old Colony Elder Services is a private, non-profit corporation designated as one of 27 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OCES offers a number of programs to serve seniors, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers such as Family Caregiver Support; Adult Family Care; Supportive Housing; Nutrition; Money Management; Protective Services and Home Care.

OCES serves elders, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers in 23 communities in Southeastern Massachusetts: Abington, Avon, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Easton, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Kingston, Lakeville, Marshfield, Middleboro, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rockland, Stoughton, Wareham, West Bridgewater and Whitman.

The organization’s mission is to provide services that support the dignity and independence of elders by helping them maximize their quality of life; live safely and in good health; and, prevent unnecessary or premature institutionalization. For more information call (508) 584-1561 or visit the website at www.oldcolonyelderservices.org.

Old Colony Elder Services Offers Educational Class for Family Caregivers in October

Are you a caregiver to a spouse, parent, relative or friend? Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), the Brockton based regional agency serving elders, their families and caregivers throughout greater Brockton and Plymouth County, is offering “Powerful Tools For Caregivers”, a six-week educational program for family caregivers.

The educational program is designed to help family caregivers take care of themselves while caring for a relative or friend. The class meets on Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Easton Council on Aging, located at 15 Barrows Street. The classes are from October 3 to November 7, 2012. There is no fee to attend.

Attendees will learn how to: reduce stress; communicate more effectively; take care of themselves; reduce guilt, anger and depression; set goals, problem-solve and relax. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the Caregiver Helpbook.

Class size is limited and registration is required. Call Rochelle Sugarman, Family Caregiver Support Program Supervisor and Class Leader, to register (508) 584-1561 ext 312.

“Powerful Tools For Caregivers” is presented by OCES’ Family Caregiver Support Program and is sponsored by the Easton Council on Aging.

About OCES

Incorporated in 1974, Old Colony Elder Services is a private, non-profit corporation designated as one of 27 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OCES offers a number of programs to serve elders, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers such as Family Caregiver Support; Adult Family Care; Supportive Housing; Nutrition; Money Management; Protective Services and Home Care.

OCES serves elders, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers in 23 communities in Southeastern Massachusetts: Abington, Avon, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Easton, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Kingston, Lakeville, Marshfield, Middleboro, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rockland, Stoughton, Wareham, West Bridgewater and Whitman.

The organization’s mission is to provide services that support the dignity and independence of elders by helping them maximize their quality of life; live safely and in good health; and, prevent unnecessary or premature institutionalization. For more information call (508) 584-1561 or visit the website at www.oldcolonyelderservices.org.

Patrick Administration Proposes $2.1 Million Cut In Elderly Home Care Rates

A statewide elder advocacy group will testify this Friday that the Patrick Administration has proposed “unreasonable” rate cuts that will cut $2.1 million in support for home care for low-income seniors—at a time when more than 2,200 elders are on a wait list for care.

Al Norman, the Executive Director of Mass Home Care, will testify on Friday, September 7th before the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy in Boston, that its proposed rates are “unreasonable and inadequate.”

“We should be investing more money to keep elders at home,” Norman said, “not less.”

According to Mass Home Care, there are currently roughly 2,200 elders on home care waiting lists due to insufficient funding. This year, home care accounts are $15 million lower than in FY 2009. Old Colony Elder Services, the regional Aging Services Access Point covering Brockton and 22 surrounding communities, currently has 173 people on wait lists who cannot access needed services per Diana DiGiorgi, Executive Director.

The rate hearing Friday is part of the implementation of Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2008, which requires the Administration to pay human services agencies rates which are “reasonable and adequate to meet the costs which are incurred by efficiently and economically operated social service program providers.” Mass Home Care says the Administration’s proposal “undermines the purpose of upgrading rates for human services programs.”

“Chapter 257 was written by human services advocates,” Norman said. “The whole point of the law was to give programs the money needed to run an efficient program. These proposed rates are not based on any analysis of the true cost of providing care to the elderly.”

The cuts to home care are based on a DHCFP methodology that uses expenses from fiscal year 2010. But such expenditures are backed into based on an annual appropriation level—not on an actual build-up of what it costs to run a program.

According to Mass Home Care’s own calculations, the home care Case Management rates should be increased by 8.6 percent over current levels—not cut by 4.5 percent.

Norman said the Patrick Administration has presided over one of the largest cuts in home care appropriations in the history of the program.

“For a state that touts its ‘community first’ approach to senior care,” Norman concluded, “seniors have lost millions of dollars in state support—at a time the population in need is growing faster than the rest of the population. The Governor should commit to growing these community programs—not shrinking them.”

SEE ATTACHED TESTIMONY

About OCES
Incorporated in 1974, Old Colony Elder Services is a private, non-profit corporation designated as one of 27 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OCES offers a number of programs to serve seniors, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers such as Family Caregiver Support; Adult Family Care; Supportive Housing; Nutrition; Money Management; Protective Services and Home Care.

OCES serves elders, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers in 23 communities in Southeastern Massachusetts: Abington, Avon, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Easton, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Kingston, Lakeville, Marshfield, Middleboro, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rockland, Stoughton, Wareham, West Bridgewater and Whitman.

The organization’s mission is to provide services that support the dignity and independence of elders by helping them maximize their quality of life; live safely and in good health; and, prevent unnecessary or premature institutionalization. For more information call (508) 584-1561 or visit the website at www.oldcolonyelderservices.org.

Old Colony Elder Services Outlines the Signs of Dehydration and Shares Recommendations

Diana DiGiorgi, Executive Director

Should dehydration concern elders?

Yes, according to Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), the Brockton based regional elder services agency serving seniors, individuals with disabilities and caregivers throughout greater Brockton and Plymouth County.

“Dehydration is a major cause of elders being hospitalized. Many infections in elders have been linked to dehydration and, if not diagnosed early enough, the mortality rate can be as high as 50 percent. One of the factors that can cause loss of fluids is hot and humid summer weather,” states Diana DiGiorgi, Executive Director of OCES.

Seniors have about 10 percent less fluid content in their bodies than younger adults. When the body doesn’t have enough water and electrolytes to carry out normal functions, dehydration is a health risk. If the body becomes dehydrated, there is a decrease in total blood volume, which causes constriction of blood vessels, resulting in an increase in the heart rate. Without sufficient blood the heart is unable to pump efficiently, resulting in a decrease in the amount of blood to the brain, liver, and kidneys. Left untreated, dehydration will eventually result in failure of multiple organs and ultimately death.

Dehydration can also be caused by side effects from medications such as diuretics and laxatives. Other medical conditions like high blood sugar, heat exhaustion, and sometimes exercising, can cause dehydration. Some elders develop swallowing disorders which will greatly impact their intake of fluid. Some may even decrease their intake of fluid because of the fear of incontinence.

DiGiorgi explained, “The signs of dehydration can be very similar to dementia and Alzheimer’s symptoms, such as confusion, muscle weakness, constipation, sunken eyes, dizziness, pneumonia, low blood pressure and increased heart rate.”

A good way to monitor dehydration of an elder is to monitor his/her body weight on a daily basis. Dehydration is mild if the weight loss is reduced by 2 percent; it is severe if there is a 5 percent (or more) loss of body weight.

OCES shares these recommendations for detecting, avoiding and treating dehydration:

· If an older person shows minor signs of dehydration, provide water and encourage the person to drink it. Also encourage replenishment of electrolytes, found in fruit juices, sports drinks, milk, and many fruits and vegetables, like potatoes and avocados.

· In case of severe dehydration, the person should receive medical help. Some complications of dehydration are kidney failure, coma, shock, electrolyte abnormalities, and other heat related diseases.

· Older adults should drink 8 glasses of water per day. Juices and soda do not count—just plain drinking water. Seniors should also choose foods that have high water content such as fresh fruits, vegetables, watermelon, yogurt, or Jell-O. They should be encouraged to drink often during the day, even though they do not feel thirsty.

· If you believe an elder you know may be at risk for dehydration, give them small amounts of fluid often, write down how much the person drinks and eats, make sure their room is not too hot or cold, and make certain that he/she is wearing the right kind of clothes for the temperature in the room.

Dehydration is a preventable illness that can be very dangerous if not treated.

About OCES
Incorporated in 1974, Old Colony Elder Services is a private, non-profit corporation designated as one of 27 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OCES offers a number of programs to serve seniors, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers such as Family Caregiver Support; Adult Family Care; Supportive Housing; Nutrition; Money Management; Protective Services and Home Care.

OCES serves elders, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers in 23 communities in Southeastern Massachusetts: Abington, Avon, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Easton, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Kingston, Lakeville, Marshfield, Middleboro, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rockland, Stoughton, Wareham, West Bridgewater and Whitman.

The organization’s mission is to provide services that support the dignity and independence of elders by helping them maximize their quality of life; live safely and in good health; and, prevent unnecessary or premature institutionalization. For more information call (508) 584-1561 or visit the website at www.oldcolonyelderservices.org.