Former Governor Michael Dukakis, considered by advocates as perhaps the best “human services” Governor in state history, will help Mass Home Care celebrate 40 YEARS OF HOME CARE at the group’s Annual Meeting on June 18th at 11:30 am at the Burlington Marriott.
Dukakis will be introduced by the man who served as his Secretary of Elder Affairs, Paul Lanzikos, who is now Executive Director of North Shore Elder Services, one of the 27 Aging Services Access Point (ASAP) members of Mass Home Care. A dozen other home care activists and lawmakers will speak at the event.
The meeting will be the last event as Mass Home Care President for Linda George, Executive Director of Boston Senior Home Care, who is stepping down after a two-year term leading the organization. The group will also honor retiring State Representative Alice Wolf of Cambridge, the House Chair of the Elder Affairs committee, with a Home Care Hero award.
“They say things get easier with age,” noted Mass Home Care Executive Director Al Norman, who has served in that position since 1986. “But the struggle to keep elders at home always faces new challenges–even after 4 decades.”
Norman said despite all the focus in Massachusetts on health care reform, very little attention and money is focused on keeping older people at home.
“Long term support focuses on assisting people with chronic conditions with their daily functioning,” Norman said. “We’ve gotten much better at getting people out of nursing facilities, but not as good at getting money out of the budget.” Norman said Mass Home Care member agencies have helped drive down Medicaid nursing facility days by 30% over the past decade, saving Massachusetts taxpayers $600 million a year.
Created during the Frank Sargent Administration, our home care system is one of the largest in the nation. Here are some facts about home care in Massachusetts this year:
* $335 million in state and federal funding managed by Mass Home Care member agencies
* 82,600 individuals receive ASAP care management and coordination
* 10,444 elders eligible for institutions receive care at home
* 8.6 million meals served to 74,000 elders
* 150,000 information calls handled by regional ASAP agencies
* 18,282 reports of elder abuse investigated
* 55,000 nursing facility screenings conducted
* 2,000 elders receive Money Management assistance
* The typical home care client is an 81 years old woman, living alone
* 45% of home care clients live at or below the poverty line
In addition to the basic home care personal assistance services, such as help with eating, bathing, dressing, and toileting, the home care network manages a variety of other long term supports to keep elders and individuals with disabilities living in the community: Group Adult Foster Care, Adult Foster Care, Personal Care Attendant Program, Senior Care Options, Chronic Disease Self Management Programs, Money Management Programs, Guardianship Programs, HUD 202 and other Housing Programs, Geriatric Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Programs, and Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders (SHINE).
The Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) are all non-profit, and 51% of their board of directors are local individuals over the age of 60. In addition, Mass Home Care also represents Massachusetts’ 21 federally-designated Area Agencies on Aging, which manage more than $21 million annually in federal funding for nutrition, family caregivers, supportive services and nursing home ombudsman programs. Old Colony Elder Services, located in Brockton and founded in 1974, is the designated regional ASAP for 23 communities in greater Plymouth county.
Sponsors for the Mass Home Care event include: AARP Massachusetts, Advantage Home Medical, Affinity Home Health, Associated Home Care, Atrius Health, Bayada Home Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Boston Senior Home Care, Caregiver Homes, Commonwealth Care Alliance, Core Health, Fallon Community Health Plan/Summit Eldercare & Navicare, Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center, Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts, Home Health Resources, Highland Valley Elder Services, LaSalle Health, Linda Cragin, Mass Association of Older Americans, MA Council for Home Care Aide Services, Midtown Home Health Services, Old Colony Elder Services, Tufts Health Plan, and United Health Care.
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.