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Caregiving Chronicles

Information and resources that support your role in caring for a loved one.

Caregiving Chronicles


Caregiving Chronicles will present news and analysis on caregiving topics in MetroWest and around the world, in-depth Q&As with experts in fields related to caregiving and updates and announcements about caregiving resources available in MetroWest from Program Director Douglas Flynn.

By DebraMcDonagh / May 19, 2021

Are you the caregiver to someone who has a form of dementia? 

Have you just been diagnosed with a form of dementia?

The Alzheimer's Association offers many webinars to help Caregivers and those with a form of dementia, learn more about the disease, and how to improve coping skills. Below are some upcoming webinars:

Understanding and Responding to Dementia-Related Behavior

Thursday, May 20, 2021
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM EDT

Behavior is a powerful form of communication and is one of the primary ways for people with dementia to communicate their needs and feelings as the ability to use language is lost. However, some behaviors can present real challenges for caregivers to manage. Join us to learn to decode behavioral messages, identify common behavior triggers, and learn strategies to help intervene with some of the most common behavioral challenges of Alzheimer’s disease.

This is virtual program sponsored by Baystate Health. 
You will receive the access information in your email confirmation.

Click here to register

10 Warning Signs: Early Detection Matters

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EDT

Alzheimer's and other dementias cause memory, thinking and behavior problems that interfere with daily living. Join us to learn how to recognize common signs of the disease; how to approach someone about memory concerns; the importance of early detection and benefits of a diagnosis; possible tests and assessments for the diagnostic process, and Alzheimer's Association resources.

This is virtual program. You will receive the access information in your email confirmation.

Click here to register

Effective Communication Strategies

Thursday, May 27, 2021
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT

Communication is more than just talking and listening – it’s also about sending and receiving messages through attitude, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language. 

As people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias progress in their journey and the ability to use words is lost, families need new ways to connect. Join us to explore how communication takes place when someone has Alzheimer’s, learn to decode the verbal and behavioral messages delivered by someone with dementia, and identify strategies to help you connect and communicate at each stage of the disease.

The Effective Communication Strategies program of the Alzheimer’s Association was designed to provide practical information and resources to help dementia caregivers learn to decode verbal and behavioral messages from people with dementia.

This is a live, virtual program. You will receive the access instructions in your email confirmation.

Click here to register

Living With Alzheimer's: for People with Alzheimer's

Wednesday's: June 2, 2021 - June 16, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EDT

The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is life-changing and leads to many questions. What will this mean for me and my family? How do I plan for the future? Where can I get the help I need? In this three-part program, you will hear from others who have been where you are. You’ll learn what you need to know, what you need to plan, and what you can do as you navigate this chapter of your life.

This program is being offered virtually via webinar. You will receive access info via email upon registration.

Click here to register

By DebraMcDonagh / May 6, 2021

AARP shares a breakdown of the most common side effects in older adults from all three vaccines

While no one wants to have side effects, the consensus is that COVID vaccine side effects only last a short amount of time and are minor compared to actual coronavirus symptoms.

Interestingly, a key finding from the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial data and from monitoring the first few months of vaccine rollout, is that older adults seem to have fewer side effects from a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to younger populations.

Below, are the most common vaccine side effects to expect if you are over 55.



By DebraMcDonagh / April 23, 2021

Outpatient Rehab now at Mary Ann Morse HealthCare Center

Natick, MA – Mary Ann Morse Healthcare Center, a non-profit provider of quality short-term rehabilitation, long-term skilled nursing care, and memory care in Metro West for over 25 years, has announced the opening of its new Outpatient Rehabilitation center at 45 Union Street in Natick. 

The new Outpatient Rehab offers a broad range of state of the art, high quality rehabilitation services to help senior patients achieve the highest levels of health, strength, functioning and independence possible after surgery, joint replacement, neurological disorder, illness, or injury.  Customized physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and treatments are all available on-site for patients on the road to recovery.

“Mary Ann Morse is extremely pleased to add Outpatient Rehabilitation to its growing continuum of exceptional senior living and healthcare services in Metro West,” said Lisa Kubiak, President & CEO of non-profit Mary Ann Morse Healthcare Corp.  “Our inpatient short-term rehab program has been very successful for years and we are well-known for our cutting-edge rehabilitation suite and programs. We’re very excited to be offering these services on an Outpatient basis, so that the community at large can benefit.”

Mary Ann Morse Healthcare Center has a 5-Star Overall rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and is accredited by The Joint Commission.  Visit for more information on the new Outpatient Rehab and the entire continuum of senior living, healthcare, and home care services provided by Mary Ann Morse Healthcare Corp.  You can also give them a call: 508-433-4438.


By DebraMcDonagh / April 9, 2021

For Westborough Residents

Westborough Youth and Family Services, in collaboration with community nonprofit Westborough Connects, is seeking unpaid caregivers to participate in free small group trainings aimed to foster resilience while facing the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trainings focus on the signs and symptoms of mental health distress (beyond typical day-to-day stress) and equip participants with basic tools to recognize and manage distress, support others who are in distress and access help.

Two Sessions available in MAY

May 4, 2021 at 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. 

This session is geared toward parents caring for minor or adult children with special or intensive needs or chronic />

May 7, 2021 at 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. 

This session is geared toward adults caring for parents, partners, spouses, or other relatives.

Please contact Cara Presley at Westborough Youth and Family Services if you have questions or want to learn more about Reach Out Westborough. Download flyer here.

To reach Cara, call 508-366-3090 or email

By DebraMcDonagh / April 8, 2021


April is National Minority Health Month (NMHM), a time to raise awareness about health disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minority populations and encourage action through health education, early detection, and control of disease complications. History of NMHM.

The 2021 NMHM theme is #VaccineReady. As recognized by the HHS Office of Minority Health, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted racial and ethnic minority communities and underscores the need for these vulnerable communities to get vaccinated as more vaccines become available. 

COVID-19 vaccination is an important tool to help us get back together with our families, communities, schools, and workplaces by preventing the spread of COVID-19 and bringing an end to the pandemic. 

Everyone should have an opportunity to be as healthy as possible by having equal access to health resources regardless of race, gender, location or economic status. 


When you get vaccinated, you’re protecting yourself, your family & your community. A way to encourage others to get the vaccine is by learning and sharing the facts about it from a trusted medical resource such as the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.  

[Source] National Minority Health Month ( 

By DebraMcDonagh / April 7, 2021

The month of April is designated as National Alcohol Awareness Month. 

Alcoholism, like many addictions, still faces stigma and shame for the individual who is suffering. Denial is a common among those struggling and often, the problem drinker overestimates their ability to control their drinking.











Please know that for as many people who do not understand, there are just as many who do. The biggest thing to remember if you are questioning the amount of alcohol you consume, is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There is no shame in seeking help. Below are a few options.

BayPath's Information and Referral (I&R) Department 

The I&R Department is a member of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, Inc. (AIRS), a professional organization committed to improving access to services for all people by providing free information and referrals. 

BayPath's I&R department is a reliable source for connecting people with resources and services within your community. BayPath's coverage area includes Ashland, Dover, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Natick, Northborough, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Wayland, and Westborough.
To contact our Information and Referral Department:
Email: i&
Phone: 508-573-7200

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

SAMHSA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the nation's behavioral health. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. SAMHSA can confidentially connect you to treatment facilities and programs for mental and substance use disorders.
SAMHSA's National Helpline
800-662-HELP (4357)


Advocates champions people who face developmental, mental health, or other life challenges, by partnering with individuals and families to shape creative solutions to even the greatest obstacles.

Addiction Counseling: Advocates Community Counseling provides individual and group therapy to those struggling with addiction at their Framingham, Marlborough, and Harvard locations. Advocates compassionate and skilled counselors support individuals on their journey to recovery. They accept MassHealth and most private insurance plans. Visit our Counseling & Psychiatry page to learn more.

Residential Programs: Advocates is a regional leader in residential services for adults dealing with both mental health and addiction issues, helping men and women on their path to recovery through Advocates group homes in MetroWest and Central Massachusetts. Learn more about Advocates' Residential Services.

24-Hour Crisis Support  (800) 640-5432

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

The following , is a very basic description of what the AA program offers, it's benefits, and how it works.

There are many who have been living a sober life who are willing to share their stories with you. As a newcomer, you just need a desire to stop drinking and to listen. There is no pressure to talk about yourself. There is no fee. It really is anonymous. And there's coffee & donuts!

Experience, Strength and Hope
The sober individuals in attendance share their experience (what led them to drink to excess and how it was for them), their strength (what made them decide "enough is enough."), and their hope (how they came to want to live a sober life more than they wanted a drink.)

While no two stories are the same, admitted alcoholics share a common understanding and therefore feel relief when speaking with someone else who has struggled. There are many types of groups. If you are a newcomer, you might want to try "Beginners" meetings or "Open" meetings – meaning you do not have to say "Hi, I am [name] and I am an alcoholic."

With COVID restrictions, many groups are virtual, they are offered at all hours of the day, seven days a week. Below is a small sample. Click here for the complete list. 

Open AA Veterans
Wednesday 6:00 pm
Open AA meeting started by veterans and open to all
Via Zoom:
Meeting Access Code: 92775860112

Happy Hour Meeting
Wednesday 5:30 pm
This is an open speaker / discussion meeting. Newcomers, and returnees are welcome 
Via Zoom:
Meeting Access Code: e-mail for the password

Back to Basics
Tuesday Wednesday and Thursdays 5:30 pm
We are a fun group of folks who like to keep it simple and talk about the basics of getting and staying sober.
Via Zoom:
Zoom Passcode: 731508

By DebraMcDonagh / March 29, 2021

Is someone you love on Medicare? 

Are you in a position to have to take over the responsibility of managing your care recipients Medicare coverage?

If so, has a very user-friendly website. The following information is available on the home page with more information on each topic just a mouse click away. 

What Medicare covers

Is my test, item, or service covered?

Find out if your test, item or service is covered. Medicare coverage for many tests, items, and services depends on where you live. This list includes tests, items, and services (covered and non-covered) if coverage is the same no matter where you live.

Your Medicare coverage choices

Learn about the 2 main ways to get your Medicare coverage — Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C).

What Part A covers

Medicare Part A hospital insurance covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility, hospice, lab tests, surgery, home health care.

What Part B covers

Learn about what Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers, including doctor and other health care providers' services and outpatient care. Part B also covers durable medical equipment, home health care, and some preventive services.

What Medicare health plans cover

Medicare health plans include Medicare Advantage, Medical Savings Account (MSA), Medicare Cost plans, PACE, MTM

Preventive & screening services

Part B covers many preventive services.

What's not covered by Part A & Part B

Learn about what items and services aren't covered by Medicare Part A or Part B. You'll have to pay for the items and services yourself unless you have other insurance. If you have a Medicare health plan, your plan may cover them.


By DebraMcDonagh / March 19, 2021

Call for Proposals.

BayPath Elder Services announces the availability of Older Americans Act funds for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2022.  

  • Title III-B Supportive Services
  • Title III-D Healthy Living Evidence-Based Programs
  • Title III-E Support Services for Family Caregivers

Proposed Programs

All proposed programs must address those service categories mandated by the Older Americans Act that target minority and lower-income older adults (considered at age 60+). Program funding is for a one-year grant cycle, beginning October 1, 2021, and ending September 30, 2022. 

Letter of Interest

The Area Agency on Aging is currently ​requiring Letters of Interest (LOIs) for first time proposals or applicants. All potential grantees, wishing to apply for funds to support individuals 60+ within our service region, may submit an LOI. 
Due Date for LOI's is: 4/14/2021. 

LOI's should be less than 500 words and include:

  • A brief program description
  • Budget estimates
  • The estimated number of older adults or caregivers to be served
  • Estimated service units
  • The community (communities) that will be served.  

Key Dates

  • Deadline for a Letter of Interest is 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 14, 2021.
  • A technical assistance session is on May 12, 2021.
  • Deadline for completed grant applications: 5 p.m. Friday, June 11, 2021. 

Documents for download:

Click here to download the complete FFY22 Grant Availability Guidelines. 
Click here to download the guidelines for the Letter of Interest. 
Click here to download the Legal Notice. 


Questions regarding the Letter of Interest, Grant Procedure Manual, attendance at the technical assistance session, or for further information, contact:

Fran Bakstran 
508-573-7346 |


By DebraMcDonagh / March 16, 2021

National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month was initiated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and is celebrated in March to share important nutrition information with the public. This year’s theme is “Personalize Your Plate!” This means there is no "one size fits all” approach to nutrition. We all have different food preferences and different dietary needs, especially as we age. But it is still important to learn about basic nutrition so that we can pick the foods we enjoy but ensure that they also keep us healthy! 

Learn More>>

Q&A with BayPath’s Dietitian/Nutritionist Traci Robidoux, RD, LDN

Another function of National Nutrition Month is to promote the value that a Registered Nutritionist/Dietitian can provide to your health regimen. To honor this, we sat down with BayPath’s Dietitian/Nutritionist Traci Robidoux, RD, LDN to learn more about her role at BayPath.

Caregiving Chronicles (CGC): How long have you been a registered dietitian? 

Traci: I have been a registered dietitian for 19 years. Before BayPath, I served as a clinical dietitian in New York and Massachusetts hospitals, where I managed four dietitians and a nutrition supervisor for acute care patients. 

CGC: What is your main focus as a Nutritionist/Dietician at BayPath? 

Traci: My current role involves four main areas: menu planning for MOW [Meals on Wheels], kitchen inspections, nutrition education in the community, and processing the nutrition assessments of older adults.

CGC: What led you to focus on Elder Nutrition? 

Traci: After 10+ years of working in acute care, I was ready for a new challenge, and though I worked with patients of every age, it was working with the older adults that I enjoyed the most. 

CGC: What is the most rewarding part of helping older adults?

Traci: I would have to say the most rewarding part is that the folks I interact with are genuinely grateful for the help I have to offer them. It is gratifying to feel like I am making an impact on their lives. A bonus is that they have a treasure trove of stories to tell – I love listening to their perspective on life and being on the receiving end of the wealth of knowledge they share.

CGC: Are there any quick tips you can provide on how to eat healthier? 

Traci: It is important to remember that a healthful eating style can be as unique as you are!

By DebraMcDonagh / March 5, 2021

Question: Is it ok to get the COVID-19 vaccine if I take daily medication?

Answer: It is essential to speak directly with your primary care physician or specialist to get the facts regarding the coronavirus and its possible effects on you or your care recipient.

In a recent AARP article, medical experts discussed what effect, if any, will the COVID vaccines have on your daily medication. 

Common Prescription Medication
The consensus is that maintenance medications for such conditions as diabetes or high blood pressure have not shown evidence of being adversely impacted. The reason is, the COVID vaccines goes into your immune system, while maintenance medications do not. 

Those on an immunosuppressant may have a decrease in the drug's efficiency around the time of being vaccinated for the coronavirus, but not significant enough to avoid getting vaccinated. 

Blood Thinners
People on blood thinners should notify the vaccine administrator of that fact due to the risk of bleeding at the vaccination site. 

Read the full AARP article by clicking here.

Question: Is it ok to get my mammogram after I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The answer is: As a caregiver, your health is vital to the care you give, so it is not advisable to skip your mammogram appointment. But if you have concerns, contact the facility where your mammogram is scheduled to ask for guidance. 

According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, the vaccine that prevents COVID-19 can cause swollen lymph nodes under the arm in which the shot was given. 

Your lymph nodes are part of your body's germ-fighting immune system. The swelling in the lymph nodes is a sign that your body is responding to the vaccine and building up defenses against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Breast cancer also can cause swelling in the armpit if cancer cells spread to the lymph nodes.

Some doctors are concerned that having a mammogram soon after vaccination may cause unnecessary worry about swollen lymph nodes.

Read the full Mayo Clinic article by clicking here. 

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BayPath Elder Services, Inc

The BayPath Family Caregiver Support Program and has been made possible by funding from the Older Americans Act as granted by Executive Office of Elder Affairs. Participants may make a voluntary donation toward the cost of this federally funded service. Click here for more information. was originally made possible, in part, by generous grants from the MetroWest Health Foundation. Additional funding support was graciously donated by Avidia Bank from 2018 – 2021.

Thank you, MetroWest Health Foundation and Avidia Bank, for enabling BayPath Elder Services to provide support and resources to family caregivers.