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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 CaregivingMetroWest.org Program Director Douglas Flynn.


A Q&A with a BayPath Money Management Volunteer
By DebraMcDonagh / November 14, 2019

Over 300 BayPath volunteers serve older citizens in 14 MetroWest communities. 

Since a large part of BayPath's success is due in part to the selfless work of our wonderful volunteers, we will be sharing insight into what it means to be a volunteer with BayPath and how such acts of support can have a huge impact on the lives of our consumers. 

The first Q & A in this series is with a Money Management Volunteer. 

The Money Management program operates with 87 volunteers, who provide approximately 180 hours of service each month. Individual volunteers support one to two consumers, spending between two and 12 hours each month. Money Management volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and careers, but an evident commonality is that the volunteers come to care about the consumers and go above and beyond to help them feel more in control of their finances.  

A Q&A with a Money Management Volunteer:

BayPath recently had the opportunity to speak with Bob Zimmerman, a retired physicist, and engineer, who has been a volunteer with the money management program for several years. 

BayPath: What initially attracted you to become a Money Management volunteer?
Bob:  After retiring, staying home all day just wasn’t enjoyable to me. I was reading AARP online and saw an article that promoted the benefits of retirees volunteering their time. I came across the BayPath Money Management Program, and the criteria for their volunteers seemed to be a good fit for me. They offered the training needed to support BayPath consumers with managing their daily and overall finances.  

BayPath: How many consumers do you work with at a time? 
Bob: I prefer to work with only one consumer at a time for two reasons. One is that it gives me a dedicated focus with that individual and enables me to understand their needs to be able to help them gain the tools and support they need to make the most of their available funds. Secondly, my wife and I love to travel, and this affords me the time to do both. 

BayPath: If you were to share one success story with us, which one stands out to you?
Bob:  The Program Coordinator for the Money Management program, Kris Briggs, matched me with a fellow in his early sixties who was currently living in a halfway house, recovering from addiction. The director of the halfway house had previously worked in finance and recognized this gentleman’s need for some money management advice, which is what facilitated the man turning to BayPath for help. When I met this gentleman, his debt to income ratio was off-balance, and he needed advice on how to be able to pay the debt down, move out of the halfway house and into an apartment, and set a livable budget for himself.

What struck me most about this individual was his genuine desire to make life changes, learn new ways to tackle life challenges proactively, and take control of his situation. I worked with him to negotiate down his credit card fees and set up payment plans that fit within a budget we established together, enabling him to move to a modest apartment. Flash forward many years, and he is now happily married, has paid off all of his credit card debt, and he and his wife have moved into a much nicer apartment.  

BayPath: How do you feel knowing you helped improve his circumstances?
Bob: To this day, I take little credit for how much this man’s life has improved over the years that I have worked with him. He was committed, and it was he who did the hard work. He continues to do what it takes to keep his life on track. That is what is generating his success; I merely showed him some tools to help him on his journey.
 
BayPath: Has your experience as a Money Management volunteer been what you hoped it would be?
Bob: BayPath spends the time to match consumers with volunteers to create the best synergy while working together. It is very gratifying when I can enable someone to maintain a realistic budget and live to the best of their ability.

What Money Management consumer had to say:

The BayPath Social Media Coordinator, Debra McDonagh, had the incredible opportunity to speak directly with the consumer. 

The gentleman mentioned that he was at a very vulnerable and challenging point in his life when he met Bob, but that Bob helped him manage his debt, showing him how to pay it down while still being able to adhere to the budget that they set together. 
 
The consumer had nothing but kind words to say about Mr. Zimmerman and his experience with BayPath and the Money Management team. It was only just a month ago that he took over his finances without the help of BayPath and stated that he now has a job, a wonderful wife, money in the bank, and a good credit score. 

The conversation concluded with the BayPath consumer saying, “Life is good, and now I understand how to keep it that way. I only hope I can help others the way BayPath and Bob have helped me.”

Overview of BayPath's Money Management Program:

BayPath’s Money Management Program provides much-needed support for elders who have difficulty managing their day-to-day finances. The program operates primarily through the gracious and unwavering support of community volunteers and is managed internally by Director of Client Services Theresa Eckstrom, Money Management Program Supervisor Sue Burns, and Money Management Program Coordinator Kris Briggs.  

The Money Management Program is available to adults age 60 and older or disabled individuals. Clients in the program are often physically impaired, homebound, forgetful or anxious about their finances, and may not have family or friends who can lend a hand. 

Services are tailored to the specific needs of the client and may include: help with check writing, budgeting, balancing the check register, reading and sorting mail, and organizing financial paperwork. The elder maintains full control over his/her money and retains check-signing capacity at all times to stay on track with their finances and maintain their independence. 

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Caregiving MetroWest is a no-cost program of BayPath Elder Services, Inc. and was made possible in part by grants from the MetroWest Health Foundation.

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BayPath Elder Services, Inc.'s Family Caregiver Support Program and Caregiving MetroWest are grateful for the generous support of our community partner, Avidia Bank, which helps us continue to give area family caregivers the information, resources and support they need.