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News and analysis on caregiving topics in MetroWest and beyond.

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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 Volunteer from our Healthy Living Program -- Pegg Mancuso-Rowe
By DebraMcDonagh / February 21, 2020

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 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.
 

A Q&A with a Volunteer from our Healthy Living Program

Pegg Mancuso-Rowe has been involved in the Healthy Living Program for over 11 years and has been a dedicated volunteer with BayPath’s Healthy Living Program for approximately eight years, co-leading as many as 10 or more workshops per year, recently co-presenting with our Healthy Living Coordinator, Renee D’Argento.

These programs follow the guidelines of the Healthy Living Center of Excellence. They are the result of years of research and development at Stanford University and top medical organizations that have proven positive results for participants. Programs are generally offered at no cost to the participants and are continually offered by BayPath throughout the MetroWest area. 

Pegg is not only a Leader of the courses, but also a Master Trainer certified in nine evidence-based programs including: Chronic Disease Self-Management, Diabetes Self-Management, Chronic Pain Self-Management, Matter of Balance, Savvy Caregiver, Healthy Eating, Cancer Thriving, and Surviving, Workplace Chronic Disease Self-Management, and Powerful Tools for Caregivers. It is apparent to anyone who works with Pegg that she enjoys what she is doing and derives great satisfaction from helping others. BayPath is fortunate to have such a committed volunteer! 

We had an opportunity to speak with Pegg and gain some insight into her passion for teaching these evidenced-based, self-guided programs, as well as her experience volunteering with BayPath. 

BayPath: What made you first become interested in becoming a leader of these evidenced-based programs, which promote the independence of older adults by empowering them and their families to take more active roles in their care? 

Pegg: I'm retired now, but in my former working life, I was a psychotherapist specializing in working with people with chronic physical and mental health conditions. Helping to empower participants with chronic conditions while they take charge of managing their health to improve their quality of life has long been my passion. I believe in these programs, and eventually took extra workshops to become a Master Trainer so I could train leaders who would then offer these valuable, empowering programs in their communities. 

BayPath: What made you first decide to become a volunteer with BayPath’s Healthy Living Program? 

Pegg: I originally worked with Springwell about 11 years ago when a friend who managed the Healthy Living courses there recruited me to take the training to become a leader in Chronic Disease Self-Management. I was looking for a meaningful volunteer activity that spoke to me, and these courses did! A few years later, I learned of BayPath's interest in expanding these programs throughout the MetroWest area and I signed on. I live in MetroWest and was pleased to be able to offer these courses in my own and nearby communities. 

BayPath: What kind of time commitment does your role with BayPath take? 

Pegg: Each class lasts for six weeks, for two and a half hours each week, plus prep time and travel time, so it's a significant time commitment. Since I'm also a SHINE Counselor (Medicare counselor) and also volunteer at our local library, working courses around my schedule can be tricky, but Renee does a great job scheduling them! It's well worth the effort, though, because of the benefit provided to participants. I often ask myself, "When did I ever have time to have a job?" 

BayPath: What is the most rewarding part of what you do as a volunteer? 

Pegg: I reap the rewards each time I lead a course when participants realize they can take active steps to change small things in their lives to improve their health, and consequently, their quality of life. When participants report improvements in their health and fitness benchmarks, their enthusiasm over their life improvements is so rewarding. 

BayPath: Is there one instance that stands out above others where your training and support specifically helped a particular individual? 

Pegg: Yes. I was leading Diabetes Self-Management. There was one workshop participant who had never heard of the connection between physical activity and food choices as important ways (besides medications) to control diabetes. During the course of six weeks, she lost 12 pounds by changing her eating habits. She also had trouble, due to back pain, walking/exercising. Each week, she made a goal to walk five minutes and then added five minutes each week. By the end of the course, she was able to walk, without pain, for 30 minutes. Her enthusiasm for her accomplishment and being able to show results to her health care team was most gratifying. 

Click here for information about BayPath's Healthy Living Program
To inquire about becoming a Volunteer please visit our website



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BayPath Elder Services, Inc

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.