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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.

Communities come together in a time of Crisis.
By DebraMcDonagh / May 11, 2020

In this time of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are inundated with news that can be potentially frightening and politics that are downright upsetting (no matter what side you are on). But there is something beautiful coming out of all this negativity. It is a sense of overall human compassion toward neighbors, within communities, and even extending out to supporting strangers. 

A March 30, 2020  article on verywellmind.comHow to Practice Empathy During the COVID-19 Pandemic,’ written by Kendra Cherry and medically reviewed by Carly Snyder, MD explains how empathy not only benefits the recipient but the giver as well.

“There are many benefits to practicing empathy. Empathizing with others can help you feel less lonely and more connected. It also increases the likelihood that people will reach out and help others when they need it.

In addition to boosting social connectedness and increasing helping behaviors, empathizing with others also improves your ability to regulate your emotions during times of stress. Feeling empathy allows you to manage better the anxiety you are experiencing without feeling overwhelmed.”

Real-life selflessness and compassion for BayPath consumers 

Here are two real-life examples of families and communities coming together to selflessly do something that brightened the day of some of our homebound seniors and other BayPath Consumers. 


When in need of masks for BayPath Consumers, Fran Bakstran, Area Agency on Aging Assistant Director at BayPath, connected with Laura Ziton from Northborough.

Laura is highly active in the Northborough community, and in particular, heads up Boy Scout and Girls Scout troops. One of her goals is to connect the younger residents with the older adults in the community to promote inter-generational compassion and companionship.     

When Laura heard of BayPath's need for masks, she was happy to help and coordinated Daisy Troop 64393 to help with the project. They quickly realized that mask making supplies were in high demand, and so with the help of the Daisies, Laura sourced materials online. The troop also received a very generous donation of fabric from Northborough resident Cindy Ironson. To further demonstrate this community's dedication and teamwork, Laura's parents, Alan and Mary Archibald, made the masks!

On behalf of the BayPath consumers and their caregivers, we are very thankful for all to all who contributed to making the masks. The donated cloth masks have been distributed to our elder consumers and their families and caregivers as needed. 


Anna Cross, Executive Director of the MetroWest Nonprofit Network*, reached out to BayPath with an idea of sending handmade, personalized cards out with our Meals on Wheels deliveries to help those who receive meals feel a bit of extra kindness during the pandemic. Anna is active within the Framingham community and its school system. Her thinking was to also provide a great project to the school children who are e-learning and need some fun things to do during this time.

Nutrition Director Denise Menzdorf loved the idea, and the collaboration began. The endeavor took on the name of "The Nonna Project." Nonna, Anna's mother, was an avid traveler and collected many postcards along the way. In Anna's words, "My parents came to this country in 1956, leaving their parents behind, and my mother always felt that we had missed having connections with our own grandparents, so she regularly "adopted" grandparents for us. We all grew up spending lots of time in the company of elders – this is just another way for all of us to keep the connection going." 

Elena Staroselsky, a kindergarten teacher in Framingham, is Nonna's granddaughter, Anna's niece. Together, they are actively working with the school children and are hoping to get a few Girl Scout troops involved.

We could not be more grateful for this family effort and the happiness it has brought to older homebound adults in our Meals on Wheels program. When we thanked Laura, her reply was, "Thanks for giving us the opportunity to share our mom and her joy of life with others." This story is a real-life definition of giving from the heart!

BayPath extends our deepest gratitude to Laura and Anna and everyone one who was involved in these two wonderful projects. Your efforts truly brought smiles to many of our consumers faces and brightened their day!

*The MetroWest Nonprofit Network supports and strengthens the local nonprofit community by connecting people and their organizations to resources, expertise, and each other. 

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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.