Page 37 - HealthcareNews May/June 2021
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Franklin County, North Quabbin Earn Age-friendly Designation
GREENFIELD — The region of Franklin County and North Quabbin has been designated as an age-friendly community and officially enrolled in AARP’s network of age-friendly states and communities. In addition to this regional designation, nine area towns recently gained membership in the network after declaring their commit- ment to achieving a more livable community for older adults and people of all ages. They include Athol, Conway, Greenfield, Leyden, Montague, New Salem, Orange, Wen- dell, and Whately. Several other towns are in the process of gaining the designation, including Erving and Leverett.
The Age-Friendly Communities Network is a global initiative that was established by the World Health Organization and is administered in the U.S. by AARP. It claims more than 1,100 members worldwide, including more than 500 American towns and cities. The network connects stakeholders in these communities to promote a common vision of making them better places for people as they age by assessing and improving essential services like transportation, housing, social participation, and others.
“What wonderful news,” said Pat Lynch, chair of the Council on Aging (COA) in Conway. “A small town like Conway could never do this on its own, but joining with the network should hopefully lead to meeting the needs of elders in our community.”
Added Hope Macary, COA chair in Greenfield, “this is just the beginning of a thoughtful process which will sup- port residents of all ages to live a healthy and meaningful life, staying connected to each other and to the commu- nity. I look forward to the next steps.”
The efforts to achieve this designation were led by Life- Path’s Age-Friendly Project, an initiative supported by the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Fund and led by a steering committee of older adults and stakeholders from across the region. After this enrollment phase, the age-friendly process transitions into a needs-assessment phase, fol- lowed by creating an age-friendly action plan and, finally, implementation. The upcoming needs assessment will include a community survey, listening sessions, and other ways to gather needed data. Planning for this phase is
From left: Christina Johnson, director, South County Senior Center; Lynne Feldman, director of Com- munity Services, LifePath; Barbara Bodzin, executive director, LifePath; Nour Elkhattaby-Strauch, Age- Friendly Program manager; Carol Foote, Development Outreach Director, LifePath.
 underway, and community members will be invited to provide input through different workgroups.
“We are thrilled to be able to lead our region in becom- ing more age-friendly,” said Barbara Bodzin, executive director of LifePath. “Our mission compels us not only to work to meet the needs of older adults today, but to create a path to a future of welcoming and a supportive place in
which everyone can age with the best possible health and well-being. We look forward to collaborating with the community in making this vision a reality.”
For more information or to get involved, contact Nour Elkhattaby Strauch, Age-Friendly Program manager, at or (413) 829-9274.
 Baystate Wing Hospital Awards $30,000 to Address Substance Use
PALMER — Baystate Wing Hospital announced
grant awards of $30,000 to two local community agen- cies following an FY 2021 legislative earmark to focus on prevention and treatment of opioid-related substance-use disorders in the communities served by the hospital.
Opioid and substance-use disorders were identified as significant health needs in Baystate Wing’s 2019 commu- nity health needs assessment.
These grant investments were made possible following an earmark in the FY21 state budget by state Rep. Todd Smola to support public-health-related programs and initiatives that reduce health disparities, promote com- munity wellness, and increase access to prevention, treat- ment, recovery, and referrals for people with opioid and substance-use disorders in the hospital’s service area.
“I know how important it is to provide critical resources to our community-based organizations to carry on the work of battling substance use and addiction,” Smola
said. “As we move out of the pandemic, the impact of the ongoing opioid crisis continues to motivate my work in the Massachusetts House of Representatives on behalf of
my constituents.”
Programs supported by the hospital’s grant investments
include the Western Massachusetts Training Consortium ($22,000) and the Wilbraham Police Department ($8,000).
The Western Massachusetts Training Consortium funding will help provide an enhanced recovery-support network to the region and improve access to harm reduction and multiple pathways to recovery services. The consortium will use its unique Recovery Coaching program and community partnerships to support local ef- forts to reduce the opioid death rate, decrease stigma, and increase safety for opioid users in the region.
“We are so grateful that Representative Smola has joined with other compassionate and responsive legisla- tors who have been championing community-led efforts to address the opioid epidemic,” said Kristel Applebee, executive director of the consortium. “This funding will go a long way to help us channel the energy that is already so strong among the communities in the Baystate Wing ser- vice area, and connect those who have faced marginaliza- tion, oppression, or otherwise felt invisible with equitable
recovery supports. We want to make sure everyone knows about the Ware Regional Recovery Center.”
The Wilbraham Police Department, one of the first Hampden County members of the Hampshire Hope DART program, conducts follow-up visits after every over- dose, Narcan administration, and involuntary committal. The department will utilize funding to assist patients and families with support, collaboration with outside entities, safe planning, and the reintegration and reunification process.
“Our physicians, nurses, and staff all strive to improve the health of the people we serve through exceptional
care and innovative health initiatives,” said Molly Gray, president and chief administrative officer for Baystate Wing Hospital. “We are grateful for the earmark made by Representative Smola to help us increase access to preven- tion, treatment, recovery, and referrals for persons with opioid and substance-use disorders in [our] service area. We are proud to partner with these area agencies to help us do this important work together to improve the health and well-being of our community.”

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