GREENFIELD — LifePath announced it will grant $16,500 in CARES Act funds to four organizations to provide services to older residents in need due to the pandemic. The funded programs are:
• Bernardston Senior Center: $3,231 to provide an outreach newsletter to residents helping them stay informed about how to stay safe, state and federal updates, available services, programs offered at the senior center, instructions on how to make face masks, and more. These newsletters, while being informative, also contain some levity to ease the stresses faced by those affected by the pandemic;
• CommunityLegal Aid Inc.: $6,000 for the Elder Law Project in Unprecedented Times. New legal issues have emerged for elders who are vulnerable during the pandemic, from fighting to keep a laundry room in public housing open to tenants to getting an assisted-living resident readmitted to her apartment after a hospital visit and positive COVID-19 test result. The funding will be used for increased outreach, responding to new and different legal issues arising from the pandemic, assisting elders with access to unemployment benefits, and assisting elders at risk of homelessness, loss of income, healthcare coverage and other basic benefits, and more;
• NorthQuabbin Citizen Advocacy (NCQA): $4,500 for advocacy to reduce isolation and support well-being for elders. NQCA provides protection, advocacy, support, and practical assistance for people with a behavioral-health, cognitive, or developmental disability by developing and supporting voluntary relationships between a person who would benefit from support and a community citizen whose interests and capabilities are relevant to the person’s needs. They will recruit, train, match, and support advocates to become involved with elders who are experiencing loss of previous ability, increased isolation and loneliness, greater need for practical supports at home, and access to basic needs such as food, medical care, and other community resources due to COVID-19 and its effects; and
• Northfield Senior Center: $2,769 for technology assistance for seniors who are isolated. Those elders who do not have computers or internet access are now unable to participate in social activities or visual wellness checks, which alleviate isolation and ease concerns for caregivers regarding wellness during times of physical separation and social distance. Seven to ten iPads will be distributed to those most isolated and unable to access online information and programming. Volunteers will assist with setup, internet connection, and installation of e-mail, text messaging, videoconferencing, and personalized apps for each elder.
“Partnering with these organizations actively engaged in providing these vital services in the COVID era will make us more effective in our mission to support elders,” said Barbara Bodzin, executive director of LifePath. “We are grateful to them for their outstanding work, and to our funders for making these programs possible.”