ON THE CALENDAR – February 2017

Discussion on Estate, Planning, Long-term Care

Feb. 16: North Adams Commons invites the public to a discussion of long-term care and estate planning with elder law attorney James Sisto from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at North Adams Commons, 175 Franklin St. in North Adams. The event will include lunch and a gift-card raffle.

Sisto will discuss long-term-care financial planning and take questions. Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP to (413) 662-4403 by Friday, Feb. 10. Lunch will include baked lasagna, tossed salad, and cannoli.

A member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the founder of the Berkshire Elder Law Center, Sisto practices law at his offices in North Adams and Williamstown. He concentrates in the area of estate planning with a focus on those issues affecting senior citizens.

North Adams Commons Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is a nonprofit organization providing short-term rehabilitation, long-term skilled-nursing care, restorative care, and respite care.

Wheelchair-basketball Clinic

Feb. 20: CHD Disability Resources will offer a free wheelchair-basketball clinic from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at CHD’s gymnasium at 69 Capital Dr., West Springfield. There is no cost to attend, and all participants qualify for raffles, prizes, and giveaways.

The clinic will be led by Paul Weiland, a certified health and physical education teacher with an adaptive physical education certification. Weiland, Adapted Sports Program coordinator for Chapter 126 Sports & Fitness, has coached wheelchair basketball at the high-school and college levels and was part of the USA Paralympics wheelchair-basketball selection committee in 2008. He will be supported by volunteer staff, including therapeutic recreation students from Springfield College and varsity basketball players from Springfield College and American International College.

“We’re thrilled to have Paul Weiland running our wheelchair-basketball clinic,” said Jessica Levine, program manager for CHD Disability Resources. “He is passionate about helping individuals of all abilities realize their full potential on the field of play and in life. Like every Disability Resources program, this wheelchair-basketball clinic enables people to focus on what they can do, as individuals and as teammates. Especially for people who are new to wheelchair basketball, this clinic will provide a great introduction along with opportunities to meet other interested players and families and to learn more about Disability Resources in general.”

In addition to the Feb. 20 clinic, for people interested in getting more involved with wheelchair basketball, Disability Resources is offering a 10-week program on Friday evenings from March 3 through May 5, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., at the Pace Gym, 69 Capital Dr., West Springfield. Players will be taught fundamental skills and game-related strategies while focusing on the values of teamwork and respect.

To learn more about wheelchair basketball or to sign up for programs, contact Levine at (413) 788-9695.

Disability Resources is dedicated to serving the needs of persons with disabilities and their families. The organization offers a wide range of programming, including adaptive sports like wheelchair basketball and sled hockey, exercise programs like movement art and lap swimming, family activities including fishing and picnicking, and more. Disability Resources is a nonprofit organization focused on Western Mass., and every dollar of funding is raised through events, grants, and generous members of the community. Disability Resources also receives funding from CHD.

Blood-pressure Checks at Mary Spitzer Center

Feb. 21: North Adams Commons will hold its monthly blood-pressure clinic at the Mary Spitzer Center (North Adams Council on Aging) on Ashland Street from 9 to 11 a.m. The clinic will continue monthly on the third Tuesday of the month at the same time. Future dates include March 21, April 18, May 15, and June 20.

A nurse from North Adams Commons will record blood pressure and pulse, and offer a light snack and information about upcoming events.

North Adams Commons Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is a nonprofit organization providing short-term rehabilitation, long-term skilled-nursing care, restorative care, and respite care.

Western Mass. Amputee Support Group

Feb. 22: The third bimonthly Western Massachusetts Amputee Support Group will meet at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, 222 State St., Ludlow, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Food, refreshments, and information will be provided.

The forum is free to the public, and all are welcome: amputees, family, friends, and medical professionals. Attendees are asked to bring questions as the group discusses various experiences and challenges amputees face on a day-to-day basis.

Estate Planning for Blended Families

Feb. 23: Linda Manor Assisted Living will host a discussion at 5:30 p.m. about meeting the estate-planning challenges of blended families. The event is free and open to the public, but those wishing to attend are asked to register by calling (413) 588-3316. A light dinner will be served.

Attorney Valerie Vignaux of the law firm Bacon Wilson is a specialist in estate planning and elder law. Her discussion will focus on the unique challenges blended families can face. Common concerns are asset division, guardianship, long-term-care planning, and future decision making.

Linda Manor Assisted Living, at 345 Haydenville Road in Leeds, offers all-inclusive assisted living and memory care as well as Linda Manor Extended Care Facility.

Bereavement Support Group

March 8: JGS Lifecare’s Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care announced the launch of a new monthly bereavement support group. The first meeting was held on Feb. 8, and the group will continue to meet on the second Wednesday of each month.

The group will be hosted by community neighbor Glenmeadow Retirement at 24 Tabor Crossing in Longmeadow, and facilitated by Spectrum Hospice Bereavement Coordinator Ellen Rosemond. All meetings are free of charge, and will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. in the movie room at Glenmeadow.

“Each session will offer participants an opportunity to learn about the process of bereavement and symptoms of grief, find support and comfort from others experiencing similar feelings, share memories of loved ones, and continue on the journey to healing,” said Madelyn Presz, executive director, Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care.

Added Rosemond, “it’s important to offer a judgment-free environment where people can feel safe in sharing their personal thoughts and feelings.”

The peer support group is open to anyone in the community who has suffered the loss of a loved one. Individuals may attend as many sessions as they would like. For more information, or to RSVP, call (413) 567-4600, ext. 1115, or e-mail erosemond@jgslifecare.org. Seating is limited, and reservations are requested by the first Wednesday of the month.

Caritas Gala

March 11: Plans are underway for Mercy Medical Center’s first annual Caritas Gala at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. Themed “All You Need Is Love,” the inaugural gala will raise funds to expand and enhance Mercy Behavioral Health Care’s Opioid Treatment and Addiction Recovery programs. The major goal of the project is to create a new inpatient step-down treatment program for post-detox services, giving individuals a better chance at long-term recovery.

John Sjoberg and Brenda Garton-Sjoberg are the Caritas Gala honorary chairpersons. Sjoberg serves as chairman of the board for Mercy and as vice chairman of the board for Trinity Health New England. Garton-Sjoberg has served as honorary chairperson of Mercy Gift of Light.

“Brenda and I are inspired by the selfless work of the Sisters of Providence, and our family has made their legacy our personal mission,” said Sjoberg. “The sisters have responded to the needs of our community for more than 140 years. But today we face a new crisis: the opioid epidemic, a problem that impacts all ages, races, and economic levels. Mercy Behavioral Health Care looks beyond the stigma of addiction and provides treatment that supports and allows people to recover.”

The Caritas Gala will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception, live entertainment from the band Beantown, and a silent auction. Dinner will be served at 8 p.m., followed by a live auction and dancing until midnight. Pre-registration is required by Feb. 17. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.mercycares.com/caritasgala.

Difference Makers

March 30: The ninth annual Difference Makers award program, staged by BusinessWest, will be held at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House.

The winners, profiled in the Jan. 23 issue and at businesswest.com, are the Community Colleges of Western Mass. (Berkshire Community College, Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College, and
Springfield Technical Community College); Friends of the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round; Denis Gagnon Sr., president and CEO of Excel Dryer Inc.; Junior Achievement of Western Mass.; and Joan Kagan, president and CEO of Square One.

Tickets to the event cost $65 per person, with tables of 10 available. To order, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100.

Difference Makers is a program, launched in 2009, that recognizes groups and individuals that are making a difference in this region. Sponsors include First American Insurance; Health New England; JGS Lifecare; Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.; Northwestern Mutual; O’Connell Care at Home; Royal, P.C.; and Sunshine Village.

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