State Awards $450,000 to LifePath for Creation of Community Enrichment Center
GREENFIELD — LifePath was awarded more than $450,000 by the Healey-Driscoll administration for the creation of a community enrichment center. The center will provide a space where older adults and people with disabilities can enjoy respite, activities, and socialization with people of all ages, while caregivers can take a break and receive information needed to help their loved one remain at home.
The administration sought innovative models to identify promising practices to relieve caregivers of the stress acquired from the exceptional demands of caring for individuals with complex needs, to close service gaps, and to provide person-centered respite in home- and community-based settings.
“So many people in our state act as primary caregivers for others every single day,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh said. “It is important to provide these caregivers with the opportunity to rest, while still ensuring continuity and high-level quality of care that is both culturally and linguistically appropriate to those who rely on them.”
LifePath is partnering with the Care Collaborative (TCC), a local nonprofit serving elders and their caregivers for more than 20 years. Programming will start in late fall. The day program will be hosted by TCC at its Sunderland location.
“All of the work originates from the foundational belief that, in order for elders to be well-cared-for and supported, they must have well-supported caregivers,” said Sue Pratt, executive director and founder of TCC.
Through this grant, TCC will recruit and train paid caregivers who can gain experience at the center and then go into people’s homes to provide respite care. In-home training on the best way to care for their loved one can also be provided to family and informal caregivers.
“We see the center as a one-stop shop for caregivers,” said Diane Robie, director of Client Services at LifePath. “We want caregivers — paid and unpaid — to know they are not alone.”
The center will be a place where caregivers can get information and resources specific to their unique caregiving needs, and where they can access help navigating healthcare and social systems. In addition, there will be self-care offerings like massage and yoga, as well as peer support.
The center will partner with local colleges and universities to provide internships for those who are interested in learning more about the needs of this population. Interns will have opportunities to learn with and from caregivers and those who are entering the direct-care workforce by participating in activities at the center, attending workshops, and providing specialized services.
“We want this to be a multi-generational center where, one day, there might be elementary children joining for a music session, and another day high-school students might be leading an activity on building birdhouses,” Robie said. “We see this as an innovative approach to bridge fragmented systems of care and build strong and lasting relationships of support.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the center or being part of a planning group should contact Robie at [email protected] or (413) 773-5555.