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Happy National Family Caregivers Month

By George H. Fleischner, President & CEO of Nonotuck Resource Associates, Inc.

Nonotuck Resource Associates Inc, wishes our community a happy National Family Caregivers Month this November! Every single day, innumerable family members across Massachusetts (and the country) provide care for a loved one. These are heroes, people who make great sacrifices in their personal and professional lives to care for aging parents, disabled veterans, injured service members, and others who need support and medical assistance.

We are fortunate to live in a state like Massachusetts, where the Adult Family Care (AFC) program (funded by MassHealth) offers family caregivers training, ongoing support, and compensation for taking care of a loved one. Through the AFC program, people become care providers for family members with any medical diagnosis—whether intellectual, developmental, or physical disabilities—that results in the member needing assistance and oversight to safely manage specific needs, while living at home.

Adult Family Care helps support a safe, nurturing home for people who need assistance to complete the activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, eating nutritious meals, and walking. Nonotuck—and numerous organizations with similar goals and values— work with the person supported and their identified care team, with information from their health care providers, to create a person-centered Plan of Care.

Monthly visits from a Registered Nurse, Care Manager, and Community Support Specialist offer detailed health service coordination, communication, and related support. This dynamic service delivery plan allows for AFC member engagement in the planning and receiving of care in the comfort of their own home.

“We Are the Voice for Our Loved Ones”    

Samantha Chhrech has been an alternative caregiver for her father in the Lowell area for 8 years, but she views herself as a daughter first. “I’m his daughter, it’s my responsibility to take care of him when he’s sick or getting older,” she says. “{Through the AFC Program} I get to spend more time with my dad, to build that relationship as an adult with him.”

She says a typical day as a caregiver involves helping her father to get ready, having breakfast with him, and socializing before she goes off work. While she’s at work, her sister and nephew assist with care, giving way when Samantha returns in the evening. Then, she spends time with her father while he discusses Buddhist teaching.  When the weather is nice, they enjoy going out and taking walks.

Samantha says that, with the guidance and assistance of her AFC team, the work as an alternative caregiver is challenging, but ultimately rewarding. “Whether you’re going to be a caregiver for your family—or someone else—at the end of the day you’re going to feel accomplished,” she says, adding: “We are the voice for our loved ones who can’t speak for themselves.”

During this month, we pause to salute Samantha, and all the selfless family caregivers for all they do, while applauding the Adult Family Care program, and the invaluable support it provides them.

Find out more about Adult Family Care

“(Through shared living) people with a disability experience a real transformation and discover confidence in themselves; they discover their capacity to make choices, and also find a certain liberty and above all their dignity as human beings.”

Caregiving with Love:
Guide for Shared Living Providers

Learn how Nonotuck developed a love-based ideology of care. We started our shared living program as an alternative to group homes for people with disabilities. Instead, Shared Living creates genuine life transformation for people with disabilities, as well as families and communities. The true power of caregiving is found through hospitality, authenticity, and love.

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