Massachusetts Legislature approved the bill H.2047 to create a special commission on LGBT Aging. The Commission is tasked "to investigate, analyze and study the health, housing, financial, psycho-social and long-term care needs of older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults and their caregivers and to make recommendations to improve access to benefits and services where appropriate and necessary."

As part of its effort, the Special Commission is reaching out to the public in general and the LGBT seniors, caregivers and allies to share their thoughts, feedback and recommendations on how the Commonwealth could make aging services better benefit LGBT seniors.

To fill out the survey, please click the link below:
Survey by Special Commission on LGBT Aging

Gay Couple
photo credit: basykes via photopin cc

Mugwort, a spongy herb, has been used in Asia, predominantly by the Chinese, for tens of centuries, to aid healing through a process called Moxibustion.

While it is part of acupuncture, moxibustion is a non-invasive procedure.  The herb Mugwort, also known as Artemesia vulgaris, is burned on or near the acupuncture sites of the knee.


Mugwort for Knee Osteoarthritis

Herb – Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris L.)
Image courtesy: Doug Goldman, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


While the use of moxibustion and its impact have been firmly entrenched through folklore, a rigorous scientific study recently reported positive results online in Arthritis Research & Therapy, July 2014.  You can read the entire article here.

The synopsis of the paper was also reported on Medpage Today.


In the United States, according to ACL (Administration for Community Living), about 5 million older Americans are reported to be victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation. However, it is believed that for every reported case, a whopping 23 cases go unreported. With 10,000 people turning 65 each day in the United States, the problem of elder abuse continues to grow.


What is Elder Abuse?

In general, elder abuse refers to intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or “trusted” individual that lead to, or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable elder. Physical abuse; neglect; emotional or psychological abuse; verbal abuse and threats; financial abuse and exploitation; sexual abuse; and abandonment are considered forms of elder abuse. In many states, self-neglect is also considered mistreatment.

United Against Elder Abuse 

Types of Elder Abuse

•  Physical abuse: Use of force to threaten or physically injure an elder.

•  Emotional abuse: Verbal attacks, threats, rejection, isolation, or belittling acts that cause or could cause mental anguish, pain, or distress to a senior.

•  Sexual abuse: Sexual contact that is forced, tricked, threatened, or otherwise coerced upon an elder, including anyone who is unable to grant consent.

•  Exploitation: Theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority, and use of undue influence as a lever to gain control over an older person’s money or property.

•  Neglect: A caregiver’s failure or refusal to provide for a vulnerable elder’s safety, physical, or emotional needs.

•  Abandonment: Desertion of a frail or vulnerable elder by anyone with a duty of care.

•  Self-neglect: An inability to understand the consequences of one’s own actions or inaction, which leads to, or may lead to, harm or endangerment.

Remember: You do not need to prove that abuse is occurring; it is up to the professionals to investigate the suspicions.


Who is at Risk?

Elder abuse can occur anywhere – in the home, in nursing homes, or other institutions. It affects seniors across all socio-economic groups, cultures, and races. Based on available information, women and “older” elders are more likely to be victimized.

Dementia is a significant risk factor. Mental health and substance abuse issues – of both abusers and victims – are risk factors. Isolation can also contribute to risk.


What Should I Do if I Suspect Elder Abuse?

Report your concerns
Remember: Most cases of elder abuse go undetected. Don’t assume that someone has already reported a suspicious situation. To report suspected abuse in the community, contact your local Adult Protective Services agency. For state reporting numbers, visit the NCEA website at or call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.

If you or someone you know is in a life threatening situation or immediate danger, contact 911 or the local police or sheriff.

To report suspected abuse in a nursing home or long-term care facility, contact your state specific agency.

In Massachusetts, please call the Elder Abuse Hotline at (800) 922-2275 to make a verbal report.


Warning Signs

•  Physical Abuse: Slap marks, unexplained bruises, most pressure marks, and certain types of burns or blisters, such as cigarette burns.

•  Neglect: Pressure ulcers, filth, lack of medical care, malnutrition or dehydration.

•  Emotional Abuse: Withdrawal from normal activities, unexplained changes in alertness, or other unusual behavioral changes.

•  Sexual Abuse: Bruises around the breasts or genital area and unexplained sexually transmitted diseases.

•  Financial Abuse/ Exploitation: Sudden change in finances and accounts, altered wills and trusts, unusual bank withdrawals, checks written as “loans” or “gifts” and loss of property.


What Can I Do to Prevent Elder Abuse?

Report suspected mistreatment to your local Adult Protective Services agency or law enforcement. Although a situation may have already been investigated, if you believe circumstances are getting worse, continue to speak out.

Keep in contact – Talk with your older friends, neighbors, and relatives. Maintaining communication will help decrease isolation, a risk factor for mistreatment. It will also give them a chance to talk about any problems they may be experiencing.

Be aware of the possibility of abuse – Look around and take note of what may be happening with your older neighbors and acquaintances. Do they seem lately to be withdrawn, nervous, fearful, sad, or anxious, especially around certain people, when they have not seemed so in the past?

Contact your local area agency on aging office to identify local programs and sources of support, such as Meals on Wheels. These programs help elders to maintain health, well-being, and independence – a good defense against abuse.

The Massachusetts Council on Aging’s website is

Contact Information
Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging
116 Pleasant St, Suite 306
Easthampton, MA 01027
Phone: 413.527.6425

Volunteer – There are many local opportunities to become involved in programs that provide assistance and support for seniors.

Observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – Elder abuse is a global issue. Contact your local aging services organizations to find out how your community will observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (commemorated on June 15 every year). Help to raise awareness by talking about the issue.

Learn more about the issue – Visit the National Center on Elder Abuse.

Source: National Center on Elder Abuse


Numerous outdoor and indoor recreational and sports activities are available in Massachusetts.  One such program is run by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) called the Universal Access Program.


The activities include boating, sailing, swimming, fishing, horseback riding, rock climbing, skating and skiing.  Most of the activities are free.


Participants must meet some basic eligibility requirements that are listed on the DCR’s website:


Road Ahead for People with Disabilities

Image courtesy of hinnamsaisuy /

The Universal Access Program’s office can be contacted at:

413.545.5353 (voice)

413.577.2200 (TTY)


The mailing address is:

Universal Access Program

Dept. of Conservation and Recreation

P.O. Box 484

Amherst, MA 01004



Three essential questions to ask - to ensure the company you choose has a strong set of core values.


1. Communication.

Will I be able to easily communicate with the personal attendant and have continued access to my case manager?

This is the core of our approach. We believe that you should never feel there is a lack of control or communication with your personal attendant. For this reason, you are assigned a case manager who is always available.


2. Integrity.

Has a sense of trust been established?

We believe this is the key to a comfortable relationship and the well-being of the client. That's why we carefully screen all our personal attendants, are a member of professional home care organizations, and provide a written contract.


3. Performance.

Am I confident I will get the professional care promised and that there will be accountability and follow up?

Homecare is dynamic; a family's needs can change daily. You chose homecare to allow your loved one to remain independent and retain their quality of life, not to endure more paperwork and problem solving.



Did You Know?

One out of three adults age 65 and older falls each year; but less than half talk to their healthcare providers about it.
Half of all falls happen in and around the home.
Among older adults (those 65 or older), falls are the leading cause of injury death.
Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. The most common are fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand.
Many people who fall, even if they are not injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear may cause them to limit their activities, which leads to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, and in turn increases their actual risk of falling.
In 2010, 2.3 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 662,000 of these patients were hospitalized.

Source: CDC, September 2012

Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit can provide 10 to 20 hours a week of free personal care services for veterans and their spouses.

Long Term Care May Be the Greatest Crisis Veteran Seniors Will Face.  Long-term care can be very expensive. The Veterans Administration (VA) has programs to address this need.


Women Veterans
Source: National Archives and Records Administration.
Retired WWII Women Air Force Service Pilots at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, in the Arlington National Cemetery (ANC), Arlington, Virginia, Mar 10, 2003.


Most veterans are not aware of the eldercare benefits available through veterans health care. One particular VA program is called Veterans Pension or more commonly known as Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit.

The VA's Aid and Attendance Benefit provides money to low-income veterans and surviving spouses who require daily assistance for necessary activities such as eating, bathing and dressing.


The Three Eligibility Requirements are:

Wartime veteran or surviving spouse.
Non-service related medical condition.
Limited financial means.


Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. The disease destroys brain cells and symptoms can include confusion, anger, mood swings, language breakdown and long-term memory loss. Over 5.4 million people in the United States and 35 million worldwide suffer from Alzheimer's disease. Caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease involves specialized services that differ from other types of senior housing.


What is the best type of care for a loved one with the illness?

Alzheimer's care is often delivered in an assisted living or nursing home setting usually in a separate floor or unit. Generally, the residents live in semi-private apartments and have structured activities delivered by staff members trained in Alzheimer's and dementia care. Most of these living environments have secured areas to prevent wandering, a common symptom of the disease. Often, residents have access to outdoor walking paths or gardens which are within secured areas.

Stand-alone memory care communities called Alzheimer's special care units or memory care units also exist to better meet the specialized needs of residents with the illness. These memory care communities have been designed specifically for seniors suffering from Alzheimer's disease or dementia and often have features like a circular layout to ensure a resident won't encounter a 'dead-end' in a hallway (a potential source of stress for advanced cases of Alzheimer's).

When making a decision, it is important to ask if there is specialized care offered for residents with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.

Also Known As:
Payment Sources:
Price Range:

Memory Care; Dementia Care
Private Pay; Medicaid
$5000 to $9000 per month

What are Retirement/Independent Living Communities?

Retirement communities or independent living communities cater to seniors who are very independent with few medical problems.

Residents live in fully equipped private apartments available in a variety of sizes from studios to large two bedrooms. Fine dining services are offered with custom-designed meal packages.

Also Known As:
Payment Sources:
Price Range:

Retirement Communities; Congregate Care; Retirement Living
Mostly private pay; some government funded
through Section 202
$1500-$5000 per month

What is a Residential Care Home?

Residential Care Homes are known by different names depending on where you live. In some areas they are called Adult Family Homes , in other areas they may be referred to as Personal Care Homes Adult Foster Homes Group Homes or Board and Care Homes . Typically they all have the same things in common: they provide care for seniors in a homelike setting that's very much like a family.

This type of setting is excellent for residents who do not want to live in a larger community setting but still require a level of assistance similar to that offered by an Assisted Living or a Nursing Home. The staff in a residential care home may assist with medications, help residents bathe, get dressed and perform many other daily tasks or activities of daily living. Because of the homes' intimate settings, owners can often specialize in particular resident needs such as diabetes care, memory care, residents with special diets, residents who speak a particular language (Japanese or Spanish for example), residents of a particular religion or cultural background, as well as other needs.

Resident activities may involve board games, folding laundry, baking cookies, or preparing for the evening meal. Transportation may be included as part of the service the home provides, and may include doctor appointments, shopping, banking or trips to the local senior center.

Rates are usually charged per month. The monthly charge typically includes: three meals per day, utilities, housekeeping, laundry services, activities, and possibly transportation. Care level charges will be determined after the resident's needs have been assessed by the owner or operator.

Also Known As:
Payment Sources:
Price Range:

Convalescent Care; Nursing Center; Long Term Care Facility
Private Pay; Medicare; Medicaid
$6000 to $10,000 per month

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted Living Communities (ALFs) help promote health, safety and well-being among the senior residents that live there. Assisted living was developed as a type of senior housing to provide housing, health care and personal care services to seniors in need of assistance with activities of daily living in a more independent environment than a traditional nursing home.

Among assisted living communities, there is a wide variation in the level of care that may be provided. Some assisted living communities specialize in providing a supportive and safe environment for seniors who are largely independent but need some minor periodic assistance with activities of daily living or medication management. Other assisted living providers have designed their services specifically for the very frail elderly who need a very high level of assistance on a daily basis.

These assisted living facilities have become a substitute for nursing homes and frequently provide many, though not all, of the same care services as a skilled nursing facility. It is important to know what type of environment each assisted living community caters to so that your loved one will be most comfortable.

There are over 36,000 assisted living options to choose from in the United States. You can narrow your search for assisted living options by contacting one of our assisted living placement specialists who can help you find an assisted living community to meet your care needs, location, and budget.

Click here to contact one of our assisted living specialists.

Also Known As:
Payment Sources:
Price Range:

Assisted Care Community
Mostly Private Pay; Some Take Medicaid
$3,000 to $6,000 per month depending on the size of apartment and level of assistance required;
Alzheimer’s care ranges from $3,800 to $5,500 for a shared suite.

What is a Nursing Home?

Nursing Homes, also known as Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), are for seniors who require constant medical care and need significant assistance with the activities of daily living. Today in the United States there are over 16,000 nursing homes.

The goal of care in a nursing home is to help individuals meet their daily physical, medical, social, and psychological needs. Nursing homes are generally stand-alone facilities, but some are operated within a hospital or an assisted living community.

Activities of daily living include bathing, dressing, and meal preparation but may also extend to assistance with transportation, paying bills, making appointments, and simply being there to provide companionship and emotional support. Home care services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be paid for directly by the client or through a variety of public and private funding sources such as Long Term Care Insurance, Workers Compensation, and Medicaid.

Residents of nursing homes generally have high care needs and complex medical conditions that require routine skilled nursing services. Due to the constant care needs of its residents, nursing homes are required by federal law to have a licensed nurse on duty 24 hours a day. Residents typically share a room and are served meals in a central dining area. Residents should have the opportunity to be involved in activities that provide mental, physical, and social stimulation. Be sure to ask about activities offered when you tour the facility.

The average cost of care for nursing home care ranges between $6000 and $10,000 per month. Cost is determined by the level of care needed, the setting where the care is provided, and the geographic location. Due to the high cost of care, many residents use supplemental funding from the government in the form of Medicare and/or Medicaid.

Also Known As:
Payment Sources:
Price Range:

Board and Care Homes; Group Homes; Adult Family Homes
Private Pay; Medicaid (in some instances)
$3000 to $7000 per month depending on the services and level of care provided and whether or not it is a shared/private room.
Using A Home Care Agency vs. Hiring a "Direct' Household Employee

We realize that your budget may not allow you to hire a home care agency like Hestia Care Services to care for your family's needs. Therefore, we have designed a program to fit your budget! Our Direct Hire Program helps families find, screen, pre-qualify, and background-check qualified caregiver candidates that can be hired directly by the family as "Household Employees."

Please contact us today to learn more about this program that can help your family avoid the pitfalls of hiring an "Independent Contractor" on your own as noted in the table below.


Key AttributesHome Care AgencyDirect Household Personal Attendant
Caregiver backup for emergencies We are ready and able to fill the need with one phone call. None
Bonding, liability & workers comp. insurance Our staff are bonded and insured, giving you peace of mind that if the caregivers hurt themselves in your home they would not sue your homeowner’s insurance policy. We will consult you on how to get workers compensation and liability insurance at a reasonable cost.
Quality control & supervision of home care staff All cases are carefully monitored and supervised by our Geriatric Case Managers and our management team; Unscheduled periodic visits; Family members kept informed on a regular basis. The family monitors the care attendant.
Continuing caregiver training We provide continuing mandatory in-service caregiver training. Care attendant is responsible for their own training.
Payroll, taxes, and IRS We assume responsibility. We will assist you with getting your payroll set up with a reputable company – at a reasonable cost.
Criminal background and reference checks Our employees are carefully screened at the time of hire with several layers of thorough background checks. We perform extensive screening and background checks of each care attendant we could place with you as a direct-hire employee.
Flexibility of home care services Your home care service requirements will rarely stay the same. If the skill level or amount of care that you require increases or decreases, we can accommodate your needs. You choose the care attendant that best matches your needs from our extensive list of qualified individuals.
Experience Our caregivers have been delivering quality home care to satisfied clients for an average of over seven years. You choose the care attendant that best matches your needs from our extensive list of qualified individuals.
General Availability We can provide home care services to you and your family 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Your caregiver is available on weekends and holidays. One person means limited days and hours. You are responsible for staffing a replacement for sudden sickness, time off, emergencies & vacations. Employment transitions mean you will need to get another care attendant.

What is the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit?

Aid and Attendance (A&A) is a tax-free non-service connected disability pension.
Unlike a service connected pension, this pension must be used to pay for un-reimbursed ongoing medical expenses.


Three requirements to qualify for Aid and Attendance:

Military Service
Medical Need
Meet Income and Asset limit


Military Service

Applicant must be a veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran with:

90 days active duty (Not National Guard/Reserves)
One day during an approved wartime.
Honorable discharge.
Surviving spouse must have been married to the Veteran at the time of his/her death and NOT remarried.


Medical Need

Assistance with bathing/ showering
Assistance with toileting
Assistance with feeding (i.e. need help to actually eat their food – not prepare it)
Assistance with dressing/undressing
Assistance with transferring in/out of bed/chair
Assistance with incontinence (lack of bowel control)
Assistance with ambulating (walking)
Assistance with keeping oneself ordinarily clean and presentable
Having incapacity (mental or physical) that requires assistance/care on a regular basis to protect patient from hazards in their daily environment (i.e. Alzheimer’s, etc.)


Income and Asset Limit

There are certain income and asset limits in order to qualify.


Call Us TODAY to discuss your options.

Fill out our Contact Form or call us at 617.910.2200.