"Community Choice" for aging seniors

... New legislation: Avoiding "a home" as years slip by

from the SilverStringers

THUMBS UP: It was a positive note for Massachusetts seniors when the Legislature recently passed a bill called "Community Choice" -- a bill that was promoted by Melrose's own representative, Michael Festa. According to Council on Aging Director Jack Beckley, Community Choice is a matter of civil rights, and was modelled after the National "American Disabilities Act".

In essence, the law permits Massachusetts residents who are associated with the "Mass Health" program -- and eligible for nursing home care -- to make a choice between spending their late years in a nursing home or remaining in their own home -- with support from the "Community Choice" program. "It is a law sorely needed, Mr. Beckley said, and we applaud the state and community for this vital move."

Prime mover behind the act was Representative Festa, plus a host of other community members associated with support of our senior population, Mr. Beckley  said.

In the photo -- taken during an appreciation luncheon at the Milano Center -- were (left to right) these proponents of "Community Choice": Al Norman, executive director of Mass Home Care Association; Representative Festa; Jane Lavender, former alderman and now president of the board of Mystic Valley Elder Services; Dan O'leary, director of Mystic Valley; Sally Hoyt, senator in the Silver Legislature; Mayor Rob Dolan, and Ann MacGillivray, a representative in the Silver Legislature.

While the legislature has approved the bill, the next step is for professional health officials to work out details and implementation.

It is a landmark piece of legislation.

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