By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Established in 1991, the free Money Management Program (MMP) offered by BayPath Elder Services, Inc., helps low-income elders over the age of 60 manage their day-to-day finances. The MMP is a collaborative effort of the AARP Foundation (American Association of Retired Persons), the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, and Mass Home Care. Through the program, trained volunteers help with organizing and paying bills, reconciling bank statements, establishing monthly budgets (all transactions are carefully monitored to ensure that funds are handled properly) and advocating with service providers all in the comfort and privacy of the client's home. The mission of MMP and BayPath in general is “to enable older people to live independently and comfortably in the community for as long as possible, while promoting their well-being and dignity.”
MMP serves low-income adults who are at least 60 years of age or disabled and have difficulty with bill-paying activities. Clients are often housebound or forgetful or have lost their bill-paying spouse. The program is open to individuals living in one of the 14 area towns served by BayPath including: Hudson, Marlborough, Northborough, Southborough and Westborough. For Shrewsbury residents, MMP is offered by Elder Services of Worcester Area, Inc.
Paula Geller is the Money Management Program supervisor.
According to Geller, “Volunteers come from all walks of life with one common goal – to offer their time and talents to individuals who need the skilled and caring support of a money manager. They live or work in the communities that BayPath serves. Whether actively working or recently retired, BayPath's Money Management volunteers possess relevant professional and life experiences to competently address the needs of clients.”
Seniors are often referred to MMP by case managers, senior centers, housing authorities, or other community agencies. Other times, clients or their family members contact the program directly for assistance.
All financial information disclosed through MMP is kept completely confidential. While the program assists with bill paying, clients maintain full control of their funds, making all decisions and retaining check-signing capacity. As a safeguard, the AARP Foundation maintains coverage to protect the funds of clients enrolled in the program.
Anyone interested in learning more about MMP (for free services or to volunteer) can do so by contacting BayPath Elder Services, Inc., 33 Boston Post Road West, Marlborough at 508-573-7241.