Marlborough Council on Aging receives grants to fight hoarding and depression in older people

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By Stuart Foster, Contributing Writer

Marlborough Mayor concerned with Phase two of vaccine rollout.MARLBOROUGH – BayPath Elder Services recently awarded two grants to the Marlborough Council on Aging to help seniors live happier lives.

One will fund programming on ways to obtain a hoarding and clutter-free lifestyle, while the other will pay to train staff for a new program encouraging rewarding lifestyles for older
people.

BayPath is a non-profit in the MetroWest area that provides services to help older adults and people with disabilities live independently and comfortably in their homes. It awarded the Council with $7,000 to fight hoarding and $4,000 to train and certify two staff members for the Program to Encourage Active and Rewarding Lives (PEARL).

“We actually are very fortunate with grants that we receive, and BayPath Elder Services has some great ones out there,” said Trish Pope, the Executive Director of the Council on Aging.

Impact Team to utilize hoarding grant money

Pope said that the hoarding grant can help pay for the city’s Impact Team’s help to clean up the houses of seniors with a hoarding problem. That team is made up of people from the offices of the Building Inspector, Legal Department and the Council of Aging. Pope said they can also provide tools to prevent hoarding issues from happening again.

Speaking during a Sept. 13 City Council meeting, Marlborough City Councilor Mark Oram
thanked BayPath for recognizing the hurdle that hoarding represents for public health and for promoting good health habits.

“This is a serious public health issue and hoarding will not go away,” Oram said. “It’s because of the isolation and other issues that have changed over the years from the days when the families all lived together.”

PEARL program to be available for all

Pope said that the $4,000 grant is for PEARL, a new program through the University of
Washington.

Pope said the Council’s goal is to train two staff members so that they can offer the program a few times a year with different perspectives each time. The program will not be restricted to Marlborough seniors because all senior centers receive state funding, Pope said.

Any senior can go to any senior center for classes unavailable at other locations.

The University of Washington website describes PEARL as a program that educates older adults about depression while helping them develop self-sufficiency and active lives in an accessible and comfortable group setting.

“It’s really to help people, especially in these crazy times, that have been dealing with isolation and loneliness,” Pope said. “Kind of giving them some tools to move forward and break down some of that isolation.”

BayPath gives Marlborough ‘a second chance’ with hoarding grant

Pope said that BayPath offers Title III grants using federal funding to enhance the lives of older adults each year.

She said this is the second time the Council on Aging has received the hoarding grant, as they won it last year as well but had to turn it back due to the pandemic.

“We’re very excited that BayPath saw the need for this grant and allowed us to give it a second chance, hopefully post-pandemic,” Pope said.

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