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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Patti Dubielak. Director, Marketing and Development
First responders from sixteen local communities recently gathered for a Community Forum on Hoarding, hosted by Minuteman Senior Services, a local non-profit organization that has been providing services to families north and west of Boston for forty years. Attendees included staff from local Fire and Police Departments, Councils on Aging, Boards of Health and Housing Authorities. The training was funded in part through a grant from CHNA 15,the Northwest Suburban Health Alliance, made possible by funds received through Lahey Hospital and Medical Center Determination of Need.
According to Minuteman's Executive Director Joan Butler, "The goal of the event was to bring together key community partners so that local teams would have a common understanding about effective approaches, and to foster teamwork and communication." Participants heard from experts in the field who presented real life intervention scenarios, explained the dynamics of hoarding behavior, and provided information on local resources and the role of Elder Protective Services.
Moderating the event was Marnie McDonald, MSW, LCSW, who is the Program Director and Clinical Specialist at the North Shore Center for Hoarding and Cluttering. "Effective community approaches must be collaborative", Marnie told the group of 100+ which also included mental health professionals and home care providers. "In other words, a team approach that brings together the client and professionals with differing perspectives and expertise in managing this issue....a team that understands not only their individual roles in the process, but also how the roles of others can be utilized to complement the process."
Panelists also included Jordana Muroff, Ph.D., LICSW, Assistant Professor at the Boston University School of Social Work, Betsey Crimmins, Senior Attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services. Mark Waksmonski, RN-BSN, MPA, Geriatric Nurse Clinician for the Town of Arlington, Marge McDonald, Director of the Burlington Council on Aging and Renee Prestia, Protective Services Program Manager at Minuteman Senior Services.
Members of a Hoarding Peer Support Group shared their own personal histories and how hoarding has impacted their lives. According to many participants, this was an important part of the program. One attendee said, "It was remarkable to witness the level of insight of the two speakers with real life experiences of hoarding and de-cluttering".
Minuteman Senior Services is the hub of a network of support services that help keep people independent in their own homes and communities, and one of 22 programs in Massachusetts that, under state contract, investigates reports of elder abuse, neglect, self-neglect and financial exploitation. Call toll-free 888-222-6171 or visit www. minutemansenior.org
Photo: Participants at the Community Forum on Hoarding, held June 3 in Bedford, listen to Moderator Marnie McDonald.
For more information: MassHousing Hoarding Resource Directory - which lists individuals, organizations and groups to help confront hoarding.