Berkshire Man's Song To Help Combat Alzheimer's

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. - With a new case of Alzheimer’s developing every 70 seconds in the US, many Massachusetts seniors will be affected by the disease. Unfortunately, there are also countless silent victims of Alzheimer’s – the thousands of family caregivers who literally watch their loved ones slip away from them right before their eyes.

To thank and recognize these family caregivers and to help combat the disease as part of National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in November, Home Instead Senior Care of Massachusetts is making a song called “Ask Your Name” – sung from the perspective of an Alzheimer’s patient to her daughter – available at www.askyourname.com. For each copy downloaded at $5.00, 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to benefit the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Association, which provides education, advocacy and support for individuals with dementia, their family members and care professionals.

Written by Steven Smith, owner of the Berkshire County Home Instead Senior Care in Pittsfield, MA, “Ask Your Name” was inspired by Smith’s beloved grandmother, who died from Alzheimer’s. A self-taught, award-winning songwriter, Smith was also inspired by what he sees his client families going through every day.

With 17 offices throughout the state, Home Instead Senior Care of Massachusetts (http://www.homeinstead.com/ma) provides high quality, trusted, non-medical in-home care services such as companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, shopping and transportation to help seniors remain in the comfort of their own homes as they grow older.

Smith most recently performed “Ask Your Name” at the Alzheimer’s Association of MA Western Region’s Memory Walk, where it received a positive outpouring from caregivers and other attendees.

“The song is the story of an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s who no longer recognizes her own daughter. Each time the daughter goes to visit, the mom asks her name -- or says she has no children – then wonders why such a simple question would make her unknown visitor cry,” said Smith. “This is an all-too-common heartbreak that caregivers go through with their loved ones who have Alzheimer’s, and I wanted to capture this through the power of music as a way to let them know they are not alone.”


With at least 40 percent of Berkshire County Home Instead Senior Care clients dealing with Alzheimer’s, Smith and his wife Donna, a co-owner of the Pittsfield office, see families trying to push through the rigors of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s at home without taking time to care for themselves. Together, the Smiths – and all Home Instead Senior Care owners – work to educate and caution family caregivers on the need to watch out for their own health and stress levels and respect their own emotions and needs.

To further help with this, each Home Instead Senior Care of Massachusetts office offers a free guide called “Helping Families Cope – an Alzheimer’s Resource Guide for Family Caregivers” Which was co-developed with the George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers. This guide contains hands-on, practical advice for family members helping a loved one live with Alzheimer’s and is also available online at http://www.homeinstead.com/Alzheimers/default.aspx.

In addition, to prepare its staff to work best with clients with Alzheimer’s and their families, Home Instead Senior Care employs a specialized CAREGiver internal training program that provides the latest in Alzheimer's education and dementia care techniques – a program that earned an award from the American Association on Aging for its innovation and quality.

About Home Instead Senior Care of Massachusetts

Home Instead Senior Care is a network of 17 locally owned offices in Massachusetts – from Greater Boston, the Cape and Western MA, to the Metrowest, Southern and Northern suburbs – dedicated to providing high quality, trusted home care to help seniors remain in their homes as they grow older. For those who have chosen to age at home, HISC can be the difference between counting the years and living them. Services are also available to seniors living in facilities. To learn more about Home Instead Senior Care of Massachusetts, please visit http://www.homeinstead.com/ma.
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Candidates Tackle Issues at Pittsfield School Committee Debate

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Seven of the eight candidates actively running for School Committee attended Monday's PCTV debate at the Berkshire Athenaeum.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Seven candidates running for the School Committee debated in person for the first time on Monday.

The forum was held by Pittsfield Community Television in partnership with iBerkshires at the Berkshire Atheneum and was moderated by PCTV's Coordinator of Advancement and Community Production Bob Heck.

It is the second in a series of three debates that began on Thursday with eight City Council candidates running for the four contested wards and will end on Tuesday with the six at-large council candidates.

William Cameron, Mark Brazeau, Vicky Smith, Alison McGee, Sara Hathaway, Daniel Elias, and William Tyer covered a number of topics ranging from staff wages and building improvements to Taconic High School's mascot change and the recent superintendent selection process.

There are eight candidates looking to fill the six seats on the School Committee this year. Karen Reis Kaveney Murray was not able to attend the forum.

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