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   Linda Manning, CDC
         Options Counselor 


              GSSSI Presents "Options Counseling"
Finding help with personal care, household chores, transportation, nutrition or medication management can be challenging and overwhelming, especially during a medical event. The Options Counseling Program at GSSSI is a free service that can help older adults, persons of any age living with a disability, or caregivers make decisions on supportive services if they don’t know where to turn. Our person-centered counselors are highly trained, SHINE certified, and ready to help guide people through the maze of available care services. The OC expertly advises consumers on their options and empowers them to make decisions based on their individual needs. If you or a loved one have questions about what services and programs are available to assist you, please call our Information and Referral Dept. at 413-781-8800 and ask to speak with an Options Counselor today. 

Options Counseling Services

  • Serves adults over the age of 60 and/or;
  • Adults of any age who are living with a disability 
  • Short-term counseling is available by telephone, via email or video conferencing or in-person
  • Counseling can be provided at home, at a hospital, rehab or nursing facility*
  • Options Counselors will provide unbiased information on long term supportive services and resources, including GSSSI services, community programs. and more.
  • Counselors are trained to ensure that you retain control over the process and will focus the work on what you decide is most important.
  • Counselors can help provide decision support and assist in determining the next steps to take.
  • Counselors will ensure a "warm" hand off for any subsequent referrals made. 
* Please note that due restrictions resulting from the COVID pandemenic, most counseling sessions are currently being conducted via telephone, email, or video conferencing until further notice. 

Winter is Coming: What Older Adults Can Do to Prepare Ahead

By Anna Randall, GSSSI Information and Referral Supervisor 

Although it is humid and hot now, the colder weather is right around the corner. While it is nice to think about the spectacular Fall colors and cooler temperatures, the changing weather conditions can also bring additional safety challenges for older adults. However, there are some things you can do now to minimize risk in the colder months.

1. Check All Safety Devices
The changing of the seasons is a perfect time to make sure that all of the safety devices in the home are in good working condition. Make sure to check batteries in smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors, and flashlights. This is also a good time to confirm that fire extinguishers are up to date and that backup generators are functioning properly. Stock up now on spare batteries and shelf stable food.

2. Handle Heating Needs
Older adults are particularly sensitive to the cold. HVAC units should be inspected every year to ensure that they're operational. The Fall is a great time to check all windows and doors for worn or cracked sealants and to stock up on insulated window coverings as needed. Those living on a fixed income, may benefit from calling their local Council on Aging/Senior Center to see if they are eligible for Fuel Assistance.  It is also recommend that they call their utilities providers to see if they qualify for any discount programs. 

3. Have a Communication Plan 
Make sure that you have a plan to check in on your vulnerable neighbors, friends, and loved ones. Additionally, if they have a cell phone, consider purchasing a separate portable phone charger in the event of a power outage. They make great gifts and will ensure that you or your loved one are able to reach out for help if needed. 

4. Plan Ahead 
Many people avoid going out when the weather turns, especially if there is ice in the forecast. Make sure you are stocked up on salt for any outside surfaces and make a plan to ensure that all walkways are clear of ice and snow. Additionally, as many older adults choose to stay at home for safety reasons during the colder months, make an effort to increase calls and check in visits if possible. They will appreciate the extra TLC and the risks of social isolation are reduced. 


5. Prepare for Flu Season
Unfortunately, older adults are at a much higher risk of suffering from serious complications if they contract influenza. In fact, at least 71 percent of all annual flu deaths in the U.S. happen to individuals who are 65 or older. With this in mind, you should help ensure that you and your loved ones are as protected as possible. The flu shot is a great place to start, and the CDC recommends it for all seniors. Other proactive steps include frequent hand washing, using hand sanitizer while in public places, wearing masks in public spaces, and steering clear of friends and relatives who have the flu.

And finally, you may also want to consider in-home support services as another great way to keep your older loved ones safe during the colder months. Greater Springfield Senior Services may be able to provide affordable trained, home health aides to assist with grocery shopping, meal prep, and more, making it easier for vulnerable adults avoid hazardous conditions such as icy sidewalks and wet leaves. For more information, please call the Information and Referral Dept. at 413-781-8800. 

GSSSI Current Job Openings
(Click on the job title below for further details)

GSSSI wants to acknowledge and give thanks to the following individuals, businesses and community partners that have donated to our programs during this epidemic:


Mildred Willard
Sally Ann Santucci
Maryann Munger

Through the generosity of donors, GSSSI is able to meet the increased needs being placed upon older adults and persons with disabilities during this pandemic. Donations have allowed us the opportunity to expand our capability for purchasing additional KN-95 masks for our Home Delivered Meal Drivers, purchasing additional food supplies for the community and acquiring technology to assist in remote services. 



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Greater Springfield Senior Services · 66 Industry Ave · Suite 9 · Springfield, MA 01104-3590 · USA