Pioneer Valley Memory Care Initiative

Funded by the Eisenberg Family Trust

Pioneer Valley Memory Care Initiative

Funded by The Eisenberg Family Trust

What is the Pioneer Valley Memory Care Initiative (PVMCI)?

The PVMCI, funded by The Eisenberg Family Trust, is a coalition of health care and community providers dedicated to empowering and supporting older adults living with dementia and their caregivers to improve their quality of life. Partnering organization include Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Cooley Dickinson Medical Group, Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice, Valley Medical Group, The Alzheimer’s Association, Highland Valley Elder Services, and local neighborhood organizations and senior centers. The PVMCI is a member of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Memory Care Initiative.

The PVMCI serves older adults with memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease and their caregivers who reside in Amherst, Northampton (including Florence and Leeds) and Easthampton.

The PVMCI is based out of the Cooley Dickinson Geriatrics program and is led by Rebecca Starr, MD, Medical Director and Geriatrician.

Is there a cost for this program and how can I enroll?

There is no cost.  The PVMCI is made possible through funding by The Eisenberg Family Trust and in part by a grant from Highland Valley Elder Services through funding under the Federal Older Americans Act.

You can schedule an appointment with Rebecca Starr, MD, or enroll by calling 413-585-0755 and mentioning that you are interested in the PVMCI program.

What can I expect from my enrollment?

For those living with or caring for someone living with memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease, the PVMCI offers creative, innovative solutions that address your immediate needs.  Through building relationships, community linkages, home visits, and telephonic support, we engage your strengths, overcome barriers, and find solutions to enable you or your loved one to remain at home and connected to your community.

What does the PVMCI offer members?

  • Expert and comprehensive services to address memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Assignment to a Memory Care Specialist who will be your main point of contact with the PVMCI program.
  • Individualized care and services specific to your strengths, goals, and needs.
  • Support, education, and creative solutions to address the challenges you may be experiencing.
  • Enrollment into local Village Networks, and provision of neighborly assistance to reduce isolation and increase meaningful engagement.
  • Connection to community providers like your local Council on Aging or Senior Center, Highland Valley Elder Services, the Alzheimer’s Association, Brightspots Therapy Dogs and other community providers.

How can I get more information about the program?

Peter, member of PVMCI, and his cat, Starr
PVMCI member, Peter, and his cat, Starr.

We would be happy to discuss this program and answer any questions that you and/or your loved one may have!  You can call 413-582-2357 and leave a message with your contact information.  A member of the PVMCI team will return your call. You can also download and print the program brochure here.

How can I learn more about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?

The PVMCI partners with community organizations and care providers to host educational programming on living with dementia, caring for a loved one living with dementia, creating a dementia-friendly community, and providing health care for patients living with dementia.  Please call 413-582-2357 if you are interested in attending a session or partnering with the PVMCI to produce a program.

Eisenberg Family Trust Supports Alzheimer’s Care

In the early 1990s, Marcy Eisenberg recognized something wasn’t quite right with her 79 year-old father. Uncharacteristically, he began forgetting and repeating himself. Says Marcy, “As his condition worsened, my family kept running up against the limits of his caregivers’ knowledge.”

Through the experience of caring for her father, and later her mother, Eisenberg, a Northampton area resident for nearly 30 years, committed herself to learning about and supporting Alzheimer’s care. “Back then, so little was known about Alzheimer’s, but new research and practices were evolving. Over time, I realized the bedrock of this disease is about supporting the family. There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s patients. But so much can be done to help them manage the disease and to help those who have the gargantuan job of caring for them.”

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are a large and growing concern. In 2018, Cooley Dickinson hired Dr. Rebecca Starr, MD, AGSF, as our first Medical Director of Geriatrics. Recognizing the huge toll this disease has on caregivers, as well as patients, Dr. Starr partnered with Laura Hummel, RN, MS, CDP, of Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice, also a specialist in geriatric care, to create The Pioneer Valley Memory Care Initiative (PVMCI). This community-based program collaborates with partners including the Alzheimer’s Association and Northampton Neighbors to support older adults living with dementia and their family caregivers. Through individualized care plans that incorporate services from these partners, the PVMCI team works with older adults and their family caregivers to support their full spectrum of needs – medical, social, and otherwise. There are only a handful of similar programs in the U.S.

As program development proceeded, one major element was missing: funding. Says Dr. Starr, “All the pieces were in place. Somehow, we just had faith we’d get funding.”

Enter Marcy Eisenberg who, along with her sister, Katie Robinson, helps administer the Eisenberg Family Trust. Through the Trust, they provided a grant that will significantly fund the program for the next three years.

“We’ve been supporting Alzheimer’s care on a statewide and national level, but doing something locally feels so good.” Eisenberg adds, “From the time we were little, we were taught to think about others. I think our dad, Saul Eisenberg, would approve.”

This article originally appeared in Cooley Dickinson’s FY20 Report on Giving.

How can I support the PVMCI and Cooley Dickinson?

A donation to Cooley Dickinson supports critical patient programs like the PVMCI.  You can make a gift online, by calling 413-582-2256, or by mailing a check payable to Cooley Dickinson Health Care to PO Box 329, Northampton MA 01061.  Thank you for your support!

This program is funded by The Eisenberg Family Trust and made possible in part by a grant from Highland Valley Elder Services through funding under the Federal Older Americans Act.  To meet our federal requirements, we have been requested to advise you that “there is no fee for the service; however, a voluntary confidential donation is requested. You will not be refused service for lack of a donation. Your donation helps support the continuation of needed services for elders.”