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Area has several options for care of the disabled and elderly


GROTON — Taking a friendly, welcoming approach, the staff at West Groton based Cooperative Elder Services, Inc. let those who seek out their help know in no uncertain terms that they consider them not just patients but friends.

“The general atmosphere here is very warm and caring,” said Social Service Coordinator Suzanne Roberts. “Clients can feel very relaxed here. We have a quality staff with a knowledge about how to meet the individual needs of our clients.

“As a person gets older, their world kind of shrinks,” observed Roberts. “They don’t get to go out and meet people and do different things. We provide stimulation for people’s minds, exercise for their bodies, and encourage their creativity. A large part of our program is promoting independence and enhancing self esteem.”

“I was very impressed,” said Diane Beaudoin who had the chance to visit the Elder Services offices in company with her cousin, who recently became a client. “I thought the atmosphere was very welcoming and the staff was phenomenal. Every person there had a smile on their face and were very happy to meet me as a family member. They welcomed my cousin with open arms which is exactly what she needed in her life. The center was clean and well organized and the clientele seemed very happy to be there. I liked the quiet room they had set aside for those people who wanted to get away from the mainstream if things get too rowdy and do puzzles and things.

“My cousin, who is now going there every day has been handicapped since birth with cerebral palsey and in her almost 62 years on this earth, this is her first time attending any social place,” enthused Beaudoin. “The people I met there are everything from elderly without disabilities, to people in wheelchairs, walkers, and dementia. They have nice activities for these folks to enjoy every day and I know my cousin thinks this place is a little bit of heaven.”

Its Nashoba Valley offices somewhat hidden away at the RiverCourt Residences, the non-profit, privately operated Cooperative Elder Services, Inc. actually boasts six different locations around Massachusetts.

In business for more than 30 years, the company has accrued much experience in that time embodied in a group of efficient Groton employees who include a registered nurse and three to four active duty staff members, all trained to work as geriatric aids.

“We are an adult day health program,” explained program director Jean Mello. “We service frail elders in the community who need socialization and who are home alone and appreciate a place to come to for socialization, medical monitoring, activities, and an all round stimulating setting.”

“We have an RN on staff named Lilla DiTullio,” added Roberts. “She is with our program full time when clients are here. She monitors people’s health, administers medications, and works with family and primary care physicians so when clients come here, they can be safe and monitored while they visit.”

But lest anyone assume that Cooperative Elder Services is a company that cares for only the elderly, Mello insisted that was not so.

“Most of our clients are elderly, but we have some younger ones too,” said Mello. “Those are usually more medically complicated with needs that we are able to meet on a daily basis. That includes frail elders or any disabled adult 16 years or older with medical or social conditions that indicate a need for structured and supervised day programs. Our programs put an emphasis on a client’s medical, physical, and emotional needs. Another one of our key components is that we also offer programs for clients dealing with dementia or any individual with Alzheimer’s or other related disorder. In those cases, our emphasis will be on the clients’ cognitive and habilitative needs.”

“When a person comes to us for the day, we offer a light breakfast and a full lunch,” Roberts said. “We also offer a variety of activities that are ongoing throughout the day including a light exercise program, current events, games, and arts and crafts. We always offer a choice. As many as we can. In fact, part of our intake process is learning what a person is interested in. And if anybody needs to have some kind of rehab services, they’re welcome to have it here or we can help to arrange for it through their primary care physician.

“There are many ways that clients can find help in covering the cost of our services,” continued Roberts. “Including Mass Health with whom we have a contract, the Veterans Administration, and various state home care agencies. We are happy to help people work through long term care insurance benefits.”

Of course, clients can also pay cash if they prefer.

“We can also arrange transportation for any client,” added Roberts. “Our clients belong to some 50 families from 15 neighboring towns and the beauty of it is, they can still live at home and come out during the day to make friends and do different and interesting things. I think the lives of our clients are greatly enriched while they’re here while at the same time giving some respite for their caregivers.”

Roberts and Mello invite anyone interested in finding out more about what they have to offer to visit the Cooperative Elder Services website at or simply call Roberts herself at 978-448-1400, extension 2.

“The general atmosphere here is very warm and caring,” concluded Roberts. “Clients can feel very relaxed here. We have a quality staff with a knowledge about how to meet the individual needs of our clients.”

“I would absolutely recommend Elder Services to others,” said Beaudoin after her visit. “Disabled people and the elderly disabled need something like that in their lives and I’m absolutely delighted that my cousin has the opportunity to expand her world a little bit.”

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