Lawrence Poirier, Money Management Program Manager, and Sophie Nambi, Money Management Associate, help MVES consumers with their finances.
For Michael Smith, an elderly man residing in senior housing in Medford, the support he received from the Mystic Valley Elder Services (MVES) Money Management Program was a critical part of keeping him living in his own home. Facing numerous cognitive and physical challenges, but fiercely independent, Michael came to rely on his dedicated MVES Money Management Program volunteer to ensure his bills were paid on time and he had access to cash when needed.
Like Michael, most MVES Money Management consumers live alone, are homebound, are somewhat medically or cognitively compromised, and many are without family and friends who can help them. Without the support of the Money Management Program, offered exclusively to MVES Home Care Program consumers, many would face eviction and bill collection.
Sometimes, money management issues are the determining factor as to whether or not an older adult can continue to reside independently in their own home. While many elders are able to decide how their money should be spent, they may lack the physical capacity to carry out tasks such as organizing bills, writing checks, or getting their bills into the mail. Others are in good physical health but may suffer from memory lapses or dementia. Some elders may have been reliant on a now deceased spouse to manage financial matters.
Since 1990, the MVES Money Management Program has assisted elders living in the 11 communities served along with adults with disabilities. One of the largest volunteer programs of its kind in the state of Massachusetts, the MVES Money Management Program offers a variety of services ranging from complete oversight of a consumer’s finances to assistance with balancing a checkbook, all free of charge.
“The 70 elders currently served by our Money Management Program are able to take full advantage of the range of services we offer,” says Lawrence Poirier, longtime Money Management Program manager for MVES. “Even during a global pandemic, in line with CDC guidelines for in-person interactions, we have continued to meet consumers where they are at and provide the help they need for managing their finances.”
According to Poirier, MVES’ Money Management Program has been an ongoing success because of its team of dedicated volunteers, all of whom go through rigorous training and extensive background checks. Poirier points out that MVES Money Management Program volunteers come from all walks of life and range in age and professional background, but says they are all equally committed to the MVES mission of helping elders to age in place. He stresses MVES volunteers’ keen ability to establish trust and maintain professionalism with the seniors they serve.
“In addition to having an amazing team of volunteers, we have also established strong working relationships with area financial institutions where our consumers keep their savings and checking accounts and investments,” says Poirier. “We are all working together toward a common goal and keep the consumers at the center of all we do.”
“Some volunteers may only spend one or two hours a month helping a consumer, but that one or two hours of support keeps the consumer living in the community,” explains Poirier. “On the other side, we are often there for an elder when they are hospitalized or enter short-term rehabilitation, making sure their bills are paid while they are not at home.”
“MVES is extremely fortunate to have such incredible volunteers as part of our organization,” says Poirier. “Our long-term volunteers in particular are always thinking on their feet when an unexpected issue comes up for one of our consumers. They are always just a phone call away.”
“Our staff and volunteers are constantly striving to ensure we are making a difference in the lives of those we serve,” concludes Poirier. “I feel extremely blessed to be part of the Money Management Program at MVES. It goes so far beyond just dollars and cents.”
To learn more about the MVES Money Management Program or to become more involved with this program as a volunteer, please visit our website at www.mves.org or call 781-324-7705.