First in a series
By M.E. Jones
SHIRLEY -- Job description aside, Council on Aging outreach coordinator Kathryn Becker's task on any given day at work might be as simple as listening to clients' concerns or as complex as knowing where to look for programs and services they want and need and how to stitch it all together.
Her card file includes all the right numbers and her network of local contacts includes the Board of Health, police and fire departments, with lists of homebound seniors who have signed up for well-being checks, especially when there's a storm and the power goes out.
In some cases, emergency intervention is required, Becker said. As a "mandatory reporter," senior services she's called upon to initiate can and do include protective services in dire home situations such as elder neglect or abuse or unsafe living conditions, such as hoarding. The list goes on, but as a trained and experienced professional, she's prepared to deal with issues as they come up, she said.
Mostly, she's here to help clients and their families, providing consultations in the office or in-home assessments to determine what services are needed. The helping hands she has access to range from assistance with housework and cooking to shuttle service for grocery shopping or doctors appointments to meals on wheels.
Quietly friendly and cautiously forthright during a recent interview, Becker came across as someone who's easy to talk to but very careful about protecting her clients' privacy.
The former Nantucket resident also worked in that island community as an outreach coordinator and landed a similar job in Groton after relocating to Pepperell a few years ago.