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Senior Lifestyles: SASH teams help keep area seniors safe

VERGENNES — Larry has always been a proud and independent man. But when health issues made it too risky for him to enjoy simple pleasures, such as cooking meals and cheering on local sports teams, finding support was essential. Larry’s diabetes and struggles with insulin reporting led to dangerously high glucose levels. He also experienced bacterial infections, nerve damage, and severe swelling in his legs causing frequent falls and injuries. 
Larry said he used to worry every minute about not knowing who, or even if, someone would arrive at his home to help with meals and health care.
He turned to Support and Services at Home, an organization known as SASH.
Before Larry’s situation became overwhelming, SASH Coordinator Diana Rule and the Vergennes SASH Team stepped in and provided comprehensive solutions to empower and support Larry. Diana checked in with Larry often and reported how he was doing to the team. 
Larry was encouraged to take diabetes classes at the hospital, bring his insulin records with him to doctor visits, and have Andrea Masse, his SASH Wellness Nurse, help him track and report insulin levels. Diana reduced fall risks in Larry’s home and found a donated wheelchair so he could safely leave his apartment. The SASH team found Larry a senior companion volunteer to accompany him to SASH and community events, as well as cook nutritious dinners for him. 
Larry was also signed up for Meals on Wheels so he would receive a nutritious lunch each day.
Larry said he is grateful for the SASH Team. 
“When Diana calls the doctor’s office with concerns or questions it means something and she gets answers,” he said. “If I didn’t have SASH I would not be in good shape. I would be in the hospital a lot more.” 
Larry now regularly manages his diabetes and glucose levels. His ankles are noticeably less swollen and monitored often to ensure the infections have not returned. Larry is very relieved to have reliable and familiar care through TLC and nursing through Addison County Home Health & Hospice. He continues to face challenges but does so confidently knowing the SASH Team is there for him.
Editor’s note: This story was provided by SASH (Support and Services at Home).

Larry’s SASH team
-Diana Rule, SASH Coordinator, Addison County Community Trust
-Andrea Masse, SASH Wellness Nurse, Addison County Home Health and Hospice 
-Melissa Stockholm, SASH Wellness Nurse, Addison County Home Health and Hospice 
-Jennifer Brission, Case Manager, Central Vermont Area Agency on Aging
-Jessica Stocker, Care Coordinator, Little City Family Practice

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