In 1972, Massachusetts Office of Elder Affairs issued a call for grassroots coalitions to support a program to keep elders out of nursing homes. Called “Home Care,” it was one of the nation’s first efforts to create an alternative to the institutional models of caring for the elderly that had prevailed since the poorhouse.
That August, a group of southwest Boston seniors and providers formed the Ad Hoc Coalition for the Elderly. In its first report to the state, it found “meager resources wasted by duplication… and lacking organized means of efficiently referring older people to sources of help.” It was a problem the group decided to take on.
In March, 1973, the Coalition incorporated as Southwest Boston Senior Services – the city’s first, neighborhood-based not-for-profit organization devoted solely to keeping the elderly and disabled at home. One year later, it began operations out of a Roslindale storefront with a staff of four and funding for one elder lunch site and a Meals on Wheels route.
Today, that agency is Ethos, a $25 million organization that promotes the dignity and independence of almost 2,000 elderly and disabled persons. Among its designation, it is a state Aging Services Access Point, an Elder Nutrition Project and a Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Despite years of growth, Ethos remains rooted in the principles of care, compassion and community that guided its founders.
The home care program provides a variety of services to people 60 and over who meet state-mandated guidelines for income and physical need for services. If the need for services includes relief for a caregiver, there are not any income limits. In all cases, there is a sliding fee scale. Learn More
Personal Care Attendant
The Personal Care Attendant program (PCA) is available to people of any age who have MassHealth Standard or CommonHealth and need assistance with at least two activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, taking medications, eating, transferring or moving inside of the home. Learn More
The Ethos Nutrition program started in 1973 and is one of more than 5,000 local Senior Nutrition Programs in the United States. Through its home delivered meals (Meals on Wheels) and congregate meals (Community Cafés) programs, Ethos provides well over 1,200 meals to seniors who need them each day. Learn More
thos’ Boston Money Management Program affirms the missions of Ethos and our partners in the aging services field by facilitating payments of essential expenses for at-risk elderly and disabled clients to stabilize independent living within their communities. Learn More
Options Counseling provides seniors over 60 and people with disabilities of any age with the information they need on long-term services and supports in order to live independently in their community, regardless of disability or income. Learn More
The SHINE Program (Serving Health Information Needs of Everyone) is a state health insurance assistance program that provides free health insurance information, counseling and assistance to Massachusetts residents with Medicare and their caregivers. Learn More
Healthy Aging Programs
Ethos offers a variety of evidence-based, healthy aging classes, free of charge, to give participants the skills and confidence to manage their health and either prevent or delay chronic conditions and live healthier, more active lives. Learn More
Long-Term Care Ombudsman
The Long Term Care Ombudsman program is a federally funded program that protects the rights of all people in nursing homes and rest homes. Specially trained volunteers and staff visit each nursing facility and rest home in the City of Boston on a regular basis and meet with residents and their families. Learn More
Ethos has long been a leader in taking on the challenges facing elders and, finding solutions to the vexing knot of problems that—often prematurely—push the isolated and homebound into nursing homes. Learn More
The Boston Elder Nutrition Program
Health and Wellness Programs