Message from Adam Berman, CEO of JGS Lifecare

May 12, 2022

Dear Residents and Families,

Now that the warmer weather is finally here, I am looking forward to the many summertime activities we embark upon every year. That said, I would be remiss in not recognizing the fact that COVID is still prevalent in our world today. We are, however, well equipped to manage the virus. We understand the importance of remaining vigilant, the value of frequent testing, and the necessity of adhering to the protocols we have put in place.

Currently, we’re in the process of coordinating and administering another round of booster shots. Although we anticipate that there’ll be outbreaks periodically, we’ve found a way to balance it all. Please rest assured that we will never let our guard down. The safety of our residents, our families and our staff take precedence over everything else.

Thank you for your unwavering support. Each and every one of you helps make our organization special.


Adam Berman
JGS Lifecare


Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care Named 2022 Hospice Honors Elite Recipient by HEALTHCAREfirst

May 12, 2022

JGS Lifecare, a not-for-profit healthcare system serving seniors and their families in western Massachusetts for over 110 years, is pleased to announce that Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care, one of its subsidiary organizations, has made the 2022 Hospice Honors Elite list. Hospice Honors is a prestigious annual national program from HEALTHCAREfirst that recognized hospices that continuously provide the highest level of quality care as measured from the caregiver’s point of view. HEALTHCAREfirst is a leading provider of billing and coding services, CAHPS surveys, and advanced analytics. It acknowledges the highest performing agencies by analyzing the performance of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) hospice survey satisfaction measures.

“Hospice Honors Elite recipients are industry leaders in providing quality care and constantly seeking ways to improve,” said Ronda Howard, Vice President Revenue Cycle and CAHPS at HEALTHCAREfirst. “Last year was especially challenging for healthcare which makes this accomplishment even more impressive. We are honored to be aligned with such high performing agencies like Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care and we congratulate them.”

Award criteria were based on Hospice CAHPS survey results for an evaluation period of October 2020 through September 2021. Award recipients were identified by evaluating performance on a set of 24 quality indicator measures. Performance scores were aggregated from all completed surveys and were compared on a question-by-question basis to a National Performance Score calculated from all hospices contained in the HEALTHCAREfirst’s Hospice CAHPS database. Hospice Honors recipients include those hospices scoring above the HEALTHCAREfirst National Performance Score on 20 of the 24 evaluated questions. HEALTHCAREfirst holds a special recognition, Hospice Honors Elite, to honor hospices scoring above the HEALTHCAREfirst National Performance Score on all 24 of the evaluated questions.

“This Hospice Honors Elite award is given to hospices that score above the HEALTHCAREfirst National Performance Score on 100% (all 24) of the evaluated questions! Spectrum Hospice accomplished this!” commented Madeline Presz, current Executive Director of Ruth’s House Assisted Living Residence and former Executive Director of Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care. “This award absolutely reflects the hard work, dedication and outstanding performance of the entire staff at Spectrum! What an honor this is to receive!” Presz credits the exceptional relationships that the Spectrum Hospice team is able to build with patients and families; being there with a patient and their family during their most vulnerable time providing support and compassion is the most important aspect of the hospice care. She continued, “I will be working with Diahann Wimmer, Spectrum Clinical Director, to plan a celebration for the team, at which time the framed certificate will be proudly displayed in the office!”

Please visit HEALTHCAREfirst’s website at to learn more about HEALTHCAREfirst’s Hospice CAHPS survey program as well as the Hospice Honors awards.



About Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care

If recovering from an illness, injury or surgery, Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care provides a full range of professional rehabilitation and healthcare services to recover in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Spectrum coordinates medical care with community physicians, families and multiple service agencies, and provide a personalized care plan for every patient. When a cure is no longer the goal, Spectrum Hospice services allow patients with a life-limiting illness and their families to take a proactive step to ensure that needs and wishes are embraced, and that all the care possible will be given to manage symptoms and optimize quality of life. Spectrum provides care throughout Hampden County, and their team includes Spanish-speaking care providers. Patients can be accepted within one hour of new service requests, and are able to start services within 24 hours. For more information, call Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care at 413-567-4600 or visit

About JGS Lifecare

JGS Lifecare, founded in 1912, is a leading health care system serving seniors and their families. JGS Lifecare services include nursing home care (The Leavitt Family Jewish Home), rehabilitation services (Sosin Center for Rehabilitation), assisted living (Ruth’s House Assisted Living Residence), adult day health care (Wernick Adult Day Health Care), home health, hospice, and palliative care (Spectrum Home Health and Hospice Care) and independent living (Genesis Lifecare). For more information, call JGS Lifecare at 413-567-6211 or visit


What’s Happening at JGS Lifecare

May 12, 2022

This month we were so happy to welcome the spring season. The springtime holidays helped us recharge our spirit of hope and faith, rebirth and renewal. Rabbi Devorah Jacobson and Cantor Martin Levson led Passover Seders at the Leavitt Family Jewish Home and Ruth’s House. Our thanks to Deacon Higby for leading the Stations of the Cross for Good Friday. Residents enjoyed receiving greeting cards and gift bags for Easter from Carol Casartello and Sue Saunders, our wonderful long-time volunteers.

Our resident cats Thelma and Louise bring so much love to our residents. Did you know that time spent with pets can improve energy levels, self-esteem, mood, as well as decrease depression? Additional benefits include increased motor skills and movement, improved social skills and verbal communication, decreased boredom, and a more positive outlook.

We like to help our residents stay active and engaged. Residents enjoyed activities like jewelry making, bowling and balloon ball toss to keep them active and social. With the warm weather finally upon us, expect to see many more outdoor activities in the mix. Stay tuned –the best is yet to come!


JGS Lifecare and Chelsea Jewish Lifecare Pay Tribute to its Talented Residents and Staff

May 10, 2022

This month we celebrate the talented residents and staff members who make our organization so special. We are in awe of you.

Here’s a look at just a few individuals who are exceptionally talented. Going forward, we hope to feature more residents and staff in our monthly newsletters. It seems we have an abundance of talent on our campuses!


Jackie Schott
Ruth’s House

The adored receptionist at Ruth House, Jackie has been creating ceramic works of art for over 30 years. Making ceramic sculptures began as a way for her to relax. As Jackie explained, “I was a stay at home mom of three young kids, and I needed time to myself. I decided to try ceramics and loved it!”
Eight years ago Jackie decided to start giving ceramic classes at her house. Since then, her classes have been in huge demand. Participants come every Friday night to paint a variety of objects: original outdoor décor for their yard, traditional holiday decorations, and colorful gifts for the home and office. “It’s gratifying to see how excited the students are when they complete their projects.” Said Jackie, adding, “We laugh a lot!”



Carmela Favorito
Cohen Florence Levine Estates

At a young 90 years of age, Carmela Maria Leone Favorito has seen it all. Born in San Nicola Italy in 1931, the third of eight children, a devastating earthquake caused her family to lose everything right before her birth. For the first year of her life, her family took shelter in a cave. Growing up, Carmela’s life was clearly one of hardship, but through it all, Carmela never lost sight of what was important to her: hard work, loyalty, and family.
Carmela’s Story, a memoir written painstakingly by Carmela with the help of family members, chronicles Carmela’s life from when she was a young girl in Italy until she was in her mid-70’s. It is a fascinating story of life, loss and the meaning of family. A second printing of Carmela’s book will be available this summer.



Christina Tuohey
JGS Lifecare

As mom to three active children, local author Christina Tuohey, Director of Marketing and Outreach at Ruth’s House Assisted Living, understands the importance of raising kids to be free of gender stereotypes. Cristina is the author of the acclaimed There Are No Girl Colors!, which creatively tells the story of a child who learns that every color should be appreciated free of gender norms.

Inspired by her children and her own childhood, Christina wrote the book as a way to teach her children that color is gender free. Christina grew up with very artistic parents and always viewed colors as gender neutral, but she realized that was not the case for everyone.” I started noticing that my boys would refuse certain cups, or toys, or crayons just because they were not traditional “boy” colors,” said Christina. “Now It makes me feel good knowing children are learning that all colors should be loved and celebrated, and that there are no girl colors, just colors!”



Marie Diciccio
Katzman Family Center for Living

Resident Marie Diciccio has always loved to paint, at one time dreaming of going into Art School. But times and money were difficult, so she took the practical route and became a bookkeeper and sales associate. After moving into Katzman Center, Marie’s love for art quickly resurfaced.

Last year, Marie attended an activity art class and resumed her artistic endeavors. In fact, she now has several pieces that she proudly displays in her room. As Marie explains, “I’m no Claude Monet, but I love the sense of expression and creativity that comes with my artwork,” says Marie. “It truly brings me great joy.”


Ruth Riceman
Kaplan Estates

Ruth Riceman has made hundreds of quilts. After taking lessons, reading books, and studying the art of quilting, Ruth began experimenting with her designs about 30 years ago. She soon became well-known for her beautiful pieces and was gratified when people started commissioning her to make quilts for them.

Ruth can easily pinpoint her most memorable quilting project. She organized a group to make quilts for women in the Framingham penitentiary who were about to have babies. Ruth and her friends worked non-stop and ended up completing 75 one-of-a-kind quilts. Ruth recalls the women were so touched to receive the quilts. “If you are lucky enough to have a talent,” notes Ruth, “you have to use it to help somebody else.”


Mike Scott
Leonard Florence Center for Living

Mike was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 but had been experiencing symptoms as early as 1995. An engineer, Mike had to out his dream of obtaining a PHD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry on hold. Despite that, Mike uses his talents every day to inspire the residents at the Leonard Florence Center. Currently, he is volunteering his time for a project in collaboration with Google. Mike is testing out different apps that will help individuals who cannot speak have the ability to choose from any number of synthesized voices.

Despite Mike’s ALS diagnosis, he lives a full, active life, going on trips, socializing with staff and residents and giving tours to visitors at the Center. Mikes explains it best. “When I was diagnosed, my doctor told me to get my affairs in order, as I may only have a few years to live,” recalled Mike. Alluding to his busy life, Mike added with a smile, “I’m sure this isn’t what he meant, but I hope you’ll agree that my affairs are very much in order.”


Kay Morrocco
Kaplan Estates

Kay has always been actively involved with the community, often being honored for her civic work. She volunteered for over 30 years at the Peabody Senior Center and received the prestigious “Peabody Person of the Year Award” as well as the “Peabody Community Spirit Award.” In 2015, at the age of 95, Kaye was recognized as a true role model for seniors and awarded the celebrated Peabody Torigian Award. Even today, at 101, she is an active member at the assisted living, always on the go and helping people.

For Kay’s 100th birthday in 2021, Peabody Mayor Edward Bettencourt issued Kay a “Congratulatory Proclamation.” The look of surprise on Kay’s face was priceless. After an impromptu speech, Kay was asked the secret to her longevity. “That’s easy,” she replied with a smile. “I’m Italian!”


People are Talking

May 10, 2022

Our Organizational Development Department makes it a priority to get feedback from our residents about their care. Recently, we asked our skilled nursing residents to fill out a Resident Satisfaction Survey. These surveys – and our resident’s responses – are a valuable means for us to assess the care, services and relationship building that takes place on our campuses. Take a look at some of the comments. We appreciate such colorful sentiments from our residents!

“Once admitted, I realized the staff was excellent. They checked in multiple times and addressed all of our issues.”

“The nursing staff have been very helpful, nice and kind.”

“Nurses are always available and check on me quite often.”

“The people are very caring and the building is clean.”

“Everyone here has been amazing and friendly.”

“I’m Catholic and I love the Kosher meals! No complaint about the food!”

“Rehab is working me hard to get me to my granddaughter’s wedding.”

“Excellent food. Always nice, warm with a good presentation.”

“I love the openness of the spaces.”

“I am treated like a king!”

“It is beautiful here. I may never leave!”


Beloved Feathered Mascot at Ruth’s House Assisted Living Charms Residents and Staff

April 29, 2022

A fateful summer’s eve in 2016 marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship for the residents and staff of Ruth’s House Assisted Living. A brilliantly colored yellow cockatiel boldly walked into the building, strutting down the hallway in all its glory. The beloved bird has been there ever since.

Mary-Anne Schelb, Director of Business Development at JGS Lifecare, the organization that operates Ruth’s House and Leavitt Family Jewish Home, assumed the bird was a neighbor’s pet and called area occupants, animal shelters as well as the police, but no one came forward to claim ownership. The staff decided to keep the bird until its owner was identified. Fast forward six years later and Tweety, as he was affectionately named, is now a treasured resident of the assisted living.

Tweety enjoys singing to the residents, serenading himself while looking at his reflection in the mirror, and visiting residents in their apartments. Not surprisingly, he is a “natural” in front of a video camera! Staff members believe he provides emotional support to the residents. Susan Halpern, Vice President of Development and Communications of JGS Lifecare, noted that research indicates that some bird sounds may offer relief from mental fatigue and stress. “Studies with bird sounds have showed that they may have a restorative effect on individuals,” stated Halpern. “Of course, it’s not an exact science,” she clarified, “but I do notice that our residents light up as soon as they see or hear Tweety.”

Over the years, Tweety has brought great joy and camaraderie to both residents and staff alike, helping make Ruth’s House a warm and inviting environment, and even more like a real home. Tweety can often be found walking about on the shoulder of Greg Gale, a member of the life enrichment staff. One could say that he is Greg’s assistant, sharing his gentle and loving personality with everyone he meets. During activities, Tweety makes special appearances. He particularly loves the trivia games and has been known to participate by sitting on the back of a participant’s chair. When a resident answers a trivia question, Tweety will often squawk as if to answer himself!

“Pets have a delightful way of opening doors that would otherwise be locked or difficult to open,” noted Gale. “For many people a dog, cat or bird brings into mind positive memories and stories of life experiences. If one is feeling sadness or loneliness the visit of a pet can turn these feelings around and raise them to levels of gratefulness and joy. When a caregiver is trying to reach the essence of a person in need a pet visit can be extremely effective in cleansing sour attitudes with positive experiences. Here at Ruth’s House we are lucky to have a resident cockatiel “Tweety” who makes special appearances to activities or visits to a resident’s room when they are feeling ill.”

Overall, the unanimous consensus is that Tweety is a wonderful addition to the assisted living. Mary-Anne Schelb sums up his presence perfectly. “Six years ago, Tweety literally walked into our lives,” said Mary-Anne. “Today he is a vital part of the Ruth’s House family. I find myself walking by his cage at least a few times a day,” she admitted. “He never fails to make me smile.”