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Marblehead resident honored for work as personal care assistant

Posted by boston.com  October 5, 2013 10:00 AM

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The following was submitted by Rewarding Work Resources, Inc:

Even when he was a Pepperidge Farm store manager, caregiving came naturally to Ron B. Fillmore, who would care for others on his days off. When he was laid off from Pepperidge Farm, Fillmore took on more clients, which led to a fulfilling new career and a nomination as a PCA of the Year.

Fillmore, a Marblehead resident, was honored today (October 9, 2013) by the Patrick-Murray Administration for his dedication and outstanding performance as a PCA. Fillmore is one of five individuals from across the state receiving the fourth annual Paul Kahn Award for PCA Service at an event at the State House.

PCAs support elders and individuals of all ages who have disabilities by assisting them with activities of daily living that they are unable to do themselves, such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation and shopping. PCAs also make it possible for many people with disabilities to go to work by helping them prepare for a day in the workplace.

“PCAs make it possible for people to live independently, with varying amounts of assistance,” says Elenore Parker, president of Rewarding Work Resources, which manages the state’s PCA Directory and is a sponsor of the awards. “This award acknowledges the vital role that PCAs play in assisting more than 20,000 Massachusetts residents with tasks of everyday living that so many of us take for granted.”

Fillmore was nominated for the award by Pat DeVito of Melrose, who had hired Fillmore to help her care for her father, Lou. When Fillmore suspected that Lou was suffering from dementia and had begun wandering, he put Lou to bed one evening and went and sat in his car outside the house to observe. After seeing Lou get up and wander, Ron went back inside and stayed with Lou until he got sleepy. Ron repeated this for several days until Lou could be evaluated and housing decisions could be made.

Regarding the transition from a manager to a PCA, Ron said, “it’s not the income, it’s the outcome. Working with seniors and with persons with disabilities is more rewarding than working in the corporate world.”

The award ceremony is sponsored by the Massachusetts PCA Quality Home Care Workforce Council, 1199SEIU Health Care Workers East, and Rewarding Work Resources. Senator Michael Barrett of Lexington (3rd Middlesex District) and Representative James O’Day of West Boylston (14th Worcester District) hosted the event, and Rosalie Edes, Asst. EOHHS Secretary for Disability Policy & Programs, was the featured speaker.

Award recipients were chosen from five regions of the state, with Fillmore representing the northeast region. Other recipients included: Barbara Constantino of Marblehead (central region); Angela Bost of Springfield (west region); Kilra Hylton of Dorchester (Greater Boston region); and Page King of Rehoboth (southeast region).

Immediately following the awards ceremony, the PCAs and PCA employers attending the event participated in PCA Education Day, meeting with elected officials at the State House to talk about how the PCA program makes it possible for individuals with disabilities to remain living at home with PCA support. Currently, more than 32,000 PCAs across the state provide this vital assistance.


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