Seniors and Injury Prevention – AllCare Medical Supply

I’d like to say that as President/ CEO of Allcare Medical Supply, the issue of getting our elder parents or friends to buy equipment would be a lot easier for me.

The following 2 incidents with my mom illustrate that no matter who we are and what we do, it’s difficult.

billdad

1) When my dad was sick he had his recliner and a table next to him for coffee, newspaper, etc. One day I get a call from Mom. “Hey Bill can you tell me where I can get a table that would go over the chair, dad’s just broke” I said “When did you get him a table for over the chair?” “Oh we got it in one of those medical supply catalogs in the mail.”

Astonished, I said “Mom…. do you have any idea what I do for a living????” “Oh, we didn’t want to bother you, plus, it was a good price.” I said, “Mom, I would have given you the hospital grade over the bed table, whats better than free?”

billmom2) After my dad passed Mom had a favorite recliner in the living room. One day when I was over there I noticed that she didn’t have the leg strength to push the footrest down, so she just left it up and crawled in and out of the chair. I told her that I would get her a lift chair, no cost to her of course.

She refused. She liked her chair. Anybody who has tried to talk their mom (especially an Irish mom) into changing their mind knows what happened next, she refused the chair. Now this is someone who didn’t even have the cost of the chair as a barrier to accepting it!

Months later mom did trip over that footrest and shattered her shoulder, spending weeks in the hospital and then a few more weeks in rehab. When she came home she was willing to have the lift chair. Needless to say a lot of pain and anguish could have been avoided had she listened to me. I’m sure she could have said the same to me about my youth but that’s another story…

Here are the lessons I learned:

1) Seniors, especially parents, don’t want to “bother” anyone with their needs.

2) They also don’t want to admit that they may need help. People have an amazing ability to adapt their surroundings to make up for their physical limitations. Eventually that fails.

Case in point: having trouble getting off the toilet seat so they use the towel rack or something similar to pull on to get themselves up. It may work for a while until that rack comes out of the wall leading to a fall and potentially serious injury.

3) Spend some time observing how they get around, look around for pieces of furniture that are in the way of walking lanes in the house. Check the shower/ bath for use. Throw rugs, ugh…. deep on my personal bad list. They slide, corners pull up, etc. – all the ingredients for a big fall.

You have to be a detective and figure out what they are struggling with and research what can help them. BUY it and give it to them, don’t involve them in the decision or they may likely decline it. Most will come to accept the help even if it means putting up a fight.

4) Seniors are always inundated with catalogs and commercials not really aimed at helping them, but for maximizing profit. The products are generally low quality and the “cheap “price is often negated by “shipping and handling”.

5) Cheap is expensive. you get what you pay for.

6) Start looking at medical supplies as equipment that can PREVENT injury as opposed to products need AFTER injury.

Our company is dedicated to meeting the medical supply needs for people to live safer at home with quality equipment and advice on what’s best for the client not our bank account.

Bill Fredericks, President/CEO
AllCARE Medical Supply Corp
30 Grafton St,Millbury, MA 01527
508-865-4857 ext 140
WWW.ALLCAREMED.ORG

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me -Phil 4:13

Brian M Mekdsy Law On-Line and the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce

BrianMekdsyAs a relatively new business owner who joined the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce (BVCC) late last year and currently serves on the Membership Committee, for my introductory blog post I thought it would be a good idea to talk about one of the main reasons I decided to join the Chamber: the opportunity to network with other business owners and members of the community.

By way of background, I am an estate planning and small business attorney who operates online using a secure client portal. Through the use of technology, I can communicate confidentially with clients, exchange documents, schedule appointments, issue invoices and more.

Since my business is mainly online, a large amount of my startup time was spent building a web presence. That meant blogging frequently; writing articles for my website; answering questions on legal Q&A sites; heavy use of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn; and some targeted advertising.

Soon after the official launch of my practice, and after I was comfortable with my online footprint, in-person networking become more of a priority for a host of reasons.

Truthfully, I’ve always been ambivalent about networking. Love it or hate it, networking is just part of the territory in the professional services industry. But since I’ve always been a supporter and admirer of the business community and entrepreneurial spirit in general, networking as a Chamber of Commerce member just made sense.

One thing I’ve learned, though, is that networking is not just about showing up for the occasional monthly breakfast and then going into hibernation for a few months. The essence of good business networking is making valuable connections and expanding the reach of your professional brand.

It’s about building relationships and gaining trust. You can’t do that by just showing up at a random networking event. You’ve got to step out of your comfort zone, take an interest in what other people do, and follow-up after the event is over.

But you also need to play to your strengths. If you’re a morning person, for example, you might find your most successful networking opportunities to be the breakfast meetings. Prefer a more casual setting? Attend a business after hours event.

At any rate, it’s up to you to find the correct balance between pushing your comfort level and making sure that a particular networking opportunity is the appropriate setting for showcasing your skills.

For me, if it’s a choice between a morning or an after hours event, there’s no better occasion than the casual, laid back atmosphere of an early evening get-together. That’s why my most successful BVCC networking experience was the holiday “Jingle and Mingle” that took place at the Grafton Inn last December.

I met some great people that night, and as a result, was able to step out of my comfort zone by expressing an interest in serving on one of the Chamber’s committees. Not long after that meeting, I was contacted by William Kerrissey about joining the Membership Committee.

Of course, I jumped at the chance to contribute to growing the membership ranks of a great organization, and by extension helping the business community in the Blackstone Valley. None of that would have been possible if I had just attended one or two breakfasts, sat at a sparsely populated table, and snuck out as soon as the speaker concluded his or her presentation.

One other thing, if you’re not comfortable networking and would just as soon send an employee in your place, give that another thought. If you’re the face of your business, try to embrace that fact, because certain things just can’t be pawned off on someone else.

I recently completed an article about outsourcing that will be published later this month on the legal blog site Small Firm Innovation. The gist of the article is that, for small business owners and sole proprietors, outsourcing certain discreet business functions is really no different than what we do every day in our personal lives.

But one thing that just cannot be outsourced is networking. Luckily, the Chamber offers many different opportunities to get out there, meet people and make an impression.

Chamber membership offers many great benefits. If expanding your business network is one of your goals, you get out of it what you put into it. Now go forth and network!

Brian M. Mekdsy, Esq.

Brian Mekdsy is a Massachusetts attorney providing online legal services to young families, businesses and individuals. His practice focuses primarily on estate planning for young families and serving small businesses. Prior to becoming an attorney, Brian worked as an IT professional at various corporations, providing technology-related services for retail, insurance, and banking systems. In addition to his membership in the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce, he is a member of the Massachusetts, American and Worcester County Bar Associations.  

Millbury Casino Effects on Small Business

I was hoping you would like to comment on the endorsement of the slot parlor in Millbury. Aside from what was written on the post card, please give some other reasons for thinking that it will be a positive addition to the Blackstone Valley. Please keep in mind that if you research casino's effects on small business you will find that it will hurt them. Money spent at casinos is money not spent in local businesses. How do your members of the Chamber of Commerce feel about this endorsement

Dear Karen,

Thank you for your question.

Before I share some of the thinking that went behind the endorsement, let me first tell you that I’m not a gambler, a fan of gambling, or believe that the gambling industry is a solid economic engine.  True economic engines are industries that create unique products and services of lasting value. So given the option of a bio-medical research park, a manufacturer, a hospital or a gambling casino, there’s no contest in my mind.

Also I think our government’s monopoly on the otherwise illegal activity of gaming is a hypocrisy.  Last I knew 46 states actively participate in the gambling industry while $50 poker games at the local watering hole are still illegal. I’ve got a problem with that logic too. But that’s for another soap box.

But with that said, gambling is popular entertainment which does and will exist here in Massachusetts. So personally I try to look at this with an open mind.

For starters, according to 2011 tax records there is approximately $149 million dollars of commercial property value in Millbury generating $2.3 Million in tax revenue.   The proposed $200 million Rush gaming investment would more than double the entire commercial valuation of the town adding close to $3 million in new annual commercial taxes to the towns intake in one move.

This new source of tax revenue would represent almost 10% of the towns entire 2012 operating budget, an amount that would dramatically change the budget landscape for Millbury residents. Yes, there will be added costs in police etc to support the casino, but the town leaders believe it will also provide a windfall of funds for schools, infrastructure repairs, police and fire departments, while eliminating pressure to further raise tax rates as it recently did in 2012 (Millbury real estate tax recently rates rose 6%). It’s no wonder town manager Mr. Spain is a vocal supporter.

The particular site chosen is now being used for low economic tax value commercial activity and houses a demolition company, scrap yard, and last I knew a few small enterprises including a kitchen counter fabricator; each a good business with good people.  But these businesses can be relocated and certainly would not be considered the highest and best use of land sitting at cross roads of the three major highways intersecting central Massachusetts.

One thing the Chamber considers is highest and best use of land and location.   We only have so much land to develop and the Chamber looks for projects that create a high density of value and job creation on smaller parcels.

This particular site by its very size and location is unlikely to attract any of the alternative uses I mentioned above and much more likely to attract either more retail or warehousing operations

As an example a 100,000 sq ft warehouse operation using this same plot of land might cost $10-20 million to build and employ 40 people.  The proposed 100,000 sq ft slot facility would generate10 times the assessment and employment levels on the same land mass. By targeting projects with high value per acre, we can boost our economy and preserve more free space at the same time.

On the topic of jobs, Rush gaming projects to generate 400 jobs. Being an experienced operator we surmise their estimate is likely accurate.  Casino jobs may not match manufacturing or medical in pay scale, but they are not necessarily the low level positions many anti-gaming proponents advance.  They include management, accounting, security, catering, grounds and facility maintenance, and of course service staff.  When compared with retail and warehousing; the gaming industry provides at least equal if not better pay opportunities.

Besides, Quinsigamond Community College offers an associate’s degree in hospitality management and would become a natural source of new hires.

The entire Blackstone Valley has roughly 2,200 registered businesses with an average employment of less than 5 people.  We are an area of small entrepreneurial service businesses.  The arrival of 400 new jobs would be impactful.  In fact with an employment level of 400 this facility would become one of the top 5 employers in the entire 11 town area, led only by the likes of Agilent, Wyman Gordon and National Grid.   Will those jobs go to local residents?  No doubt some people will be recruited and relocated to the area, but certainly most of the jobs will be filled by people within the region. According to Rush gaming, local residents are given preference.

As to direct impact on small business, the most likely positive impact will go to service businesses that would support the facilities operations; supplies, maintenance, grounds, plowing, etc.  The lost likely negative impact we envision would be on other forms of nightly entertainment, which would mean local restaurants, bars, and movie theaters.   From that perspective the group of local businesses that would likely be most impacted would be the ones in the Blackstone Shoppes next door, but some have suggested that they might actually benefit from spillover.   We take notice of the success of restaurants in the Shoppes and it tells us there is still plenty of opportunity and demand for entertainment options south of Worcester.

Regarding Rush gaming themselves, since forming as recently as 2009, they have developed and opened SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, voted “Top Work Place” by the Philadelphia Inquirer; Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, which was voted “Best Casino” for three years in a row by the readers of Casino Player Magazine; and Rivers Casino in Des Plaines IL, the first LEED Gold certified casino in the world and the top grossing casino in the state. Since 2007, MGE affiliates have deployed more than $1.7 billion in capital and created more than 4,000 jobs.

As to impact on the community at large, that’s a big one.  The net is filled with research and studies pro and con on the long term affects of gaming on the social fabric of a community.  The overriding theme of most research I’ve read is that it 1-2% of our population falls into the category of problem or pathological gamblers and a casino within driving distance becomes an irresistible temptation. So for this 1-2% it appears a casino is a true detriment to their well being, although they clearly won’t agree with that.

There are many studies published about the overall economic impact due to increased costs of social services resulting from the impact of gambling and I’ve no reason to believe there won’t be an impact in that area as well.  While most studies indicate there hasn’t been a direct correlation to increases in crime due to casinos, it does appear their arrival can cause an increase in personal bankruptcies, divorce, alcoholism, etc. in the local area.

Based on our somewhat complex and parochial approach to regional economics, most all the economic benefit of a facility like this is retained by the host town, and the state, while much of the social impact costs will inevitably be shared by surrounding towns such as Sutton, Worcester and Auburn. Not convinced this is the best way to run an airline, but it’s our way.

So perhaps the social impact of a class 2 gaming facility is really a central Mass regional issue more than a local town issue?  The state has already spoken on the topic by announcing there will be class two licenses issued, and the Millbury voters will have their say in an upcoming vote. From an overall  perspective, we see the town of Millbury gaining from this project.

Being the issue of gambling can be so divisive, as it involves bedrock issues of morality, religion, social issues as well as economic, I am skeptical of much of the pro and con  information available. One study that struck me as fairly straight forward is a 2005 study published by the Brooking Institute entitled The Economic Winners and Losers of Legalized Gambling by Melissa Schettini Kearney. You might want to check that out.

Thanks for your post,
Joe Deliso Chairman

Enhancing Your Online Presence with Chambermaster Member Features

Have you taken the time to log into your member account with the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce to update your member info and take advantage of the new marketing features that are now available thanks to our new Chambermaster integration? If you are a Chamber member, you should have received an email with your login username and password. This is your key to unlocking a host of new marketing features to empower you to enhance your online presence with Chambermaster Member Features.

First Step: Login to Your Member Account

To access your member account, go to www.blackstonevalley.org and click Manage Membership in the left column under Membership Info. This takes you to the login page. Enter your username (your registered email address) and password and hit Submit. If you know your username but forgot your password, click the Forgot Password link; if you don’t know your membership login, please send us an email requesting your login. This opens the Member Dashboard.

Dashboard

Here you will see a number of broad options: your Profile, upcoming Events, Share (where you can view or create Events, Hot Deals and other items), and What’s New. We will focus on your Profile.

At the top of the page you’ll see a navigation bar with multiple options: Account (drop down menu: your company’s listed members or “reps”; your personal info; your login and password which you can edit; and payment options for any outstanding invoices you have with the Chamber); Profile (summary, company info, web info, photos and logos, etc.); Search (quick links to current events, hot deals, member to member deals, news releases and more); Share (where you can create your own hot deals, member to member deals, events, etc., subject to Chamber approval before appearing on the website); and Reports.

Profile

Chambermaster has enabled the Chamber to offer several new ways to promote your business online. When you click open the Profile bar on the Dashboard (member account homepage), you will see a snapshot of your profile status: percentage completed, your logo if uploaded, and your summary description. You can update your profile by clicking the Update Profile button or by selecting a drop down menu item from the Profile link in the navigation bar.

Your Profile is divided into four sections: Organization Info, Webpage Info, Map Pin Info, and Photos & Logos, plus Membership Badge (a bit of code you can place on your website to proclaim your membership in the Chamber).

Organization Info

The main section here is all your Contact Info: company name, phone numbers, website, and address, plus the date of establishment, number of employees, etc. This way you can make needed changes as needed without waiting for the Chamber staff to make them for you, and you have the opportunity to include more info than before.

Web Page Content

Here you can include additional info about your company and site, such as URL text, your website URL, complete site description, a brief description called “Results Summary” which displays in search results, bulleted list of key points, keywords, driving directions, and more.

Social Media Marketing Especially important is the added benefit of listing your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts for Social Media Marketing. And you can connect your Chamber membership to your Facebook

Map Pin Info

Here you specify your physical location on Google maps with a map pin, address, uploaded image, logo, and/or other items. Put your business on the map!

Photos & Logos

This may be the most exciting feature of all! You can now add your company logo (max size 150×100), a smaller logo as a search results icon (75×75), and a Member Page Header (max size 550×150: Note, the default max size is 800 wide, but that will break the Chamber page layout, so it’s far better to limit your page header to 550 wide).

But that’s not all! You can also create a Member Photo Gallery and/or a YouTube Video embedding to further enhance your brand on the Chamber site.

Well, that the thumbnail guide to your Member Profile. As you can see, there’s a wealth of new features you can use to promote your brand. Next time I will discuss setting up Hot Deals and Member to Member Deals.