Published: 7/10/2022 10:03:04 AM
Modified: 7/10/2022 10:00:17 AM
GREENFIELD — After nearly four decades of working in the field of community-based long-term care — nearly two decades of which were spent at LifePath — Executive Director Barbara Bodzin plans to retire.
“It’s something I’ve been contemplating for a while,” said Bodzin, who will have spent five years in the role when she retires in March.
Bodzin’s retirement from the Greenfield-based LifePath comes after nearly 19 years with the agency and 18 years prior working at its sister agency, Highland Valley Elder Services. She has served as executive director since 2019, and was previously the director of client services.
“It was much more common for people to go into long-term care facilities,” Bodzin explained, reflecting on the changes she’s seen in the field since she entered it. “There has been a tremendous shift into community-based long-term care services. … There’s also been an acknowledgement and a greater understanding … that people wish to age in place, or stay in their own homes, with proper support and care.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said, the responsibilities and scope of services have continued to change in a way that has required “constant vigilance” with respect to monitoring the in-the-moment needs of the community. Bodzin said she is most proud of her leadership during that time.
“I think, as an organization, we came through these two-plus years in tact and stronger than ever,” she said.
LifePath programs created in response to the pandemic include the Farm to Home food program, the distribution of U.S. Department of Agriculture food boxes, the grocery shopping program and the phone pals program.
“We were really successful in attending to the growing needs of those we serve,” Bodzin said.
According to a LifePath press release, Mary Giannetti, board president, will lead the organization as it hires its next executive director.
“Barbara has led the agency with compassion, ingenuity and inclusion as she worked to carry out LifePath’s mission,” Giannetti said in a statement. “We intend to make the most of what is left of our valuable time together. We have been focused on our succession planning and we are grateful to have the next nine months to complete a thorough search and select a well-qualified candidate to lead the agency.”
Bodzin will be involved in the search for and selection of her successor, which the agency hopes to have in place prior to March to allow for a period of transition.
“I am grateful to the board of directors, the staff and volunteers, and my family and friends who have supported me throughout my career,” she said. “Serving older adults, individuals with disabilities and caregivers has always resonated deeply with my own purpose.”
In retirement, Bodzin — who said she will remain “firmly planted” in the local community — plans to travel more and spend time with family and friends. In particular, she hopes to spend more time traveling to Australia to visit her daughter, who recently got married.
“I’d like to be able to spend intervals of time in Australia with her,” Bodzin said. “It just seems like a good time for me to transition and have time to dedicate to other aspects of my life.”
For more information about LifePath, located at 101 Munson St., Suite 201, visit lifepathma.org.
Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at email@example.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne