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Home Care in Cambridge, MA

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, sometimes they cannot live independently without someone by their side to provide care. Unfortunately, some older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live in the comforts or their home rather than in an assisted living community. Home care in Cambridge, MA is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

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Home Care Cambridge, MA

The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they age. We are proud to have helped tens of thousands of seniors to maintain a higher level of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home care services in Cambridge, MA. Always Best Care is here to help.

How does In-home Senior Care in Cambridge, MA work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 In-Home Care Cambridge, MA

Types of In-home Care in Cambridge, MA

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

 Elderly Care Cambridge, MA

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes or Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
 Senior Care Cambridge, MA

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading

Respite Care Cambridge, MA

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite activities and hobbies while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community Events and Social Outings
 Caregivers Cambridge, MA

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy other activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress helps reduce the risks of caregiver burnout.

When it comes to non-medical home care, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible. If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

Benefits of Home Care in Cambridge, MA

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Home Care Cambridge, MA
  • Age in Place
    According to AARP, 9 out of 10 seniors prefer to age in place within the comfort of their own home. With in-home care, seniors have a way to stay at home, receive the care they need, and maintain a sense of independence, improving overall wellness.
  • Peace of Mind
    If you or a member of your family have assumed the role of caregiver for your senior loved one, you know how stressful the job can be. Between caregiver burnout and constant worry, being a family caregiver is hard. In-home care relieves your burden and gives you peace of mind knowing that your senior family member is in expert hands.
  • Socialization
    Unlike many senior care facilities where the staff and residents rotate frequently, seniors can foster new friendships and build bonds with their caregiver. Seniors who socialize on a regular basis are often happier, which fosters positivity and leads to increased wellbeing.
  • Personalized Care Plan
    No two seniors need the same kind of in-home care assistance. That is why each of our care plans are tailored to meet our client's individual needs. We offer plans that cover everything from light housekeeping to more involved duties like transportation to doctor's appointments. Our Care Coordinators will work closely with you to develop a personalized plan to ensure your senior's needs are exceeded.

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for clients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

 In-Home Care Cambridge, MA

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

Comfort

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Cambridge, MA, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

Independence

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

 Elderly Care Cambridge, MA

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Cambridge, MA gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

 Senior Care Cambridge, MA

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

  • Veteran's Benefits: Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
  • Private Insurance: Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
  • Life Insurance: Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Cambridge,MA understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

01

An assessment of your senior loved one

02

An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home

03

Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs

Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

Latest News in Cambridge, MA

Update regarding Ken Roth as a Fellow at HKS

Dear Members of the HKS Community,During the past few weeks, significant concerns have been raised about my decision not to appoint Ken Roth as a Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School for this academic year.I have not issued a statement on this decision because at the Kennedy School, as in virtually every organization, certain aspects of personnel matters should not be publicly discussed. But given the significant interest in this matter at the School, and in light of discussions I have had with faculty members in recent days, I wan...

Dear Members of the HKS Community,

During the past few weeks, significant concerns have been raised about my decision not to appoint Ken Roth as a Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School for this academic year.

I have not issued a statement on this decision because at the Kennedy School, as in virtually every organization, certain aspects of personnel matters should not be publicly discussed. But given the significant interest in this matter at the School, and in light of discussions I have had with faculty members in recent days, I want to outline aspects of the considerations that went into my decision and explain how I think we should move forward.

First let me emphasize that my decision was not influenced by donors. Donors do not affect our consideration of academic matters. My decision also was not made to limit debate at the Kennedy School about human rights in any country. As a community we are steadfastly committed to free inquiry and including a wide range of views on public policy, and the appointment of a Fellow is never an endorsement of the views of that individual nor a refutation of other views. My decision on Mr. Roth last summer was based on my evaluation of his potential contributions to the School.

In recent days I have spent a great deal of time consulting with faculty members, hearing their views, and discussing a path forward on this specific appointment and on broader issues around the appointment of Fellows at the Kennedy School.

On the broader issues, we need clearer and better processes that draw more on the insights of the Kennedy School faculty as a whole. Accordingly, I will ask a faculty committee to develop a faculty-driven process for evaluating Fellow appointments—a process that I expect will bring greater rigor and wider consultation and that will be grounded in our deep commitment to excellence and to multiple informed perspectives.

In the case of Mr. Roth, I now believe that I made an error in my decision not to appoint him as a Fellow at our Carr Center for Human Rights. I am sorry that the decision inadvertently cast doubt on the mission of the School and our commitment to open debate in ways I had not intended and do not believe to be true. The broader faculty input I have now sought and received has persuaded me that my decision was not the best one for the School. I have spoken now with a colleague at the Carr Center, and we will extend an offer to Mr. Roth to serve as a Fellow. I hope that our community will be able to benefit from his deep experience in a wide range of human rights issues.

Finally, I want to underscore my commitment to the Kennedy School’s important work to advance human rights around the world. I am proud of the work of all my colleagues to improve public policy and leadership.

Best, Doug

Harvard Reverses Course After a “Nation” Exposé

On January 5, The Nation reported that Ken Roth, who headed Human Rights Watch for over two decades, had been rejected for a resident fellowship at the Kennedy School’s Carr Center on Human Rights.The reason: Human Rights Watch—and Roth—had an “anti-Israel bias.”Or at least that’s what the Kennedy School’s dean, economist Doug Elmendorf, told...

On January 5, The Nation reported that Ken Roth, who headed Human Rights Watch for over two decades, had been rejected for a resident fellowship at the Kennedy School’s Carr Center on Human Rights.

The reason: Human Rights Watch—and Roth—had an “anti-Israel bias.”

Or at least that’s what the Kennedy School’s dean, economist Doug Elmendorf, told stunned Carr Center faculty when they asked why he was vetoing their choice, rather than routinely approving it as he had always done in the past. (Roth had been recruited by the Carr Center.)

Michael Massing’s rigorous reporting in The Nation raised important questions about Harvard’s commitment to academic freedom, the behind-the-scenes power of its donors, the meaning of diversity, the chilling effect on junior faculty, and American (and American Jewish) feelings about Israel—which these days means an ever more right-wing government. The article was an indictment of a powerful institution and its key donors.

The ACLU, PEN America, Amnesty International, Americans for Peace Now—and, unexpectedly, former Harvard president Larry Summers—swiftly condemned the Kennedy School’s action and called for its reversal. The Boston Globe editorial board excoriated Harvard, and the story was picked up by a growing number of media outlets in the US and worldwide—NPR, the AP, The Guardian, Haaretz, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Jerusalem Post, Al Jazeera, among them. (Israeli papers made it front-page news.) The article went viral on social media, and 19 Harvard student groups condemned Elmendorf’s decision and called for his resignation.

Elmendorf maintained his silence. And then, on January 19, The New York Times reported that the Kennedy School and Elmendorf reversed course. In an e-mail to the Kennedy School community, Elmendorf said his decision had been an “error” and that the school would be extending an invitation to Roth, who noted that “penalizing people for criticizing Israel is hardly limited to me.” The Nation commends Harvard’s decision and celebrates the power of independent accountability journalism. Read the original report here.

Ex-Provost, Harvard Corporation Member Will Investigate Stanford President’s Scientific Misconduct Allegations

A Harvard Corporation member and a former Harvard provost will help investigate Stanford’s president for potential academic misconduct in journal articles he co-authored, a Stanford special committee announced last week.Steven E. Hyman, who served for a decade as Harvard’s provost ...

A Harvard Corporation member and a former Harvard provost will help investigate Stanford’s president for potential academic misconduct in journal articles he co-authored, a Stanford special committee announced last week.

Steven E. Hyman, who served for a decade as Harvard’s provost from 2001 to 2011, and Shirley M. Tilghman, a former Princeton president who now serves on Harvard's highest governing body, the Harvard Corporation, will serve on a five-person scientific panel investigating Stanford President Marc T. Tessier-Lavigne.

Tessier-Lavigne has been an author on at least four neuroscience papers that allegedly contain manipulated images. The Stanford Daily first reported allegations of academic misconduct against Tessier-Lavigne in November 2022.

Stanford claims Tessier-Lavigne was informed of the allegations in 2015 and attempted to correct them, and that the images have no bearing on the papers’ findings. Experts — and the journal Science, which published one of the papers — disagree, the Daily reported.

Hours after the Daily published its report, the Stanford Board of Trustees announced that a special committee would investigate the allegations. In December, the special committee said that Mark R. Filip, a former federal judge and former U.S. deputy attorney general who now works with the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, would lead the investigation.

Last week, Carol C. Lam, a Stanford trustee and the special committee’s chairperson, announced that Filip, a Harvard Law School alum, had convened a scientific panel to assist him. Some of the nation’s top neuroscientists and biologists, including Hyman and Tilghman, will serve on the five-person body.

A spokesperson for the special committee wrote in an emailed statement that panel members were selected for their research integrity expertise, academic publishing experience, and reputation among scientists.

Though scientists at the panel’s level of experience are likely familiar with Tessier-Lavigne and his work, Filip and the committee are confident that the panelists will maintain impartiality, the spokesperson added.

A Stanford trustee, Felix J. Baker, previously stepped down from the special committee after the Daily reported that he had a financial stake in Tessier-Lavigne’s biotech company.

Hyman, a professor of stem cell and regenerative biology, led the National Institute of Mental Health from 1996 to 2001 and served as Harvard’s provost between 2001 and 2011. As provost, Hyman developed numerous interfaculty initiatives and helped create the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology.

During Hyman’s tenure as provost, several Harvard professors faced challenges to the academic integrity of their work. Most notably, former psychology professor Marc D. Hauser resigned in 2011 after the Faculty of Arts and Sciences found him responsible for academic misconduct in three published articles.

Other allegations of academic misconduct during Hyman’s tenure included charges of plagiarism against former Harvard School of Public Health assistant professor Ali A. Sultan in 2004 and former Harvard Medical School professor Lee S. Simon in 2009, both of whom resigned following the allegations. During Hyman's tenure, former HMS professor and Nobel laureate Linda B. Buck also retracted three academic papers, including one featuring research conducted at Harvard.

Tilghman, who was president of Princeton from 2001 to 2013, is a renowned molecular biologist who chaired the committee that reviewed Harvard’s life sciences program and also served on a committee that advised then-Dean of Radcliffe College Drew G. Faust as it became the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study. Tilghman was elected to the Harvard Corporation in 2015.

The panel’s scientific evaluation is ongoing, the release from the special committee said. There is no specific deadline for the completion of their work, according to a committee spokesperson.

Along with Hyman and Tilghman, the panel also includes Scripps College neuroscience professor Hollis T. Cline, Duke psychiatry and neurobiology professor Kafui Dzirasa, and University of California, Berkeley professor Randy W. Schekman — the recipient of a 2013 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

Hyman and Tilghman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Kim Kardashian Gives a Speech at Harvard After Kanye West's Wedding to Bianca

Business as usual. Kim Kardashian traveled to Boston on Friday, January 20, to surprise students at Harvard Business School.The r...

Business as usual. Kim Kardashian traveled to Boston on Friday, January 20, to surprise students at Harvard Business School.

The reality star, 42, made an unexpected visit as a guest lecturer for a direct-to-consumer session, according to NBC Boston. The outlet also shared footage of Kardashian leaving the university after spending nearly two hours discussing her business ventures in a classroom.

The KKW Beauty founder’s appearance was presumably filmed for an upcoming episode of Hulu’s The Kardashians since a camera crew was seen leaving with her.

The outing comes one week after Us Weekly confirmed that the California native’s ex-husband Kanye West had a “small marriage ceremony” with Yeezy employee Bianca Censori. “Friends don’t know if it’s legal, but it’s very real to them,” a source exclusively told Us about the event.

Ahead of the union, the rapper, 45, was spotted spending time with Censori, 27, in Los Angeles. Earlier this month, photos emerged of the pair holding hands as they headed into the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. On a separate occasion, West and Censori appeared comfortable with each other’s company during a dinner date.

The businessman’s new flame marks his first relationship since his divorce from the Hulu personality was finalized in November 2022. West was also linked to Irina Shayk, Julia Fox, Chaney Jones and Juliana Nalu. The former couple, who got married in 2014, share kids North, 9, Saint, 7, Chicago, 5, and Psalm, 3.

According to paperwork obtained by Us at the time, Kardashian and West will receive joint custody with “equal access” to their four children. The record producer will also be required to pay his ex-wife $200,000 a month for child support and is responsible for 50 percent of their kids’ educational and security expenses.

The Skims founder recently raised eyebrows when she offered a rare glimpse at their coparenting dynamic.

“I am holding on by a thread. I know that I am so close to that not happening, but while it is still that way, I will protect that to the end of the Earth as long as I can,” she explained on the “Angie Martinez IRL” podcast in December 2022, referring to West’s controversial social media behavior. “My kids don’t know anything. So, at school, some of my best friends are the teachers so I know what goes on at recess and lunch time. I hear what is being talked about.”

Kardashian recalled her attempts to “protect” her children from seeing their father’s public comments.

“I definitely protected him, and I still will in the eyes of my kids. For my kids. So, in my home, my kids don’t know anything that goes on [in] the outside world,” she continued. “It is [a full-time job]. It is worth it because I think that of course I want to disassociate in specific thoughts and things being said because that is not me.”

The aspiring attorney continued: “But at the same time in my home I could be going through something, but if we are riding to school and they want to listen to their dad’s music — no matter what we are going through — I have to have that smile on my face and blast his music and sing along with my kids. [I can] act like nothing is wrong and as soon as I drop them off, I can have a good cry.”

Research, education, and connection in the face of war

“I wouldn’t let the aggressor in the war squash my dreams,” says Ukrainian mathematician and MITx MicroMasters learner Tetiana Herasymova. Tetiana Herasymova registered for her MITx program’s final exams just days prior to moving into a bomb shelter. Despite war all around her, Herasymova remained determined to complete her goal — she passed all of her exams in May, the final step to earning her MITx MicroMasters certificate in statistics and data science.When Russian forces invaded Ukraine in Febr...

“I wouldn’t let the aggressor in the war squash my dreams,” says Ukrainian mathematician and MITx MicroMasters learner Tetiana Herasymova.

Tetiana Herasymova registered for her MITx program’s final exams just days prior to moving into a bomb shelter. Despite war all around her, Herasymova remained determined to complete her goal — she passed all of her exams in May, the final step to earning her MITx MicroMasters certificate in statistics and data science.

When Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Tetiana Herasymova had several decisions to make: What should she do, where should she live, and should she take her MITx MicroMasters capstone exams? She had registered for the Statistics and Data Science Program’s final exams just days prior to moving out of her apartment and into a bomb shelter. Although it was difficult to focus on studying and preparations with air horns sounding overhead and uncertainty lingering around her, she was determined to try. “I wouldn’t let the aggressor in the war squash my dreams,” she says.

A love of research and the desire to improve teaching

An early love of solving puzzles and problems for fun piqued Herasymova’s initial interest in mathematics. When she later pursued her PhD in mathematics at Kiev National Taras Shevchenko University, Herasymova’s love of math evolved into a love of research. Throughout Herasymova’s career, she’s worked to close the gap between scientific researchers and educators. Starting as a math tutor at MBA Strategy, a company that prepares Ukrainian leaders for qualifying standardized tests for MBA programs, she was later promoted as the head of their test preparation department. Afterward, she moved on to an equivalent position at ZNOUA, a new project that prepared high school students for Ukraine’s standardized test, and she eventually became ZNOUA’s CEO.

In 2018, she founded Prosteer, a “self-learning community” of educators who share research, pedagogy, and experience to learn from one another. “It’s really interesting to have a community of teachers from different domains,” she says, speaking of educators and researchers whose specialties range across language, mathematics, physics, music, and more.

Implementing new pedagogical research in the classroom is often up to educators who seek out studies on an individual basis, Herasymova has found. “Lots of scientists are not practitioners,” she says, and the reverse is also true. She only became more determined to build these connections once she was promoted to head of test preparation at MBA Strategy because she wanted to share more effective pedagogy with the tutors she was mentoring.

First, Herasymova knew she needed a way to measure the teachers’ effectiveness. She was able to determine whether students who received the company’s tutoring services improved their scores. Moreover, Ukraine keeps an open-access database of national standardized test scores, so anyone could analyze the data in hopes of improving the level of education in the country. She says, “I could do some analytics because I am a mathematician, but I knew I could do much more with this data if I knew data science and machine learning knowledge.”

That’s why Herasymova sought out the MITx MicroMasters Program in Statistics and Data Science offered by the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS). “I wanted to learn the fundamentals so I could join the Learning Analytics domain,” she says. She was looking for a comprehensive program that covered the foundations without being overly basic. “I had some knowledge from the ground, so I could see the deepness of that course,” she says. Because of her background as an instructional designer, she thought the MicroMasters curriculum was well-constructed, calling the variety of videos, practice problems, and homework assignments that encouraged learners to approach the course material in different ways, “a perfect experience.”

Another benefit of the MicroMasters program was its online format. “I had my usual work, so it was impossible to study in a stationary way,” she says. She found the structure to be more flexible than other programs. “It’s really great that you can construct your course schedule your own way, especially with your own adult life,” she says.

Determination and support in the midst of war

When the war first forced Herasymova to flee her apartment, she had already registered to take the exams for her four courses. “It was quite hard to prepare for exams when you could hear explosions outside of the bomb shelter,” she says. She and other Ukranians were invited to postpone their exams until the following session, but the next available testing period wouldn’t be held until October. “It was a hard decision, but I had to allow myself to try,” she says. “For all people in Ukraine, when you don’t know if you’re going to live or die, you try to live in the now. You have to appreciate every moment and what life brings to you. You don’t say, ‘Someday’ — you do it today or tomorrow.”

In addition to emotional support from her boyfriend, Herasymova had a group of friends who had also enrolled in the program, and they supported each other through study sessions and an ongoing chat. Herasymova’s personal support network helped her accomplish what she set out to do with her MicroMasters program, and in turn, she was able to support her professional network. While Prosteer halted its regular work during the early stages of the war, Herasymova was determined to support the community of educators and scientists that she had built. They continued meeting weekly to exchange ideas as usual. “It’s intrinsic motivation,” she says. They managed to restore all of their activities by October.

Despite the factors stacked against her, Herasymova’s determination paid off — she passed all of her exams in May, the final step to earning her MicroMasters certificate in statistics and data science. “I just couldn't believe it,” she says. “It was definitely a bifurcation point. The moment when you realize that you have something to rely on, and that life is just beginning to show all its diversity despite the fact that you live in war.” With her newly minted certificate in hand, Herasymova has continued her research on the effectiveness of educational models — analyzing the data herself — with a summer research program at New York University.

The student becomes the master

After moving seven times between February and October, heading west from Kyiv until most recently settling near the border of Poland, Herasymova hopes she’s moved for the last time. Ukrainian Catholic University offered her a position teaching both mathematics and programming. Before enrolling in the MicroMasters Program in Statistics and Data Science, she had some prior knowledge of programming languages and mathematical algorithms, but she didn’t know Python. She took MITx’s Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python to prepare. “It gave me a huge step forward,” she says. “I learned a lot. Now, not only can I work with Python machine learning models in programming language R, I also have knowledge of the big picture of the purpose and the point to do so.”

In addition to the skills the MicroMasters Program trained her in, she gained firsthand experience in learning new subjects and exploring topics more deeply. She will be sharing that practice with the community of students and teachers she’s built, plus, she plans on guiding them through this course during the next year. As a continuation of her own educational growth, says she’s looking forward to her next MITx course this year, Data Analysis.

Herasymova advises that the best way to keep progressing is investing a lot of time. “Adults don’t want to hear this, but you need one or two years,” she says. “Allow yourself to be stupid. If you’re an expert in one domain and want to switch to another, or if you want to understand something new, a lot of people don’t ask questions or don’t ask for help. But from this point, if I don’t know something, I know I should ask for help because that’s the start of learning. With a fixed mindset, you won’t grow.”

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