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Home Care in Watertown, 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 Watertown, 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 Watertown, 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 Watertown, MA. Always Best Care is here to help.

How does In-home Senior Care in Watertown, 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 Watertown, MA

Types of In-home Care in Watertown, MA

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

 Elderly Care Watertown, 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 Watertown, 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 Watertown, 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 Watertown, 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 Watertown, 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 Watertown, 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 Watertown, 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 Watertown, 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 Watertown, 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 Watertown, 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 Watertown, 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 Watertown,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 Watertown, MA

Fusion breakthrough is a milestone for climate, clean energy

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announces a major scientific breakthrough in fusion research that was made at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, during a news conference at the Department of Energy in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)FILE - This undated image provided by the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory shows the NIF Target Bay in Livermore, Calif. The system uses 192 laser beams converging at the center of this giant sphere to ma...

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announces a major scientific breakthrough in fusion research that was made at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, during a news conference at the Department of Energy in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

FILE - This undated image provided by the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory shows the NIF Target Bay in Livermore, Calif. The system uses 192 laser beams converging at the center of this giant sphere to make a tiny hydrogen fuel pellet implode. Officials at the Department of Energy say on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, there will be an announcement of a “major scientific breakthrough” on nuclear fusion. (Damien Jemison/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory via AP, File)

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, center, joined from left by Arati Prabhakar, the president's science adviser, and National Nuclear Security Administration Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Marvin Adams, discusses a major scientific breakthrough in fusion research that was made at the lab in California, during a news conference at the Department of Energy in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Kim Budil, director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, center, is flanked by Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, left, and Arati Prabhakar, the president's science adviser, as they announce a major scientific breakthrough in fusion research that was made at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, during a news conference at the Department of Energy in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A major scientific breakthrough in fusion research is announced at the Department of Energy with, from left, Kim Budil, director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, National Nuclear Security Administration director Jill Hruby, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, National Nuclear Security Administration Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Marvin Adams, and Arati Prabhakar, the president's science adviser, in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, center, joined from left by Arati Prabhakar, the president's science adviser, and National Nuclear Security Administration Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Marvin Adams, discusses a major scientific breakthrough in fusion research that was made at the lab in California, during a news conference at the Department of Energy in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists announced Tuesday that they have for the first time produced more energy in a fusion reaction than was used to ignite it — a major breakthrough in the decades-long quest to harness the process that powers the sun.

Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California achieved the result last week, the Energy Department said. Known as a net energy gain, the goal has been elusive because fusion happens at such high temperatures and pressures that it is incredibly difficult to control.

The breakthrough will pave the way for advancements in national defense and the future of clean power, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and other officials said.

“Ignition allows us to replicate for the first time certain conditions that are found only in the stars and the sun,'' Granholm told a news conference in Washington. “This milestone moves us one significant step closer” to having zero-carbon fusion energy “powering our society.”

Fusion ignition is “one of the most impressive scientific feats of the 21st century,″ Granholm said, adding that the breakthrough "will go down in the history books."

Appearing with Granholm, White House science adviser Arati Prabhakar called the fusion ignition achieved Dec. 5 “a tremendous example of what perseverance really can achieve" and "an engineering marvel beyond belief.''

Proponents of fusion hope it could one day displace fossil fuels and other traditional energy sources. Producing carbon-free energy that powers homes and businesses from fusion is still decades away. But researchers said the announcement marked a significant leap forward.

“It’s almost like it’s a starting gun going off,” said professor Dennis Whyte, director of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a leader in fusion research. "We should be pushing towards making fusion energy systems available to tackle climate change and energy security.”

Kim Budil, director of the Livermore Lab, said there are “very significant hurdles” to commercial use of fusion technology, but advances in recent years mean the technology is likely to be widely used in “a few decades” rather than 50 or 60 years as previously expected.

Fusion works by pressing hydrogen atoms into each other with such force that they combine into helium, releasing enormous amounts of energy and heat. Unlike other nuclear reactions, it doesn't create radioactive waste.

President Joe Biden called the breakthrough a good example of the need to continue to invest in research and development. “Look what’s going on from the Department of Energy on the nuclear front. There’s a lot of good news on the horizon,” he said at the White House.

Billions of dollars and decades of work have gone into fusion research that has produced exhilarating results — for fractions of a second. Previously, researchers at the National Ignition Facility, the division of Lawrence Livermore where the success took place, used 192 lasers and temperatures multiple times hotter than the center of the sun to create an extremely brief fusion reaction.

The lasers focused an enormous amount of heat on a miniature spherical capsule, said Marvin Adams, deputy administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, an Energy Department agency. The result was a superheated plasma environment where a reaction generated about 1.5 times more energy than was contained in the light used to produce it.

Riccardo Betti, a professor at the University of Rochester and expert in laser fusion, said there's a long road ahead before the net energy gain leads to sustainable electricity.

He likened the breakthrough to when humans first learned that refining oil into gasoline and igniting it could produce an explosion. “You still don't have the engine, and you still don't have the tires,” Betti said. “You can't say that you have a car.”

The net energy gain achievement applied to the fusion reaction itself, not the total amount of power it took to operate the lasers and run the project. For fusion to be viable, it will need to produce significantly more power and for longer periods.

Budil said people sometimes joke that the Livermore lab, known as LLNL, “stands for ‘Lasers, Lasers, Nothing but Lasers.’" But she said the lab's motto "sums up our approach nicely: Science and technology on a mission."

It is incredibly difficult to control the physics of stars. Whyte said the fuel has to be hotter than the center of the sun. The fuel does not want to stay hot — it wants to leak out and get cold. Containing it is a challenge, he said.

Results from the California lab exceeded expectations, said Jeremy Chittenden, a professor at Imperial College in London specializing in plasma physics.

Although there's a long way to go to turn fusion into a usable power source, Chittenden said, the lab’s achievement makes him optimistic that it may someday be "the ideal power source that we thought it would be” — one that emits no carbon and runs on an abundant form of hydrogen that can be extracted from seawater.

One approach to fusion turns hydrogen into plasma, an electrically charged gas, which is then controlled by humongous magnets. This method is being explored in France in a collaboration among 35 countries called the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, as well as by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a private company.

Last year the teams working on those projects on two continents announced significant advancements in the vital magnets needed for their work.

Carolyn Kuranz, a University of Michigan professor and experimental plasma physicist, hoped the result would help bring “increased interest and vigor” to fusion research — including from private industry, which she and others said will be needed to get fusion energy to the grid.

"If we want to prevent further climate change, we are going to need diverse options of energy production to deploy,” Kuranz said. “And nuclear energy — both fission and fusion — really must be a part of that equation. We’re not going to get there with renewables alone.”

Daly reported from Washington, Burakoff from New York, Phillis from St. Louis and McDermott from Providence, R.I.

Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Portsmouth Woman Indicted On Shooting Incident: Rockingham Court

Seabrook man indicted on strangulation, threat charges; felon indicted on gun, other charges; Maine man indicted on fentanyl dealing charge.BRENTWOOD, NH — The following people were indicted recently in Rockingham County Superior Court.Bruce B. Labarge Jr., 45, of Billings Street in Manchester on a felony theft by unauthorized taking charge. He was accused of stealing groceries from Market Basket in Londonderry on Dec. 27, 2019, after being convicted on theft charges twice before.Sean R. Lanouette, 38, of Laraway...

Seabrook man indicted on strangulation, threat charges; felon indicted on gun, other charges; Maine man indicted on fentanyl dealing charge.

BRENTWOOD, NH — The following people were indicted recently in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Bruce B. Labarge Jr., 45, of Billings Street in Manchester on a felony theft by unauthorized taking charge. He was accused of stealing groceries from Market Basket in Londonderry on Dec. 27, 2019, after being convicted on theft charges twice before.

Sean R. Lanouette, 38, of Laraway Court in Derry on a felony second-degree assault-strangulation-domestic violence charge. He was accused of strangling an intimate partner on Aug. 12 in Derry.

Joseph J. Lavita, 59, of Tsienneto Road in Derry on felon in possession of a firearm and theft by unauthorized taking-firearm charges, both felonies, as well as a violation of a protective order charge. He was accused of possessing a stolen CZ600 LUX .223 rifle in Londonderry on July 7 after being convicted on a felony larceny charge in Quincy MA District Court in February 1993. The protective order charge was connected to a Bridgton Maine District Court order from May 4 prohibiting him from possessing a firearm.

Matthew Ryan Ledoux, 32, of Rockingham Village in Seabrook on domestic violence-criminal threatening-deadly weapon, tampering with witnesses and informants, and two domestic violence-second-degree assault-strangulation charges, all felonies. He was accused of strangling an intimate partner twice, holding a knife to her throat and telling her he was going to kill her, or words to that effect, telling her, while assaulting her, he would kill her if she called the cops on Aug. 10 in Seabrook.

Llynya Louise Leon-Green, 24, of Wedgewood Road in Portsmouth on second-degree assault and reckless conduct-deadly weapon charges, both felonies. She was accused of shooting another person in the abdomen on June 27 in Portsmouth.

Kyle Lloyd, 22, of Greenwood Avenue in Skowhegan, Maine, on a felony possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute charge. He was accused of working in concert with Cody Mosher and Dakota Merrill to sell the drug on Nov. 10, 2020, in Portsmouth.

Ronald Lombardi, 57, of Village Road in Manchester on a felony theft by deception charge. He was accused of depositing checks and failing to do electrical work in Raymond between Aug. 27 and Sept. 18, 2020.

Gregory B. Macpeek, 58, of Arsenal Street in Watertown, Massachusetts, on theft by unauthorized taking and receiving stolen property charges, both felonies. He was accused of stealing an audiobook set from Barnes & Noble and retaining LEGOS from Barnes & Noble in Millbury, MA, on June 24 in Salem. Twice before, according to the indictment, Macpeek has been convicted on theft charges.

Lenny Ulysses McClease, 55, of Harrington Way in Worcester, MA, on two felony second-degree assault-strangulation-domestic violence charges. He was accused of strangling an intimate partner up against a wall in Atkinson on Aug. 28.

Got a news tip? Could you send it to [email protected]? View videos on Tony Schinella's YouTube.com channel or Rumble.com channel.

How a pink flamingo prank confounded a Watertown office and intrigued viewers online

The flamingos appeared seemingly out of nowhere.They were taped to office cubicles, nestled in potted plants, and resting on conference room tables.When the palm-sized plastic birds showed up last summer at Charlesbridge Publishing in Watertown, there was no explanation for their sudden arrival, but staff at the small children’s book company were enthralled.Where did they come from? What message were they meant to send? Who was behind their presence?“It started really bothering everyone,” said El...

The flamingos appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

They were taped to office cubicles, nestled in potted plants, and resting on conference room tables.

When the palm-sized plastic birds showed up last summer at Charlesbridge Publishing in Watertown, there was no explanation for their sudden arrival, but staff at the small children’s book company were enthralled.

Where did they come from? What message were they meant to send? Who was behind their presence?

“It started really bothering everyone,” said Ellie Erhart, a design assistant at the company. “Not in a bad way. It was good and happy to receive a flamingo, but it was also like, ‘Who put this here?’”

The mystery persisted for months, before it was eventually resolved at a holiday gift swap in December. The office prank — a whimsical scheme that was equal parts wholesome and mischievous — became an online sensation, after a Twitter thread detailing the practical joke went viral before the holidays. Since then, it’s inspired legions of officemates to bring some levity to the workplace.

Her 16-member team at the company wouldn’t figure it out for months, but inspiration for the stunt struck for Charlesbridge senior editor Karen Boss in June, when she spotted a set of string lights, each tiny bulb encased in a pink flamingo made of frosted plastic, while helping her mother clean out a shed.

They were bound for the trash, but Boss had an idea: The adorable birds deserved a better fate than the landfill, she thought, and they should make people smile one last time.

So she brought them home and, early one morning, placed several of them on her coworkers’ desks anonymously.

“My main motivation, just in general, is to make people happy,” Boss said. “And so I really figured that this might be just a cute, fun thing as we were coming back to the office” after COVID-19 restrictions.

She had no idea just how far her colleagues would take it, or that the mysterious birds would become the talk of the office for half the year.

When Mira Kennedy, a 25-year-old production associate, was “flamingo-ed,” she snapped a picture and posted it on Slack, a messaging app for businesses.

“Where did these come from?” she wrote.

But no one confessed.

“We were all very confused, and a little delighted,” Kennedy said. “We suspected everyone. Everyone was just pointing fingers. It was a bit like a fun witch hunt.”

Theories spread quickly. Alibis were checked. Evidence was cross-referenced. Once, when an editor loudly lamented not having a flamingo, and then promptly received one, staffers scrambled to figure out who was in earshot at the time.

Due to a company COVID policy, Charlesbridge kept a log of who was in the office and when, so someone decided to consult it to look for clues.

But Boss was always two steps ahead.

“That didn’t work because Karen came in on her days off all sneakily-like,” Kennedy said. “I never thought someone would commit to this that hard.”

There was so much interest in the flamingos that Boss had to track down and buy some more online, to make sure everyone got one. To cover her tracks, she put a flamingo on her own desk, too.

This wasn’t the first time Boss surprised people with anonymous acts of whimsy. During the doldrums of the pandemic, she secretly distributed 100 tiny wooden hearts to her neighbors’ mailboxes in Dedham, and later walked the streets with a bag of googly eyes and stuck them on signs and telephone polls to make them look like faces.

“I have this little history of leaving cute things for people to find that might bring them a little bit of a smile in their day,” she said.

But the flamingo caper was her longest con yet — one that finally came to a “grand finale” around the holidays.

During the company’s “secret Santa” exchange, she slipped a plastic flamingo into a gift bag. When an employee reached inside and pulled it out, the reaction was pure chaos.

“She actually held it way up in the air,” Boss said. “Everyone started to scream and the whole room erupted. It was really fantastic.”

Erhart said people might think she was exaggerating, “but it was absolutely as dramatic as she said it was. There was literally yelling.”

Boss was proud of her months-long plan, so she posted a play-by-play on Twitter in mid-December. In no time, the light-hearted story became a sensation as thousands of comments flowed in from admirers around the world.

As of Wednesday, the thread had been viewed nearly 10 million times.

One person called it “the cutest thing ever to have happened.”

“My favorite story of the year,” another person said.

Some commenters shared their own stories of heart-warming pranks, while others said it felt like a Christmas movie come to life — or, more fittingly, a children’s book.

The tale came at exactly the right time, when angst and discord on social media has seemed to intensify.

“Twitter is sort of having some major issues at the moment, but during the holidays people love these kinds of feel good things,” Boss said. “I think that’s why it resonated.”

Boss was particularly fond of those who took note of her first name, and the bad rap it can get online.

“Some people were saying, ‘This is the Karen we need,’” she said.

Most of all, she’s pleased that her tale has made people want to cook up similar stunts with their coworkers.

“I do hope people go back to their offices in the new year and try to bring some joy to their space,” she said. “I think that would be really awesome.”

‘There’s a dam breaking:’ Cities and towns start to kick fossil fuels with new building code

INTO THE RED: Climate and the fight of our livesBrookline and Watertown last week became the first communities in the state to adopt a new building code discouraging the use of fossil fuels in new buildings, and 22 more cities and towns have signaled they intend to take similar action, in what climate advocates say is the first large-scale test of Massachusetts’ willingness to wean itself from gas and oil.The new...

INTO THE RED: Climate and the fight of our lives

Brookline and Watertown last week became the first communities in the state to adopt a new building code discouraging the use of fossil fuels in new buildings, and 22 more cities and towns have signaled they intend to take similar action, in what climate advocates say is the first large-scale test of Massachusetts’ willingness to wean itself from gas and oil.

The new code, finalized by the state Department of Energy Resources last month, adds new requirements to the current building codes in communities that choose to adopt it. It stops short of being an outright ban of fossil fuel heat, but by requiring stringent energy efficiency measures and add-ons like solar panels in buildings that plan to install gas line connections, it is likely to sharply curtail it.

While the new code addresses only new construction, it is seen as a major foray into the contentious question of whether residents will accept a shift away from fossil fuels. And as communities across the state debate opting in, advocates say that city council and town meetings will become the front lines in the effort to address one of the state’s biggest sources of climate-warming emissions: heating homes.

“This effort to get a municipality to opt in is going to invigorate grass-roots politics in 2023 like you’ve never seen before,” said Senator Michael Barrett, coauthor of the 2021 climate bill that required the creation of the new, optional building code.

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In addition to the requirement for solar panels, the code requires developers building with gas or oil to shell out for additional electrical wiring, so the building can go fully electric in the future and parking lots are ready for EV chargers.

The 24 communities planning to take the step represent a fifth of the state’s population, according to Lisa Cunningham, cofounder of ZeroCarbonMA, a nonprofit developing local climate policy and working with communities to exert influence at the state level. In addition to Watertown and Brookline, the list includes Cambridge, Wellesley, Arlington, Acton, Belmont, Concord, and Lincoln, she said.

The new building code is the state’s second stab at cutting fossil fuels from new buildings. A pilot program approved by the Legislature last year allowed 10 cities or towns to participate in a program that goes even further, allowing them to ban fossil fuels entirely from new construction and major renovations.

In order to take part in the pilot, municipalities have to meet certain requirements, including having at least 10 percent affordable housing. The final group will likely include Cambridge, Brookline, Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Acton, and Aquinnah. It is unclear whether Newton and Arlington will meet the requirements. Boston, Somerville, Northampton, and Salem have also said they would like to take part. The decision will ultimately be made by the Department of Energy Resources. Barrett said he expects at least some of the municipalities in the pilot to be phasing in their bans before the end of the year.

The effort to ban fossil fuels from buildings has faced corners of fierce resistance. Though a number of developers have embraced the move to make climate-friendly buildings and are already doing so, some trade groups and labor unions have resisted any kind of ban or altered building code that would limit fossil fuels in new buildings.

Anastasia Nicolaou, vice president of policy and public affairs at NAIOP Massachusetts, a commercial real estate trade group, said their members “are concerned with the consistency issues that may arise due to neighboring municipalities operating under differing codes; and a lack of general consistency across the Commonwealth as we try to tackle statewide climate strategies.”

“There are going to be some conflicts, and I think we have a long road ahead of us,” said Logan Malik, interim executive director of the Massachusetts Climate Action Network. Some of the thorny concerns, he said, will be worries that the new code could hamper development or push affordable housing costs up.

“I don’t think that’s going to be the case, but it’s going to be a conversation and it’s going to involve a lot of engagement, education and discussion,” Malik said.

Meanwhile, advocates said the state’s ability to slash building emissions deeply enough to meet climate targets depends on the mass adoption of the new code, and some worry that too many of the more than 300 municipalities that have yet to make a decision could opt out. Legislation mandating statewide restrictions on fossil fuels may be necessary to meet the emissions targets, they said.

Even some of the most staunch supporters of the electrification movement have some concerns about the new code. Kyle Murray, the Massachusetts program director for the clean energy advocacy group Acadia Center, said that some additional measures may be needed to ensure low income residents are not negatively impacted, though he noted that on the whole, things are moving in the right direction.

“Cities and towns are leading the way, and I think we’re going to see a sort of point where — I don’t want to use disaster metaphors — but there’s a dam breaking,” Murray said. “We’re going to see these cities and towns do it and then we’re going to see so many more cities and towns say, ‘Oh, yeah, we can do this too.’ ”

The new code arose from a provision in the 2021 state climate bill that required the Department of Energy Resources to write a special “net-zero” version of the state’s building code. The authors of the bill had intended the new code to provide a way for communities to ban fossil fuels entirely, but ultimately, the code fell short by continuing to allow a pathway to using fossil fuels.

When the state finalized the new building code last month, it recommended that municipalities provide for at least six months of advance notice to developers before implementing it, and that the codes start on either July 1, 2023, or Jan. 1, 2024. Both Watertown and Brookline aim to start using the new code on July 1.

In Watertown, Steven Magoon, director of community development and planning, saidthe decision to adopt the new code is the city’s way of ensuring new development is done in a climate-resilient way.

“There’s already been a shift,” said Magoon. “But if we’re going to meet our climate and energy goals, it needs to be more dramatic.”

And with that #BrooklineTownMeeting becomes the first MA muni to adopt the new #SpecializedStretch code. An important step toward all-electric new building requirements. Vote is 202-19. @MarkSandeen @TommyVitolo @cindycreem Let's stop digging the hole deeper! @BrosForDecarb https://t.co/NmFNhFN3qi pic.twitter.com/blEDSgtyFZ

— ZeroCarbonMA (@EVs_Brookline) January 11, 2023

Watertown community cable week of Jan. 23

Monday, Jan. 23 — 8 a.m., Mayor McFarland’s weekly roundup; 8:30 a.m., Speaking of Horses; 9 a.m., Municipal Band Concert; 11 a.m., St. Mark’s Church Service; 1:30 p.m., Carol’s Kitchen; 2 p.m., Cozy with Jill and Lisa; 3:30 p.m., WHS Girls Basketball vs Beaver Dam; 6 p.m., St. Mark’s Church Service; 7 p.m., Cozy with Jill & Lisa and 8:30 p.m., WHS Boys Basketball vs Sauk Prairie.Tuesday, Jan. 24—8 a.m., Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Service; 9 ...

Monday, Jan. 23 — 8 a.m., Mayor McFarland’s weekly roundup; 8:30 a.m., Speaking of Horses; 9 a.m., Municipal Band Concert; 11 a.m., St. Mark’s Church Service; 1:30 p.m., Carol’s Kitchen; 2 p.m., Cozy with Jill and Lisa; 3:30 p.m., WHS Girls Basketball vs Beaver Dam; 6 p.m., St. Mark’s Church Service; 7 p.m., Cozy with Jill & Lisa and 8:30 p.m., WHS Boys Basketball vs Sauk Prairie.

Tuesday, Jan. 24—8 a.m., Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Service; 9 a.m., River Valley Church Service; 11 a.m., Christ United Methodist Church Service; noon, Immanuel Lutheran Church Service; 1:30 p.m., Carol’s Kitchen; 2 p.m., Chamber Chat; 3 p.m., Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Service; 4 p.m., River Valley Church Service; 5 p.m., ICAN; 6 p.m., Christ United Methodist Church Service; 7 p.m., Immanuel Lutheran Church Service; 8 p.m., WHS Boys Basketball vs Beaver Dam.

Wednesday, Jan. 25—8 a.m., ICAN; 9 a.m., Trinity Lutheran Church Service; 10 a.m., Music for the Master; 10:30 a.m., Carol’s Kitchen; 11:00 a.m., Calvary Baptist Church Service; noon, Cozy with Jill and Lisa; 1 p.m., Sports Talk; 2 p.m., Chamber Chat; 3 p.m., St. John’s Lutheran Watertown; 4 p.m., Trinity Lutheran Church Service; 5 p.m., ICAN; 6 p.m., Calvary Baptist Church Service; 7 p.m., Common Council Meeting; 8 p.m., Promised Land Ministries Church Service and 9 p.m., St. John’s Lutheran Watertown.

Thursday, Jan. 26—8 a.m., Common Council Meeting; 9 a.m., Carol’s Kitchen; 10 a.m., First Congregational United Church of Christ Service; 11 a.m., Moravian Church Service; noon, St. Matthew’s Church Service; 1 p.m., Cozy with Jill and Lisa; 3:30 p.m., Madison Area Concert Handbells "Silver Bells"; 5 p.m., First Congregational United Church of Christ Service; 6 p.m., Moravian Church Service; 7 p.m., St. Matthew’s Church Service; 8 p.m., ICAN and 9 p.m. Chamber Chat.

Friday, Jan. 27—8 a.m., St. Luke’s Church Service; 9 a.m., Euterpe Music Club; 10 a.m., St. John’s Ixonia Church Service; 11 a.m., Veterans Day Ceremony 2022; 2 p.m., Municipal Band Concert; 3 p.m., St. Luke’s Church Service; 5 p.m., St. John’s Ixonia Church Service; 6 p.m., Flashback Film Fridays.

Saturday, Jan. 28— 8 a.m., Mayor McFarland’s Weekly Roundup; 9 a.m., Carol’s Kitchen; 9:30 a.m., Music for the Master; 10 a.m., Municipal band Concert; 1 p.m., Sports Talk; 1:30 p.m., WHS Girls Basketball vs Westosha Central; 4 p.m., Cozy with Jill & Lisa; 5 p.m., Chamber Chat; 5:30 p.m., Carol’s Kitchen; 6 p.m., ICAN; 7 p.m., Sports Talk with Jamie Koepp; 9 p.m., Seventh Day Adventist Church Service and 10 p.m., Cozy with Jill and Lisa.

Sunday, Jan. 29—7 a.m., Seventh Day Adventist Church Service; 8 a.m., River Valley Alliance Church Service; 9 a.m., Music for the Master; 10 a.m., St. Matthew’s Church Service; 11 a.m., Trinity Lutheran Church Service; noon, St. John’s Lutheran Watertown; 1 p.m., St. Mark’s Regular Church Service; 2 p.m., Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Service; 3 p.m., Christ United Methodist Church Service; 4 p.m., Immanuel Lutheran Church Service; 5 p.m., Calvary Baptist Church Service; 6. p.m., First Congregational United Church of Christ Service; 7 p.m., Moravian Church Service; 8 p.m., St. Luke’s Church Service; 9 p.m., St. John’s Ixonia Church Service; 10 p.m., Promised Land Ministries Church Services.

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