Elder Services Executive Director Wins National Leadership Award

Rosanne Distefano, Executive Director of Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley was presented the Excellence in Leadership Award from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging during the n4a Annual Conference in San Diego, CA. Rosanne was one of three individuals recognized nationally for their work in the field of aging.

Rosanne has 40 plus years of experience working at Elder Services where she began as a case manager. For the last 35 years, she has provided leadership and direction to an agency that has grown from a small staff to over 300 professionals who serve clients in the 23 cities and towns across the Merrimack Valley. Her mission has always been to support the 80,000 elders and their families who reside here with the choice to live in the community as safely and as independently as possible.

Rosanne was recognized for her leadership abilities and her capacity to serve as a catalyst for new ideas and quality programming that would meet the diverse needs of older consumers. Over the years, she has successfully pursued millions of dollars in federal funding to develop affordable and supportive housing sites, helped establish an Aging and Disability Resource Center, the first of its kind in Massachusetts, along with Northeast Independent Living Program. Ten years ago she welcomed the statewide Senior Medicare Patrol Program that investigates Medicare fraud and abuse and has been a strong and vocal supporter in building the capacity of SHINE programs that impact thousands of older adults who need to understand and enroll in a health insurance and prescription coverage plan.

Rosanne was unexpectedly pleased to receive national recognition for her life-time work on behalf of elders. However, it was not the first time her success has been celebrated. In 1999 she received the Nonprofit of the Year Award from the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce. In 2005 she was honored with the Saint Marguerite D’Youville Pilgrimage of Love Award, “For outstanding contributions to elders and the larger community,” from MI Health Care Services. And, in 2016 North of Boston Business Magazine selected Rosanne as one of the exceptional, creative and innovative women in the North of Boston region.

Board President, Rosanne Robillard states “The Board has witnessed a true passion Rosanne has for her work on behalf of elders. And, over the years we have been impressed with her vision to see trends in the types of services and programs that kept us focused on our mission to keep elders in the community. We are always very pleased when Rosanne is recognized for her dedication, passion and leadership ability. It is exciting to see Rosanne receive this award on a National stage and the work that it represents.”