Claire joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in October 2017 upon retirement. With her husband still working full time, Claire quickly realized she needed something rewarding to occupy her new free time, found SHS and was excited to be able to do something she loved — helping others!
Prior to working with SHS, Claire worked as a Surgical Technologist in various operating rooms for more than 50 years… quite an accomplishment! She loves how she now has flexibility in her work schedule and how well she’s been matched with each of her clients’ personalities.
Claire notes how each of her client experiences are unique but often they spend a lot of time reminiscing and sharing each others’ life stories. Laughter and music is also a big part of her client experience and she loves singing with clients and finding the fun in everything they do together. She also takes clients on errands, like grocery shopping, doctor appointments and even hair appointments, which has changed up a bit right now due to COVID.
She has one client whom she’d often shop with then enjoy walks along the Charles River, visits to museums, libraries and even out to lunch. With the pandemic, she’s continued shopping with her and now they prepare lunch and visit together safely in the clients’ own apartment and still enjoy their time spent together.
Museum visits are a favorite of Claire’s with clients, and something she’s excited to do again. One of her best SHS memories is visiting the Museum of Fine Arts with a client who could guide her through every single exhibit and artist there!
When she’s not with her SHS clients, Claire enjoys working out and spending time with her husband, daughter and grandson.
Jeff joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest at the end of June 2020 and dove right in with helping our team! She had recently lost her volunteer job at Emerson Hospital due to COVID-19 but still wanted to be involved in the community, and her neighbor Ed, another one of our caregivers, referred her to us.
Prior to working with SHS, Jeff held various sales and marketing roles for 40 years and then worked as a F.I.S.H. Coordinator. She is a natural-born helper, and loves being a part of a team of people who love what they do, helping others.
With SHS, Jeff provides companionship, performs light household chores like fixing meals and doing laundry, and loves walking and watching Judge Judy with her client (it’s her client’s favorite show!). She is a great listener and loves to talk, bond and connect over shared stories, past memories and laughs.
Jeff dedicates her free time to her dogs and loves to make life fun!
Gerry joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest three years ago after working in various hospital and medical offices for 20+ years. From her career experiences, Gerry has a lot of accrued medical knowledge and an empathic awareness of how to help others going through a difficult time which can be seen in all that she does with SHS.
Gerry was drawn to SHS because of the work we do for the senior community and the opportunity to share, bond and provide entertainment and joy to the lives of others. Upon joining SHS, she dove right in, helping to care for an 100-year-old, inquisitive client in her first month and beyond. Gerry provides friendship and companionship to her clients, often cooking, taking drives and getting them up and moving… whether it’s walking around the grocery store or walking around their home to admire the bird feeders!
In her free time, Gerry is a gratefully happy mother and granny! She loves to continue to learn new things (an avid attendee of our training sessions!) and has an energy that’s contagious and humor that brightens the day, even during these challenging times.
Betsy joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest four years ago, eager to spread love and support, while providing valuable companionship! Betsy came to us with past experience working as a companion, helping people who are isolated and disenfranchised, in prison, shelters and recovery programs. She is also a holistic health educator, Interfaith minister and mediator, committed to helping all of those around her.
Betsy was drawn to SHS because of the sense of community we have amongst our caregivers and the caregiving work we do. She cherishes the relationships she’s built with her clients, and a typical week of caregiving for her includes talking, singing, listening and laughing, walking, meditating, doing puzzles, yoga, cooking and running errands. This has obviously been adjusted due to COVID-19, but Betsy still manages to be present and helpful with her clients. Betsy has also helped many of our caregivers address bereavement, leading our Death Cafes and The Conversation Project.
In her free time, Betsy loves to stay active, travel, visit with friends and family, read and sing in her hospice choir, Journey Songs. Singing is a true passion of hers, and one of her fondest memories is singing with a client, and as his memory faded for words, they would improvise, making up tunes and words with each other, while laughing and dancing. Finding and celebrating the simple joys is something Betsy is incredible at, and we are so thankful for!
As one of our newer caregivers, Cynthia joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in October 2019. Cynthia came to us with past experience working as a companion, pet sitting, ride-share driver and more. She is also a Master Reiki Practitioner, artist and photographer who joined our SHS family eager to help others after she witnessed the care and compassion her father received while being an advocate and primary caregiver for him.
Inspired by her experience caring for her father, and on a path to help and build relationships with adults later in life, Cynthia felt we were the perfect fit and she truly hit the ground running! Cynthia’s typical tasks include general companionship, assisting with tasks and errands, and simply sitting and listening… making sure her clients feel heard and have a passionate advocate in their corner.
Cynthia bonds with her clients by sharing their experiences, stories and lifting each other up through positivity. She always notes that she loves the support she receives from SHS and the genuine feeling of helping others in a significant way. And Cynthia, we are so thankful to have you on our caregiver team
Joodi joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in October 2017, coming to us after looking for a rewarding opportunity to help others in her retirement. After working as a principal for a small Christian school for 36 years, Joodi was attracted to SHS because she’d be able to continue to learn and grow with us, “without having to get up too early in the morning” (which is a well-deserved perk in retirement).
A natural-born helper, Joodi chauffeurs many of her clients, taking them to appointments, the bank, grocery shopping, to the senior center and more, often lending a helping hand as a co-shopper as well on the errand runs. For other clients, especially those with memory loss, Joodi provides companionship, chats and a cup of tea. Joodi loves that she has the ability to choose the activities best for both herself and her clients, noting that she cannot cook, but can certainly help grocery shop!
Joodi loves attending our educational workshops and cherishes the relationships she’s built with our staff and her clients, making lives brighter for those she’s with. In fact, one of her favorite memories is admiring a beautiful sunset with a client with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. The client had lost her memory but not her ability to appreciate the hues and the beautiful sight, which put a smile on her face. It’s the memories and experiences like this that make caregiving such a valuable experience for all of those involved, and Joodi, we’re so grateful for all that you do!
Bill joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in March 2019, coming to us with some incredible prior experience working with the elderly. Bill’s past experience includes working as a Home Health Aide for Mount Auburn Home Care, and later for the Arlington Council on Aging as Transportation Coordinator and Supervisor of Volunteer Program. Bill credits these experiences, as well as working in Tanzania, East Africa in the 1970’s, for his ability to sit, listen and develop meaningful relationships.
Bill cherishes his time spent with seniors, listening to their stories and providing mutually beneficial stimulation for their retirement years. He loves the variety of activities he’s able to share with clients, from long walks and dining out along the Charles River, to museum visits, including the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and sharing root beer floats at Cabot's Ice Cream and Restaurant (a client favorite!).
With a smiling face and friendly personality, everyone who meets Bill feels an instant connection, and we love chatting with him at our Tuesday Evening Support Group and so much more.
Gwen joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in September 2017 and just celebrated two years with us (as well as a birthday… happy birthday, Gwen!). Gwen has always had a caregiver mentality and came to us after retiring from a career as a registered nurse, primarily working in home care, eager for a rewarding role helping seniors more fragile than she. Gwen dove right in with our trainings, quickly getting to know her clients and our other caregivers, and becoming a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP).
Gwen loves working with all different clients and having the ability to approach each person she is caring for uniquely and with creativity. For example, one of her clients lives far away from family and was filling her room at her facility with loose photos they’d send, but needed a better way to display them. Gwen quickly helped her embark on a decorating art project with all the photos they had, placing them on colorful paper and brightening up her room with the new, fresh images. Another client’s brother was worried she was losing weight, and expressed to Gwen that he wanted a companion to help cook and eat meals with her, which turned into a great bonding experience for the two of them.
Small projects, walks outside for fresh air, light housekeeping, cooking and simply listening to and sharing stories… Gwen does it all!>
When she isn’t with us, Gwen is a devoted grandmother and leads up the senior ministry at her church, where she plans and hosts senior nights. She also participates with monthly group singing with the residents at the local Memory Center.
Ginny joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in April 2019 and has been providing excellent companionship to her clients ever since! Decades ago, Ginny worked as an outreach social worker for senior citizens and later volunteered with Meals on Wheels and as a SHINE Medicare counselor, and more recently, she spent several years visiting and helping care for her elderly mother. After her mother’s death, found herself missing caregiving and landed with us at SHS, looking to help those who feel vulnerable to feel safe and connected instead.
With that in mind, Ginny is committed to providing companionship to help defray feelings of loneliness, boredom, anxiety and depression that many seniors often face, especially for those living with dementias and other illnesses. Ginny loves to do activities with her clients, especially getting them out of their home for a change of scenery and social stimulation, enabling them to enjoy things they are no longer able to do on their own. This includes meals at restaurants, museums, gardens and walks around the Arnold Arboretum. And for those with mobility issues, she brings fresh activities and conversations to them in the home.
Ginny has noted being blown away by how each of her clients, “in their own way, face each day with courage, grace and humor,” and knew she’d found her calling early on with SHS, when she was picnicking with a client who works hard to overcome aphasia who announced, “I love this!”
John began his work with SHS two years ago (this May) after a long career as a Mental Health Counselor. Upon meeting John and hearing about his background working with individuals struggling with a variety of issues including substance abuse and homelessness, we quickly realized that he had a heart of gold and would work well with our population. John took to learning about his new role as a caregiver with ease and has taken advantage of every learning opportunity that comes his way. We are particularly struck by John's ability to connect with his clients as a peer. He uses his life experiences to relate to others and approaches his work with a tremendous amount of compassion and empathy. John works hard to find commonalities with his clients, treating them as equals with valuable life experiences and lessons. He is supportive of his Caregiver colleagues and humble about his vast experience and credentials in the mental health industry. To his clients, John is a calm and respectful presence who helps people feel at ease about accepting help, and emphasizing the mutual benefits he receives by the relationship. We are grateful that John chose SHS to enhance life after retirement, or, as John would say, "post-career"!
Amy has been working with Seniors Helping Seniors for over 2 years and she’s been an amazing support to her clients. Amy has an exceptional warmth and compassion, which is apparent immediately after meeting her. She has an infectious smile and laugh, and an uncanny ability to brighten the day of her clients. Amy grew up in Kenya and she understands and is sensitive to how other cultures view aging. Amy takes her role as a caregiver very seriously and is often trying to find creative ways to keep her clients’ engaged. Her clients love her upbeat personality and her willingness to help in any way she can. She is communicative with the office staff and takes advantage of any learning opportunity that she can in order to understand how best to support her clients. She exudes empathy and we feel so fortunate to have her on our team.
Nadine has been a part of our team for almost two years and we feel so fortunate to work with her! Nadine is creative (as evidenced by her many years as a potter and writer), kind, compassionate, youthful, and lots of fun! Nadine has a natural ability to connect with others, even those with significant cognitive impairment. This natural talent surely helped her find her calling as a clinical psychologist. Nadine treats all of her clients with the utmost respect and dignity. She cares about the details; taking the time to get to know all of her clients and what makes them feel special. She celebrates their accomplishments and mourns their losses.
Nadine has a passion for life and helps her clients see the beauty in their own universes, even when things don’t feel beautiful. She never backs down from a challenge and takes advantage of every learning opportunity that comes her way. Over the past two years, we have all learned so much from Nadine, but first and foremost, we’ve learned how to be more patient, compassionate, and calm!
Nadine sees her work at SHS as a "spiritual journey" and her goal is to make the day of the person she's visiting just a little bit better. The best outcome to her is to make the person smile, even if it takes singing and dancing to do so.
Judy has been with SHS for over 2 years, and in fact was one of the first caregivers that we hired! Judy is a natural caregiver and companion and gives 150% to everyone that she visits. She builds tremendous relationships with all those that she helps - whether it's visiting with someone twice a week to ensure they are safe, stimulated and engaged, or driving someone to a medical appointment - Judy makes a lasting positive impression on our clients and their families - who are extraordinarily grateful to have her in their life. Judy is an advocate for everyone she spends time with - she is thorough, communicative and always warm. Judy is exceptionally flexible and goes out of her way to accommodate the different needs of everyone that she helps and supports. We are lucky to have such a thoughtful and conscientious bright light in our SHS family.
Marge has been working for SHS for a year, but in a small amount of time she has made a big impact on both her clients and her colleagues. Marge is a retired pediatric nurse and has been able to apply a combination of clinical knowledge and compassion to the work that she does with her clients. Her clients refer to her as a "treasure" and "superb" and we agree! Marge is kind and patient in the face of resistance and has the ability to make even the most ambivalent clients receptive to care. Marge has an amazing ability to make people feel like she's an old and dear friend. She is insightful and intuitive; both qualities that make her stand out as an exceptional caregiver. We have learned a lot from Marge and find ourselves seeking her guidance on challenging situations. We feel very fortunate to have Marge on our SHS caregiving team!
Bill has been a caregiver for SHS since our early days and has demonstrated a passion and commitment that is truly extraordinary. As a retired mental health nurse, Bill has a long history in human services. He has a very person-centered approach to working with clients and his regular clients look forward to his visits. Bill is extremely accommodating and is always finding creative ways to keep his clients socially engaged. He is an avid history buff, which many of his clients, especially veterans, appreciate. Bill works hard to brighten the days of those who he works with and he is quite effective in doing so. He has an amazing ability to enter people's world and put people at ease and increase confidence when faced with their limitations. He has a generous spirit and we are so grateful that he is a part of our SHS caregiving team.
Judi has been working with Seniors Helping Seniors since March, and in a short amount of time, she has been able to make a big difference in the lives of her clients. Judi hit the ground running, working with clients who have significant physical and emotional needs, and has treated her clients with the utmost dignity, respect, warmth, and compassion. Judi rises to every challenge that she encounters with grace and is a collaborative team player. Judi's caregiver colleagues have expressed that she is communicative, caring, and a pleasure to work with and we agree. Despite her busy schedule, she always makes herself available and shares valuable insight about issues that arise with her clients. We rely on Judi's wisdom and judgment to inform the care plans that are in place for her clients. We are very grateful to have Judi on our caregiving team.