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.