Josh ObeiterExecutive Director & Owner
Prior to owning Seniors Helping Seniors of Greater Boston, Josh worked in client-facing roles in a wide range of industries, including higher education, pharmaceuticals, and market research. But seemingly his entire life has been leading up to owning this franchise. Josh’s close knit relationship with his grandparents and a volunteer project evolved into a deep-seated passion for connecting and providing companionship to the senior population.
For the past 15 years, Josh has been intimately involved with volunteering with seniors, primarily providing intergenerational programming at local nursing homes and assisted living communities; he is well-versed in the challenges that seniors and their families face when it comes to providing care. Josh is also active in several other Boston organizations, including the West Suburban Area Alzheimer's Partnership, Multicultural Coalition on Aging, Boston Bridge, the Newton Interagency Council, the Aging Life Care Association and several local senior centers and councils on aging; he is also connected to Springwell, Ethos, and Jewish Family & Children's Services.
Josh is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and leads a training on the Habilitation Approach to Dementia care for his staff.
“I truly believe that Seniors Helping Seniors senior care provides a unique opportunity for seniors to support one another as they age,” said Josh. “With senior caregivers at the helm, those that receive their service, benefit from the compassion, understanding and empathy that come with the senior caregiver’s life experiences. It elevates the role of a caregiver to a true companion – one that can be mutually beneficial for both the caregiver and receiver of the care.”
Doug PeckDirector of Community Partnerships
Doug owned the Seniors Helping Seniors franchise in the Metrowest area since 2011. Prior to joining Seniors Helping Seniors Metrowest, Doug had a 30 year career as a senior manager in Human Resources. He saw a need for this service first hand as he was the primary caregiver for his mother for over four years after his father passed. It also became evident that there were many seniors like himself who were not ready to slow down or retire but meaningful jobs for seniors are hard to come by. Being able to provide jobs that allow seniors to give back and make a difference has been a driving force for him. He always took a very hands-on approach to the business and was an active caregiver himself for many of his clients.
A 40 year resident in the Southborough community, Doug has a strong dedication to the surrounding communities and to seniors. He is Certified Senior Advisor and a Certified Dementia Practitioner. He currently sits on the board for BayPath Elder Services, the Southborough Council on Aging and the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, he has been active in the Metrowest Alzheimer’s Partnership, the Elder Community Collaborative serving the Marlborough and Hudson areas and the Friends of the Marlborough Seniors.
Additionally, he has given many presentation on caregiving and aging at home to Rotary Clubs, Libraries and area churches.
Besides his new role in the Boston/Metrowest franchise, Doug has started a nonprofit called Still Here For a Reason. It will focus on helping seniors answer the question: How can I still feel useful as I age?
Lisa GraffeoManager of Human Resources
As Manager of Human Resources, Lisa plays an integral part in onboarding new staff and caregivers. She sees them through all steps of their employment including training, record keeping, getting started with clients, and ongoing support and continuing education.
Lisa Graffeo began her association with Seniors Helping Seniors as one of our caregivers. Coupled with personal experience helping her own parents, she understands the importance of seniors being able to stay in a home environment for as long as possible while confronted with health issues that prevent them from doing everything they could do when they were younger.
“Having raised a large family, my parents were fortunate to have a support system in place, but for many seniors, this is not always the case. "Through my experience as a caregiver, I know how valuable Seniors Helping Seniors is in filling the gaps when family is not available or able to help as much as they would like.”
Lisa has earned a Certificate of Completion from the Alzheimer Association’s “Caring for People with Alzheimer’s Disease” Habilitation curriculum. In addition to her caregiving experience, she has been working with seniors in a recreational capacity for more than 18 years as a ballroom dance hostess at Moseley’s on the Charles in Dedham, where she mingles and dances with the many seniors in attendance.
Before coming to Seniors Helping Seniors, Lisa spent 9-1/2 years at the nonprofit Asperger/Autism Network in Watertown, where she was the program manager. Her background also includes 12 years as a communications specialist and writer/editor in public affairs and corporate relations for the U.S. Postal Service in Boston, as well as experience working in direct sales and small-business marketing.
Lisa is a Certified Dementia Practitioner.
Jan KleinManager of Client Services
Jan plays a key role in onboarding new clients and families by helping them navigate our services and ensuring that all clients are matched appropriately. Once services begin, Jan provides quality assurance; checking in with both clients and caregivers to determine that transitions are smooth and relationships are off to a good start. Jan is also involved in the development of special programs that benefit both our client population and other communities that support older adults.
Prior to joining Seniors Helping Seniors, Jan's career focus had been working to support and enhance the lives of adults with disabilities. For 25 years she served as the Director, Programs for Adults with Disabilities for a non-profit mentoring agency, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters (JBBBS). In her role she oversaw the clinical, financial, and administrative operations of the adult program which served approximately 200 clients and 175 volunteers. The program service involved matching, building and sustaining friendships between clients and community volunteers. She was the first point of contact for clients, families, and staff interested in services.
Jan was instrumental in expanding the original service model of the program at JBBBS from only serving adults age 18-35 to adults across the lifespan, recognizing the lifelong need for companionship. She created and spearheaded an annual sports day and an annual Community Seder (dinner) for adults with disabilities for people living in the Greater Boston Community. She collaborated and developed programs with multiple communal agencies and cultivated partnerships with local activity and service vendors.
Her previous experience includes work with older adults as a Caseworker for Mystic Valley Elder Services, and other professional roles at both Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services and Massachusetts Association for the Blind.
Jan believes that the need for companionship is universal at all stages of one's life and is thrilled to be a member of a team that shares her passion and commitment to this work. In the words of Helen Keller, “I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”
Sue Ann WassermanClient Care Specialist
Sue Ann is the first in-person point of contact for all new clients and their families. Sue Ann conducts in-person assessments to get a holistic view of our client's needs and preferences, and works closely with our team to identify a best fit match. She then facilitates client/companion introductions to ensure a seamless start to services. Sue Ann also leads our caregiver support group.
Sue Ann has been a Rabbi for over 30 years, and this position uses many of the skills she has developed throughout her career as a congregational rabbi, department head in a national non-profit organization, chaplain intern in a hospital and student rabbi in a continuous care retirement community.
As a student at Brandeis University, Sue Ann participated in and eventually coordinated the Roxbury Group. This group of volunteer students led Saturday morning worship at a nursing home. From that experience Sue Ann developed a strong connection to serving seniors. While in Rabbinical school she was the student rabbi in a continuous care retirement community in the Bronx, NY. There she learned to value seniors and the wisdom they have to share.
Her years of serving congregations, in particular, has given her a great deal of counseling experience; working with families through both joyous and challenging life moments. Sue Ann has supported families as they have struggled to provide care for their aging parents as well as congregants who were themselves aging and in need of greater support. In her own family she has seen how difficult it is to care for aging parents who live at a distance—how critical it is to have local support services for them.
Rachel PolcaroClient Care Coordinator
Rachel joined the Seniors Helping Seniors team after graduating from the University of Massachusetts, where she studied Community Development and Community Health. Throughout her college years, Rachel developed a wide range of experience working directly with seniors, including many with dementia. Her personal experience with family members diagnosed with Alzheimer’s & dementia, paired with her passion for public health, inspired her to work for an organization that specializes in the well-being of the elderly community, as she understands the urgent needs for such a rapidly growing population.
“In my work experience, I assisted clients with daily living needs that their family members were desperate to provide for their loved ones, but struggled to balance with their own careers and commitments. Nearly every day, I was showered with gratitude from family members. The rewarding nature of this work made it clear to me that my educational and career goals would be to enhance the quality of life for populations whose needs are often neglected. There is such a vast need for services in this population! That is why I joined the Seniors Helping Seniors team. Their mission to cultivate emotional connections, and assistance between active and less active seniors is an innovative and amazing way to simultaneously lift some of the burden from families and establish meaningful relationships with the seniors themselves.”
Marie LongClient Care Coordinator
Marie is one of the first points of contact at SHS; answering phones, assisting with scheduling, providing caregiver and client support, and liaising between families and caregivers.
Marie joins us with many years of customer service experience in a wide range of industries. Most recently, Marie worked at a dental supply company, and prior to that she worked at an organization where she was directly involved with long term care policies and claims. Marie has a passion for helping seniors.
“Growing up one of five children I am so appreciative of how much work and support my parents gave to all of us. I now want to be there for my own parents along with helping other families deal with the transition of caring for elderly parents. I am a mother of two amazing college aged children. Now that my children are older I want to start giving back.”
Marie has had many customer service positions where she learned that the customer's happiness is the number one priority. She’s also worked in summer camp programs and as a preschool teacher. Marie found that supporting parents of young children who are entrusting their children to be cared for by someone besides themselves is a big responsibility. This applies to working with families of all ages, where trusting relationships must be developed and communication is key to keeping all members happy.
In her free time, Marie enjoys spending time with her family, going out to eat, playing tennis, walking, and traveling.
Jeanne StoweAdministrative Coordinator
Jeanne worked in academia for a number of years before joining Seniors Helping Seniors. Having been a caregiver herself, Jeanne is mindful of the work caregivers do in order to support our seniors. "After years of working with students, I felt it was time to switch gears and work in an industry that values the older members of society and our unsung heroes, the caregivers.Seniors Helping Seniors gives me the opportunity to work part time and still contribute in a meaningful way."
Jeanne has a BA in history and an MS in administrative studies.She lives in the Boston area near her two adult children and her large extended family. Jeanne's hobbies include cooking, traveling and growing bonsai.
Ivonne AcholonuWeekend Client Care Coordinator
Ivonne joins Seniors Helping Seniors after several years of experience in human resources, in a wide range of industries, including non-medical home care. Ivonne started her career working as a National Recruiter and then a Human Resource Administrator. She was also part of the HR opening team at Encore Boston Harbor, giving her great hands on experience solving problems and utilizing her customer service skills.
Ivonne is passionate about the healthcare industry, and is excited to bring her talents to Seniors Helping Seniors. She enjoys helping others, building relationships and meeting new people from different backgrounds. Ivonne has been a caregiver herself, so she understands firsthand how important caregiver and client support is, and prides herself on being a good listener and being available for both clients and caregivers when a challenge arises.
Ivonne has a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from Endicott College.