Today marks three years since we opened our doors in Greater Boston in December 2014. As I reflect back on these past few years, one important emotion bubbles to the top – gratitude. While we live in tumultuous times, and the overall sentiment can seem bleak, I choose to look at all the positivity in our community. And that is fueled in large part, by each and every one of you, who make Seniors Helping Seniors the vibrant and blossoming organization that it is today.
As we look back on 2017, I’d like to share some “glimmers of good” – ways that the SHS team positively contributed to the communities in which we serve.
Supporting our Clients & Families: Ongoing support of our clients and their families is a cornerstone of our work at Seniors Helping Seniors. In addition to our frequent guidance and tight communication, we also began hosting a Alzheimer’s Support Group at our office in Newton. We also hosted a Virtual Dementia Tour for families at our office, so that in a simulated setting, they could experience some of the symptoms that their loved ones with dementia go through each day. A true empathy building exercise.
Providing Meaningful Employment: We know that retirement in 2017 looks very different than it did in the past, and retirement will continue to take on a new meaning as boomers continue on to their next adventure. Retirement is now “rewirement”, and we are thrilled that we can provide meaningful employment for older adults that capitalizes on their life experience, which is invaluable. Our caregivers have the heart of a volunteer, and are devoted to their client’s well being.
Philanthropic Efforts: I had the honor of co-chairing the Greater Boston Walk to End Alzheimer’s this past September, where I was joined by 25 colleagues who walked alongside me and 8,000 others to show our unified support to end this disease once and for all. Team Seniors Helping Seniors raised just shy of $12,000, and the 2017 Greater Boston Walk is poised to raise almost $1.5 million, making us one of the top 5 walks in the nation.
Growing our Organization to Expand Who We Help: With the exciting merger of the Greater Boston and Metrowest offices in October, we are now able to provide unparalleled support in 30 communities – from Boston to Hopkinton. With over 120 caregivers with a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, we are a trusted resource to many families, and one of the largest non-medical home care agencies in New England that exclusively employs older adults.
Immersing Ourselves in the Community: In big and little ways, we give back. We led a educational session at Map Through the Maze (largest Alzheimer’s conference in New England), participated on a panel discussion at the Adventures in Creative Retirement conference at Brandeis University, and joined in on a listening session about making Newton a “Age Friendly Community.”
Professional Development for our Staff: We don’t take the work that we do lightly here at Seniors Helping Seniors. We know that the work we do has a profound impact on clients, their families and the greater community. So that’s why we have enhanced and infused new and relevant topics into our training curriculum. A snapshot of what we covered: Habilitation Model of Caring for People with Alzheimer’s Disease, an interactive workshop with someone living with Alzheimer’s, a practical approach to assisting clients in/out of the car, maintaining professional boundaries, and successfully and appropriately advocating for our clients.
Having Fun: It goes without saying that having fun and lifting spirits is our ultimate goal in the work that we do each day. We’ve lifted spirits, fostered connection, and instilled a sense of purpose in those that we support. Our team also feels connected to one another from meeting at social gatherings and recognition events – a key piece to our retention and success. At the end of the day, we’ve done our job if someone’s life was enriched and improved by our involvement.
I hope this update resonates with you as we enter the home stretch of the holiday season and reflect upon the past year. I wish all a happy, healthy, and fulfilling 2018 – with new outlooks and adventures that foster a harmonious community for all.
Executive Director & Owner
Seniors Helping Seniors, Serving Greater Boston and Metrowest