The springwell blog

Apr 17

Making a Difference - the Role of a Springwell Care Advisor

Whether you are a caregiver assisting a loved one or a recipient of services yourself, your relationship with a Care Advisor is an invaluable gateway to having your needs met in the way that you want them to be met.

Jo White, Director of Health Partnerships and a long time Springwell employee began her career as a Care Advisor, and shares her insight on the multifaceted role, “A Care Advisor pulls together services for an individual, monitors and manages those services, and helps family members understand the role of services. A Care Advisor mediates when an in-home care provider isn’t a good match for one reason or another, provides support to the family caregiver, and makes sure that recipients are made aware of new opportunities for additional services. Over time a Care Advisor’s relationship enables them to give guidance about longer term planning. If an individual’s needs increase, the Care Advisor will educate them about higher levels of service that they might be eligible to receive.” This core Springwell relationship is not a one-time meeting between a Care Advisor and a recipient, rather it is a partnership.

What skills can you expect from a Care Advisor? A Care Advisor must be able to engage people. The Advisor “joins with” the care recipient and the family to build a rapport so that everyone feels comfortable. A Care Advisor must be detail-oriented and a good observer to conduct a thorough assessment of functional, cognitive, environmental and financial conditions in order to provide the best options for the individual. A key value for a Springwell Care Advisor is to be “person-centered,” putting the individual’s choice to receive a certain service or not first. That means that the Care Advisor will orchestrate services based on the individual’s identified needs, but also in accordance with their wishes. Once a needed, desired service is identified, the Care Advisor helps get access to that service within state homecare guidelines.

A Care Advisor is there to engage people, assess situations, identify needs, support goals and access services for the benefit of the care recipient. Would you like to engage with a Care Advisor? Contact us at 617-926-4100 and ask for Information & Consultation or complete our contact form here:

Are you good at engaging people, detail-oriented, and a good observer with a desire to help others? Contact us to learn more and find out about career paths:

Feb 13

No Place Like Home

Greta and John Merchant bought their Needham house over 60 years ago when they first moved to the United States. As they faced some of the health issues of aging, it was important to them to stay together in the comfort of their beloved home. They shared this sentiment with their daughter, Sandra and her husband Tom. It became a challenging proposition but one that Sandra and Tom were willing to navigate.

The notion of always living in your own home seems like it is easily doable until an unexpected illness or injury pops up. Greta and John faced the unexpected when on a Tuesday John was told he would be discharged from a rehab facility on Friday, but that her couldn’t live on his own with just Greta because of her early dementia and his physical challenges. Their very generous, loving daughter and son-in-law handled the initial need by moving in with Greta and John. However, managing her parents’ needs along with their own careers and family was too exhausting and stressful for Sandra and Tom to handle long term. Fortunately, Greta’s primary care doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization referred the family to Springwell’s onsite Community Resource Specialist. Sandra says that “the first time our Springwell case manager came to our house, I immediately felt comforted by her kindness and compassion.”

Since first connecting with Springwell, Greta and John’s needs have increased. Springwell’s team, including a case manager, a nurse and supervisors, works together to assess and problem-solve as changes in service become necessary.

Sandra is grateful for all the support provided by Springwell. They helped her get both of her parents enrolled in MassHealth which has made the assistance they need financially viable. Further, Springwell’s partnership with this family extends beyond day-to-day in-home care services. Springwell’s Elder Independence Fund helped to purchase and install a much-needed wheelchair ramp for the family, and the organization’s Caregiver Specialist helped Sandra identify and pursue groups that would provide support for her as a caregiver. As the family identifies new barriers, Springwell is there to problem-solve.

Sandra reflects that she and Tom had no idea the journey they were beginning when they first moved in with her parents. Keeping her parents at home is complicated but it is what they all want more than anything.The magic of being home together is beautifully summed up in Sandra’s story about her dad’s return home after a hospitalization: “…the first thing my dad asked for was to be wheeled to my mom’s bed, so he could see her. He held her hand and smiled. He looked like a young man in love with his bride.”

“It has been a journey filled with sadness, frustration, exhaustion, overwhelm, fear—and also, love, gratitude, family, grace, community and joy. Our family could not have done it without Springwell,” concludes Sandra. There’s no place like home and sometimes it takes a village to make home sweet home a safe and comfortable place.

Springwell is passionate about helping seniors and individuals with disabilities live at home with dignity and independence. For more information about how Springwell can help your family achieve its goals, contact Springwell's Information and Consultation Department at 617-926-4100 or


Jan 10

A Unique Opportunity to Help Build Community

Smart senior diners in greater Boston make the local Springwell Senior Dining Program their noontime destination for a nutritious meal, and for the company of hospitable servers and other senior luncheon guests. These dining sites are a success because of the friendly, welcoming and hard-working staff who come each weekday to receive the catered food; register and check-in guests; and work with volunteers to welcome and serve senior diners. Currently, Springwell is looking for several part-time Dining Site staff to help create the atmosphere that keeps seniors coming back – and help them build the social networks that lead to healthy aging.

Do you know someone looking for a little extra income and the opportunity to make a difference in the middle of the day? All of the positions are part-time, with varying hours Monday through Friday. The primary locations in need of staff at the moment are in Watertown and Needham, but staff also sometimes have the opportunity to substitute at other sites in Belmont, Brookline, Newton, Waltham,  and Weston.

We are looking for people of any age, who will relate well to seniors and appreciate the challenges and joys of helping facilitate a feeling of community. The staff featured in the photo here work out of our Belmont Dining Site, and you can learn more about their site in this blog post. You can find our more information about the job, benefits and how to apply to these positions, or any Springwell opening on our career page.


Nov 17

Choose to Share the Love with Vulnerable Seniors

Exciting news! For the tenth year running, the Meals on Wheels network is participating in the Subaru Share the Love Event. In the past nine years, Subaru of America has donated over $12 million to Meals on Wheels—that’s the equivalent of more than 1.7 million meals to seniors across the country!

Why does Subaru support Meals on Wheels? Because too many seniors are struggling to stay independent and healthy. Ten million seniors in America face the threat of hunger, and millions more live alone in isolation. This is simply unacceptable, which is why Springwell provides the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks to the seniors in Greater Boston. This vital support keeps seniors in their own homes, where they want to be. 

We’re incredibly grateful to Subaru and its retailers for supporting our organization and the seniors we serve. With that in mind, we thought you might want to learn a little bit more about the Share the Love Event. November 16, 2017, through January 2, 2018, for every new Subaru vehicle leased or sold, Subaru will donate $250 to the customer’s choice of participating charities. Meals on Wheels America is one of four national participating charities and has been since the inception of the event. Through this campaign, as a Member of Meals on Wheels America, Springwell will receive a share of the revenue earned in Massachusetts. 

Here's How it Works

If you’re in the market for a new car, please look into the Share the Love Event to learn more. If you’re not shopping for a new vehicle, you can still help by spreading the word to your family and friends. A few quick and easy ways to do that:

And remember – this holiday season, you can ensure our senior neighbors are not forgotten when you buy or lease a new Subaru and select Meals on Wheels America as your charity of choice. 
Sep 01

Springwell Celebrates 40 years of Service

In 2017, Springwell is celebrating its 40th anniversary serving seniors, people with disabilities, and caregivers. Founded in 1977 as a small, grassroots, homecare corporation, Springwell now helps thousands of people each year with services that support independence and healthy aging. Springwell's expert staff help families navigate and access programs and services that can make all the difference, including case management and in-home services (personal care, homemaking, home health aides, etc), nutrition services (home-delivered meals and community dining), protective services, supportive housing, healthy living workshops, friendly visitors, and money management services. 

To mark the occasion, Springwell is holding a reception on November 16, 2017, following our annual meeting, at the Stonehurst Estate in Waltham. The event, presented with underwriting support from Cambridge Trust Company, Friendly Care Home Care, and many other sponsors, is called, "Lives Transformed," and will feature stories of people who's lives have been changed with the help of Springwell. For more information about the event or sponsorship opportunities, call Springwell's Director of Development, Beth Schultz, at 617-972-5687. To RSVP, visit our online registration page


Jul 01

New System for Reporting Elder Abuse

   Beginning July 1st, 2017 the Executive Office of Elder Affairs has centralized the Elder Protective Services abuse reporting system (elder abuse hotline) to a single phone number.

The 24/7 single phone number simplies the process for elder abuse reporting.

All calls (day or night, 7 days a week) should now go directly to the Massachusetts-based call center at 1-800-922-2275, regardless of the location of the reporter or the elder.
While the initial report intake is centralized, all reports will continue to be referred to and handled by local Protective Services Agencies for screening, investigation, and service planning.
To report suspected elder abuse, please call the statewide 24-hour hotline at 1-800-922-2275.
The Following individuals are mandated by law to report elder abuse:


Physician assistants
Medical interns
Social workers
Occupational therapists
Physical therapists
Family counselors
Probation officers
Director of a home health aide agency
Director of a homemaker agency
Director of an assisted living residence
Case managers
Health aides
Director of a Council on Aging
Council on Aging outreach workers



May 30

Public Hearing Announced: 2018 - 2021 Area Plan on Aging


As a federally-designated Area Agency on Aging, Springwell is charged with creating an Area Plan every four years for the towns of Belmont, Brookline, Needham, Newton, Waltham, Watertown, Wellesley, and Weston. The Area Plan is to address the needs of seniors and ensure that service needs identified in the plan are provided.

In accordance with the Older Americans Act, and as required by the MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs, a public hearing is being conducted by Springwell to gather feedback from older adults, caregivers, and the public on Springwell’s draft Area Plan on Aging for 2018-2021. The mission of Springwell is to provide comprehensive services to seniors, individuals with disabilities and those who provide care, guided by a commitment to the individual’s right to live independently in the community.

The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at 1:00pm at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech Street, Belmont, MA 02478.

Comments can be submitted either in person at the public hearing or submitted in writing to Springwell, 307 Waverley Oaks Rd, Suite 205, Waltham, MA 02452, Attention Laura Vanderhill, or emailed to Written comments must be received at Springwell by June 28, 2017.

A draft of the Area Plan on Aging is available here and copies will be provided at the public hearing. For additional information, please contact Laura Vanderhill at 617-926-4100.


May 03

Springwell Opens 2017 Community Grants RFP Process

Springwell invites you to submit a proposal for funding under Title III-B of the Older Americans Act for legal assistance, transportation to medical appointments, guardianship or home-based mental health services. Title III-B awards will be made for federal fiscal year 2018 (October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018). Award contracts are renewable for one additional year, contingent on availability of federal funds and satisfactory program performance. Approximate Title III-B funds available: $123,000

The Request for Proposals (RFP) information package that includes: the letter of intent, the guidelines for distribution of funds, award information and requirements, instructions for completing the proposal and all required forms, can be downloaded from this website (see links below, 4 documents in total).

Springwell Title III RFP For FY18

A Letter of Intent must be received by Springwell no later than May 26, 2017 by 5pm (electronic or hard copy). Completed proposals must be received no later than June 9, 2017 by 5pm (hard copy only). Springwell invites all prospective grantees to email technical assistance questions to Laura Vanderhill Associated Director of Community Services, at, by May 12, 2017. This is not mandatory. All Q&A/technical assistance materials will be posted on this website (see link above) by May 19, 2017, 5pm. Thank you for your interest. We look forward to receiving your proposal.


May 01

This May, Springwell will help you honor your mother

This spring, Springwell is once again enlisting our community in supporting the seniors we serve while also providing a way for donors to honor and celebrate the mothers in their lives.

If you were to draw a composite of the typical person who receives services from Springwell, she would be an 80-year-old woman living by herself at or just above the poverty level. Each week she would receive seven hours of personal care, five hours of homemaking, and home-delivered meals. This relatively small amount of support would help keep her out of an expensive institutionalized setting and in her own home. More often than not, her emergency contact would be her child.

Given this picture, Mother’s Day is the perfect holiday for a campaign to support the Elder Independence Fund. These funds support the small necessities (perhaps a bathtub grab bar or a phone for the hearing impaired) that state-subsidized programs will not pay for but can make a big difference in helping seniors maintain their independence. It also provides peace of mind for their caregivers.

The annual campaign was first launched last year to a warm reception. One of the first donors was Sasha Steinbaugh, a Springwell Case Management Supervisor, who made donations in honor of both her mother, Judy Csatari, and her new mother-in-law, Kathleen Steinbaugh (pictured here with her own mother, Clare Wilber). “For me, it just made so much sense,” said Sasha, “My mother has been so supportive of my work, and we grew up giving back to local, community-based charities. It was also a great way to connect to and honor my mother-in-law, who supports her own 89-year-old mother.”

For each donation made, the donor receives a special Springwell Mother’s Day card to send to his/her loved one. The card outlines the services made possible by the donation and includes a place to fill in the donor’s name as well as a personal note. This year the campaign hopes to raise $5,000 for the Elder Independence Fund. To make a donation and get cards for the mothers in your life, go to our donation page.

Apr 04

April is Health Care Decisions Month

April is Health Care Decisions Month, and Springwell is pleased to announce that we are launching the Advance Directives Project to address the lack of end-of-life planning among seniors in our programs. Understanding end-of-life-care choices and being able to talk about them with family and health providers are important for all adults but especially for seniors. A survey of 1,886 seniors in Springwell programs found that 70% of them did not have any advance directive documents, and another 24% did not know if they did. Springwell’s new project will help interested seniors develop and write down their personal decisions with the aid of a specially trained care advisor.

Bob Morley (pictured here with Springwell Care Advisor, Ann Fucci) is one senior who supports Springwell’s new initiative. Bob lost his sister last summer, and he is still upset about how her medical care negatively affected the end of her life. Bob does not know if he has an advance directive in place, but he is open to the idea of talking to someone about it. "I think it’s a good program," he said. "The idea is to be ahead of the game."

In joining the growing national movement to promote conversations and planning about end-of-life care, Springwell is ensuring that the seniors we serve are included in this important work.

Springwell is very grateful to the Leaves of Grass Fund for project funding, and we are proud to partner with Honoring Choices Massachusetts, a private nonprofit that provides staff training and support. For support and tools to put in place your own health care plan, visit their " Getting Started Tool Kit."


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307 Waverley Oaks Road, Suite 205, Waltham, MA 02452
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