The springwell blog

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."


Mar 06

Making the Impossible Possible

In December of 2008, it seemed impossible that 83-year old Jeanne would ever return to the home she loved. A bad fall months earlier sent her first to the hospital and then to a rehabilitation facility. Though long-term symptoms of post-polio syndrome meant Jeanne used a wheelchair, she had managed independently for years and was even famous for being able to vacuum from her wheelchair. But after her fall, Jeanne was unable to transfer herself into and out of her chair. Her physician and the staff at the rehabilitation facility were dubious about a return home, but Jeanne, a fiercely independent woman, was determined. Her determination was matched by the convictions of Springwell’s Jo White, a social worker who helped Jeanne enroll in the Community Choices program, a newly created program that mandated nursing-home-eligible seniors be given the option of receiving care at home.

Jo led an interdisciplinary team comprised of Jeanne, Springwell nurses and social workers, staff at the rehabilitation facility, Jeanne’s physician, and a local in-home services provider. As she facilitated these meetings, Jo ensured that all discussions focused on how to honor Jeanne’s choice to return to her home.

The coordination and planning took seven months, but in July of 2009, the impossible became possible when Jeanne spent her first night in her own apartment. With the support of a worker who assists Jeanne with her personal care and homemaking needs, some important adaptive equipment, and a comprehensive emergency back-up system, she’s been happily living independently for the past seven years.

To learn more about Jeanne and Springwell's work in 2016, view our online Annual Report


Jan 09

Springwell Featured in The Atlantic

Springwell is honored to be featured in an ongoing photo series being hosted by The Atlantic.  The series, called "Americans at Work" is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and launched on December 10th. The essay featuring Springwell, "Caring for Our Elders," was published on Saturday, January 7, 2017, and shows the work that Springwell does to help seniors as they seek to age in place by following two of our care advisors during their work this fall. 


Dec 06

Why Long-Distance Caregivers Seek Professional Help

During the holiday season families and friends visit aging loved ones. Frequently this is the time when they discover troubling changes in the health, behavior, or physical appearance of their family member. Many will discover their aging loved one now needs more help or attention. Springwell’s Private Geriatric Care Management Program offers a below-market rate solution for long-distance caregivers - those who live a significant distance from a person who needs care.

A recent survey by the Aging Life Care Association (all Springwell PGCM staff, like those shown above, are members), shows that over 30% of an Aging Life Care Professional’s case load involves families attempting to coordinate care for a loved one from a distance.

The 382 participants revealed the top reasons why long-distance caregivers seek help from geriatric care managers. The data show that professionals are contacted most often by long-distance caregivers when:

  • There is a crisis or emergency (76%)
  • Making a visit sees significant changes in health, behavior, or home maintenance (57%)
  • There is a need to explore placement options or relocation (41%)
From mediating complicated family relationships to serving as the local emergency contact, the role geriatric care manager plays varies client by client. The top five services long-distance caregivers are looking for when they engage a professional are:
  • Consultation about how to best help their parent and/or family (87%)
  • Assessment and care planning (83%)
  • Ongoing oversight/monitoring of care (75%)
  • Routine communication and status updates to out-of-town family (68%)
  • Arranging for home care services (68%)
“Most long-distance caregivers hire us when the situation has escalated or becomes a problem that they can’t solve alone,” says Dianne McGraw, LCSW, CMC and president of the Aging Life Care Association. “Our expertise and our knowledge of local resources allow us to become the team captain and coordinate services. We become the eyes and ears for the long-distance caregiver.”

Survey respondents offered examples of long-distance caregiving cases, many echoing the sentiment that working with geriatric care managers reduces stress and helps improve or restore family relationships.

Jo White, LCSW and Director of the Private Geriatric Care Management Program at Springwell, states that “many long-distance caregivers have trusted us to provide the expertise and experience to address the needs of their loved ones. We are passionate about advocating for elders and their families and aim to provide caregivers with peace of mind.”

More information about Springwell’s Private Geriatric Care Management Program.


Oct 11

Help Shape Senior Services in Your Community

Are you a senior or a caregiver living Belmont, Brookline, Needham, Newton, Waltham, Watertown, Wellesley, or Weston, MA? Do you have the services you need to remain living in your home for as long as you like? Could you, or a senior you know, benefit from new types of services? Then please consider taking our brief survey to make your voice heard. Springwell wants to learn more about the needs of older adults and caregivers in your community. 

There are two ways to make your voice heard:

  • Join us for Information Gathering Sessions on Services and Supports for Seniors at Home:

Monday, October 17th at 10:00 am
Linden & Chambers Community Room
5 Chambers Street, Needham
(To register, call Laura Vanderhill at 617-926-4100)


Friday, October 21 at 12:30 pm
Theresa J. Morse Apartments Community Room
90 Longwood Avenue, Brookline
(To sign-up for the 12 noon lunch, call 617-735-7588 by October 19)


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