Apr 22

Helping People is my Focus

Adele is a long time, volunteer member of the compassionate Springwell team dedicated to ensuring that older adults in our community get the help and support they need and want. She began her career doing clinical testing as a psychometrist at several universities in New England and at MA Mental Health. After earning a master’s degree in education, she spent twenty years as a case worker in the Needham Special Education program. Adele enjoyed that job and noted that “helping people is my focus.”

After retiring from the Needham position, Adele went on to obtain a certificate in gerontology at UMass. After UMass, she joined an AmeriCorps program which led to a job running a research project on aging for the Council on Aging (COA) in Newton. That was the beginning of her path to Springwell. She was on the board of the Newton COA and then learned about an opening on the Springwell board which she filled for two terms. As a Springwell board member, Adele valued the well-structured meetings, important discussions about budget priorities, and the varied people she had the opportunity to meet. She learned about the many volunteer opportunities at Springwell and joined the Ombudsman Program as a volunteer in 2016.

The Ombudsman Program offers residents of long-term care facilities a way to have their complaints and concerns heard, helping them to feel empowered and ensuring that they live in dignity and respect. Highly trained and supervised volunteers visit a facility at least weekly and are available to hear concerns in confidence, advocate to protect residents’ rights, and provide information and referrals.

Adele became an ombudsman at age 91 because the role appealed to her. “Helping people is what I do. I respond to people’s needs. Being an ombudsman gave me the opportunity to be supportive. I always explained to the residents that I was their advocate and gained their trust. The work is very confidential, and I always respect that confidentiality. It was also important for me to build a strong rapport with the care facility staff including the Director, the Director of Nursing, the Social Worker, the Chef, and the Activities Director. The staff was a great resource as I advocated for residents.”

Adele served as an ombudsman for one small skilled nursing facility for four years. She spent a couple of hours there each week and visited every resident who wanted to talk with her. After a difficult year of only being able to do phone visits with residents due to the COVID pandemic, Adele has decided (at aged 96) to retire from her job as an ombudsman. Helping people is still her focus and she is looking forward to when she is fully vaccinated, and the weather has warmed up for a pleasant outside visit with the residents of her facility. Thank you, Adele, for your years of service as a Springwell Board member and as an Ombudsman!

Would you like to be an advocate for residents of a long-term care facility? We are always looking for volunteers to join our Ombudsman program.  Learn more here.