May 2

“I Couldn’t Lose My Home!”

older woman featured in story about assistance from Springwell's Protected Services Program

Springwell’s Protective Services Team successfully helped Jeanne as she navigated the challenges that came when her home fell into disrepair after her long illness.

The house, its big front yard decorated with charming folk art, is tucked away in a corner of her hometown. It has been in Jeanne’s family for four generations, since her great-grandparents moved to Massachusetts from Halifax, and at one time her family also owned the house next door. Jeanne and her siblings grew up in the house. After many years living out of state and a 20-year career in high tech developing circuit boards, Jeanne moved back to her childhood home after her parents died. She settled into her second career breeding golden retrievers. But then, several years ago, her health problems began.

Between a broken back and torn rotator cuffs, Jeanne lost considerable mobility, making it hard to maintain her home and property. She tried to keep up, but the Board of Health got involved and set goals for both interior and exterior clean-up. Eventually the Fire Marshall was called. During this time, Springwell’s Protective Services team was brought in to open an investigation, and at her second meeting with the Fire Marshall, Jeanne was introduced to her Springwell Protective Services Worker, Isaias. In her words, “It was my lucky day!” In addition to more familiar types of elder abuse and neglect, including physical and/or emotional abuse suffered at the hands of a family member or caregiver, Springwell’s Protective Services Team also helps older adults suffering from what is often called “self-neglect” – when someone is living in a way that puts their health and/or safety at risk.

Isaias interviewed Jeanne and became her advocate, taking the time to learn the facts of her situation, hearing her fears and vulnerabilities, and building a rapport with her. As a part of his work, he arranged home and yard clean up and other ongoing services through the Massachusetts Home Care Program. It has not been a straightforward path, as Jeanne’s health continues to be poor, and she has had setbacks in meeting her maintenance goals set by the town, but she no longer fears that she will lose her beloved home.

In 2019, Jeanne launched her third career as a poet and writer. She is working on a book of poetry and stories of social justice. Included in her works is a piece on her Springwell experience, in which she says, “With Springwell, all will be okay. They successfully help me to cope, each time my worries try to carry me away. With their assistance, I’m better able to negotiate each challenging new day.” For more information on Springwell’s Protective Services Program, visit our page, Protecting Elders at Risk of Abuse.