Sep 9

National Good Neighbor Day: Springwell Stories

Are there people in your neighborhood who have lived nearby for years but you haven’t had the opportunity to get to know? Everyone has an interesting story about their journey through life. At Springwell, each year we have the opportunity to hear thousands of stories, and as National Good Neighbor Day (September 28th) approaches, we will be featuring these Springwell stories here and on our Facebook page.

During a recent visit with Jack, we got the chance to know a little bit about the path of his life so far and how he works to stay engaged despite his current limitations. Jack’s health limits his energy so he spends a lot of time at home and is always happy to have visitors. A plaque on his wall recognizes him as “Doctor” of a Waltham softball team for ten years. Jack loves to joke around and told us that he had a cooler for “first aid” purposes. “A cold can of beer pulled from the cooler would help most softball injuries,” he said.

Jack began his career as a third-generation iron worker but after 10 years decided that wasn’t the right job for him and he became a painter. Decorative painting had become popular for interior home décor and Jack quickly learned the artistic techniques. The work suited him and to this day he likes to create on just about any surface using sponges, combs and other unexpected tools with various layers and colors of paint. In fact, he transformed his trash bin into one of these creations.

Jack lives in a second floor apartment and he told us several times that his downstairs neighbors are really nice. He is always happy to chat with them. Except for these friendly neighbors, Jack spends a lot of time alone. Jack has been challenged by several health problems and doesn’t know where he would be now without the long-term supports coordinated by Springwell that are vital to his chronic health care needs.

Since Jack is housebound most of the time, he really appreciates the Companion service. A Companion visits, talks with him and helps to come up with things he will enjoy doing. Picking up on his past as a painter, the Companion recently arrived with a book about art from the library, some paper and art supplies. Jack studied the book and now is trying out various techniques in his own compositions. Jack also shares that his Home Care worker is invaluable. For Jack, sometimes it is what seems like little things that are toughest to manage, and the Home Care worker always is helpful then.  When Jack receives a shipment of his nutritional supplement, the Home Care worker carries it up the flight of stairs and into the apartment for him. Services coordinated by Springwell allow Jack to continue living in the community he loves and help him to enjoy life despite his chronic health conditions.

While Jack has these kind professionals in his life, he truly appreciates visits from friends and acquaintances in the community. Interested in getting to know one of your neighbors?  Learn more about our Friendly Visitor Volunteer Program here. Follow us on Facebook to hear more Springwell stories throughout the month of September, and consider making a donation to support our Elder Independence Fund here..