Meet some of our caregivers

Bob Dawson

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Bob has been infusing Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest with his kind-hearted spirit since 2017. 

After dedicating 25 years to grinding in the world of institutional investment management and retirement planning at esteemed institutions like State Street Bank and Citistreet, Bob found himself yearning for a different way to enrich his days—something meaningful, flexible, and fulfilling.

Bob found us and decided to join since he believed that his career, education, passion for sports, history, reading, and outgoing personality would make him an ideal companion. He wasn’t wrong! Bob now spends his days on enjoyable outings, leisurely strolls, museum escapades, coffees, lunches, casual chats and even running errands with his clients. 

As a certified financial planner, Bob doesn’t shy away from wearing an additional hat and chatting about sound retirement planning insights to the seniors he so compassionately looks after. But what Bob loves most about his job is the invaluable opportunity to connect and exchange stories with individuals from a kaleidoscope of backgrounds. Some of his clients have grown up in India, Lithuania, Hungary, Norway and elsewhere who lived through difficult times such Nazi and Communist occupations, moved to the United States, and created an incredible life for themselves. 

Bob himself has a personal life goal to visit 80 countries by the time he is 80. He has nicknamed it “80 by 80”. With an impressive tally of 36 countries already under his belt, the horizon promises boundless exploration and discovery since he and his wife love traveling on cruises. 

Jim Zebrowski

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Jim Zebrowski has been part of the Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest team for over 5 years, but it’s safe to say that he would have been with us even longer had he discovered our mission sooner.

He worked in IT at a large Boston insurance company for 24 years, although he admits being rather a technology averse, and spent a decade in administration at the Wayland Public Library. However, even while working full-time, Jim had set his mind on other goals. But even while working full time, Jim had a bigger goal in mind – he wanted to make a difference and combat loneliness and isolation, especially among seniors.

Jim’s determination to help led him to explore opportunities at his local church and senior center, but unfortunately, they didn’t have a role for him at the time. However, he didn’t let that discourage him. He joined the front desk at his community’s Council of Aging, where he was involved in various activities. It was during one of the council meetings that an exciting opportunity arose. The senior center director mentioned the need for someone to represent them on BayPath’s Advisory Committee. Without hesitation, Jim eagerly volunteered. As he attended Advisory Board meetings, he began to make a deeper impact. Eventually, the Executive Director approached him with an invitation to join their Board of Directors. It was during this journey that Jim crossed paths with Doug, the owner of SHS Metrowest at that time.

Now, Jim is happily working with two clients and cherishes the time spent with each of them. It’s truly heartwarming for him to witness their zest for life. With one client, he goes on long walks and bike rides, engaging in activities that keep them active and happy. With his other client, who is 88 years old and has dementia, they share beautiful moments playing mahjong games and enjoying each other’s company.

Michelle Hause

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Michelle joined the Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest team in December 2021, eager to start a new chapter in her life with a heart full of compassion and a deep desire to give back to the community. Since then, she has made a tremendous impact on everyone she interacts with, spreading infectious happiness and positivity wherever she goes.

Michelle’s days with her clients are filled with meaningful activities and engaging conversations. Her warm and friendly personality immediately puts her clients at ease, and she loves meeting new people and building meaningful relationships with them. She understands the importance of companionship, conversation, and the value of helping seniors feel safe, connected, and valued.

During her visits, Michelle enjoys going for walks with her clients when the weather permits and assisting with some light housework. Her clients appreciate her commitment to providing personalized care, and her positive attitude and genuine interest in their well-being make her a true asset to the SHS team.

One of Michelle’s favorite pastimes is curling up with a good book and during spring she enjoys planting flowers and taking in the beauty of nature. She is also a true yoga enthusiast and practices regularly with her friends, finding it to be a great way to stay active and centered.

Susan Wisniewski

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Susan joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in February 2021, after a long career as a postmaster. Susan thrives on helping others, and that’s what drove her to seek out a role with us at SHS, and she immediately bonded with her clients.

She loves being able to provide help, love, companionship and friendship for her clients, and is committed to making sure they are safe and happy. Susan is a true nurturer and quickly works to build trust with her clients and their families. The relationships she’s built is her favorite part about SHS. Recently, Susan had a client get released from the hospital and she lights up when she talks about the excitement they both had when they were reunited. 

A typical day for Susan and her clients involves making sure medicine is taken, helping to shower, get dressed, brushing teeth and styling hair (which she loves doing!). The remainder of the days are spent on little adventures to get lunch, the movies or to see a play, or even a mani/pedi. Other days include a long car ride and conversations, exercises and lots of walks in the fresh air. Susan also helps clients get ready for bed, helps make dinner, and ensures a safe sleep. 

In her free time, Susan loves spending time with her grandchildren, boating, traveling, reading and walking.

Rama Kamath

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Rama joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in February 2021, eager to do something she’d be interested in for a while working with the elderly population. Prior to SHS, Rama worked as an architect before owning and managing a restaurant with her husband, which they unfortunately closed due to the pandemic. She was ready for a fresh start in a new industry helping others!

Since losing her mother, Rama finds it nourishing to be able to work and care for elderly clients as she had for years with her own mother. That compassion drives her daily work at SHS. She currently says each visit with her clients feels like she is visiting her mother. With these clients, she cooks, cleans, shops, goes on walks and exercises, all while conversing to stimulate old memories for those who have Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. She feels humbled by their love and appreciation, and notes that this is the most fulfilling job she’s had.

Recently, Rama supported one of her clients through radiation treatments and was with her during her final treatment when she was able to ring the bell to signify the end. She notes how the smile while joyously ringing the bell is one of her best memories to date. Rama is truly inspired by everyone she works with and we’re inspired by her!

In her free time, Rama loves cooking and art, whether it’s painting, architecture or knitting clothing for herself and family. She also loves running with her dog and they recently completed a half marathon!

Gloria Anderson-Armstrong

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Gloria joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in February 2020 and dove right in. Gloria had been retired for a year and after learning about SHS from a friend, she was immediately intrigued and applied!

Gloria is a registered nurse who’s dedicated her life to helping others. Prior to working with SHS, she spent 20 years at the Boston VA Medical Center and another 15 years at Boston Children’s Hospital. To get familiar with the line of work we do, Gloria eagerly took our “Caring for People with Alzheimer’s Disease” training and loved that and meeting with our other caregivers.

With SHS, Gloria does a lot of home-based activities with her clients, but also loves to walk their neighborhoods with them. In warmer weather she also likes to visit the Senior Center with her clients for added adventures. She has always enjoyed being around people and as a chatty person, she values the new relationships she has created.

In her free time, Gloria visits with her family members, exercises, and volunteers at the food pantry at her church and local shelter.

Claire Hernandez

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Claire joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in October 2017 upon retirement. With her husband still working full time, Claire quickly realized she needed something rewarding to occupy her new free time. Upon discovering SHS, she was excited to be able to do something she loved — helping others!

Prior to working with SHS, Claire worked as a Surgical Technologist in various operating rooms for more than 50 years… quite an accomplishment! She loves how she now has flexibility in her work schedule and how well she’s been matched with each of her clients’ personalities.

Claire notes how each of her client experiences are unique but often they spend a lot of time reminiscing and sharing each others’ life stories. Laughter and music is also a big part of her client experience and she loves singing with clients and finding the fun in everything they do together. She also takes clients on errands, like grocery shopping, doctor appointments and even hair appointments.

She has one client whom she’d often shop with then enjoy walks along the Charles River, visits to museums, libraries and even out to lunch.

Museum visits are a favorite of Claire’s with clients. One of her best SHS memories is visiting the Museum of Fine Arts with a client who could guide her through every single exhibit and artist there!

When she’s not with her SHS clients, Claire enjoys working out and spending time with her husband, daughter and grandson. 

Jeff Conlin

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Jeff joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest at the end of June 2020 and immediately began helping our team! She had recently lost her volunteer job at Emerson Hospital due to COVID-19 but still wanted to be involved in the community. She heard about SHS from her neighbor, Ed, another one of our caregivers.

Prior to working with SHS, Jeff held various sales and marketing roles for 40 years and then worked as a F.I.S.H. Coordinator. She is a natural-born helper, and loves being a part of a team of people who love what they do, helping others.

With SHS, Jeff provides companionship, performs light household chores like fixing meals and doing laundry, and loves walking and watching Judge Judy with her client (it’s her client’s favorite show!). She is a great listener and loves to talk, bond and connect over shared stories, past memories and laughs.

Jeff dedicates her free time to her dogs and loves to make life fun!

Jon Abrahamson

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Jon joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in May 2020. Despite the challenges with Covid-19, he immediately jumped in and began providing excellent care for his clients. Before coming on board, Jon taught english to 7th graders for 40 years, a career he loved.

Jon was attracted to SHS because he was eager to help others while remaining socially engaged. He loves sharing a variety of conversations and activities with his clients. He’s done everything from playing golf with an 87-year-old client to singing campfire songs with another client who could play the banjo but had trouble finishing a sentence. And those are just some of the fun memories he’s created!

Being a former English teacher, Jon often reads with his clients to keep their minds engaged. Jon also enjoys taking walks with his clients to help keep their bodies active.

In his free time, Jon is an avid newspaper and fiction reader. He also maintains an active lifestyle, playing in USTA tennis leagues, golfing, ski racing and cooking with lots of spice!

Betsy Simmons

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Betsy joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in 2017, eager to spread love and support, while providing valuable companionship! Betsy came to us with past experience working as a companion, helping people who are isolated and disenfranchised, in prison, shelters and recovery programs. She is also a holistic health educator, Interfaith minister and mediator, committed to helping all of those around her.

Betsy was drawn to SHS because of the sense of community we have amongst our caregivers and the caregiving work we do. She cherishes the relationships she’s built with her clients, and a typical week of caregiving for her includes talking, singing, listening and laughing, walking, meditating, doing puzzles, yoga, cooking and running errands. Betsy has also helped many of our caregivers address bereavement, leading our Death Cafes and The Conversation Project.

In her free time, Betsy loves to stay active, travel, visit with friends and family, read and sing in her hospice choir, Journey Songs. Singing is a true passion of hers, and one of her fondest memories is singing with a client, and as his memory faded for words, they would improvise, making up tunes and words with each other, while laughing and dancing. Finding and celebrating the simple joys is something Betsy is incredible at, and we are so thankful for!

Bill Murphy

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Bill joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in March 2019, coming to us with some incredible prior experience working with the elderly. Bill’s past experience includes working as a Home Health Aide for Mount Auburn Home Care, and later for the Arlington Council on Aging as Transportation Coordinator and Supervisor of Volunteer Program. Bill credits these experiences, as well as working in Tanzania, East Africa in the 1970’s, for his ability to sit, listen and develop meaningful relationships.

Bill cherishes his time spent with seniors, listening to their stories and providing mutually beneficial stimulation for their retirement years. He loves the variety of activities he’s able to share with clients, from long walks and dining out along the Charles River, to museum visits, including the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and sharing root beer floats at Cabot’s Ice Cream and Restaurant (a client favorite!).

With a smiling face and friendly personality, everyone who meets Bill feels an instant connection, and we love chatting with him at our Tuesday Evening Support Group and so much more.

Gerry Goldstein

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Gerry joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in 2017 after working in various hospital and medical offices for 20+ years. From her career experiences, Gerry has a lot of accrued medical knowledge and an empathic awareness of how to help others going through a difficult time which can be seen in all that she does with SHS.

Gerry was drawn to SHS because of the work we do for the senior community and the opportunity to share, bond and provide entertainment and joy to the lives of others. Upon joining SHS, she dove right in, helping to care for an 100-year-old, inquisitive client in her first month and beyond. Gerry provides friendship and companionship to her clients, often cooking, taking drives and getting them up and moving… whether it’s walking around the grocery store or walking around their home to admire the bird feeders!

In her free time, Gerry is a gratefully happy mother and granny! She loves to continue to learn new things (an avid attendee of our training sessions!) and has an energy that’s contagious and humor that brightens the day.

John Griffin

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John began his work with SHS in May of 2017 after a long career as a Mental Health Counselor. Upon meeting John and hearing about his background working with individuals struggling with a variety of issues including substance abuse and homelessness, we quickly realized that he had a heart of gold and would work well with our population. John took to learning about his new role as a caregiver with ease and has taken advantage of every learning opportunity that comes his way. We are particularly struck by John’s ability to connect with his clients as a peer. He uses his life experiences to relate to others and approaches his work with a tremendous amount of compassion and empathy. John works hard to find commonalities with his clients, treating them as equals with valuable life experiences and lessons. He is supportive of his Caregiver colleagues and humble about his vast experience and credentials in the mental health industry. To his clients, John is a calm and respectful presence who helps people feel at ease about accepting help, and emphasizing the mutual benefits he receives by the relationship. We are grateful that John chose SHS to enhance life after retirement, or, as John would say, “post-career”!

Amy Ranji

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Amy has been working with Seniors Helping Seniors since October of 2016, and she’s been an amazing support to her clients. Amy has an exceptional warmth and compassion, which is apparent immediately after meeting her. She has an infectious smile and laugh, and an uncanny ability to brighten the day of her clients. Amy grew up in Kenya and she understands and is sensitive to how other cultures view aging. Amy takes her role as a caregiver very seriously and is often trying to find creative ways to keep her clients’ engaged. Her clients love her upbeat personality and her willingness to help in any way she can. She is communicative with the office staff and takes advantage of any learning opportunity that she can in order to understand how best to support her clients. She exudes empathy and we feel so fortunate to have her on our team.

Ginny Neumann

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Ginny joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in April 2019 and has been providing excellent companionship to her clients ever since! Decades ago, Ginny worked as an outreach social worker for senior citizens and later volunteered with Meals on Wheels and as a SHINE Medicare counselor, and more recently, she spent several years visiting and helping care for her elderly mother. After her mother’s death, found herself missing caregiving and landed with us at SHS, looking to help those who feel vulnerable to feel safe and connected instead.

With that in mind, Ginny is committed to providing companionship to help defray feelings of loneliness, boredom, anxiety and depression that many seniors often face, especially for those living with dementias and other illnesses. Ginny loves to do activities with her clients, especially getting them out of their home for a change of scenery and social stimulation, enabling them to enjoy things they are no longer able to do on their own. This includes meals at restaurants, museums, gardens and walks around the Arnold Arboretum. And for those with mobility issues, she brings fresh activities and conversations to them in the home.

Ginny has noted being blown away by how each of her clients, “in their own way, face each day with courage, grace and humor,” and knew she’d found her calling early on with SHS, when she was picnicking with a client who works hard to overcome aphasia who announced, “I love this!”

Judy Lavine

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Judy has been with SHS since 2015, and in fact, was one of the first caregivers that we hired! Judy is a natural caregiver and companion and gives 150% to everyone that she visits. She builds tremendous relationships with all those that she helps – whether it’s visiting with someone twice a week to ensure they are safe, stimulated and engaged, or driving someone to a medical appointment! Judy makes a lasting positive impression on our clients and their families – who are extraordinarily grateful to have her in their life. Judy is an advocate for everyone she spends time with. She is thorough, communicative and always warm. Judy is exceptionally flexible and goes out of her way to accommodate the different needs of everyone that she helps and supports. When asked recently about her time on staff at SHS, Judy replied that she feels fortunate that the lovely people she takes care of are ones she truly enjoys spending time with. We are lucky to have such a thoughtful and conscientious bright light in our SHS family.

 

Marge David

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Marge has been working for SHS since 2016. During her time on staff, she has made a big impact on both her clients and her colleagues. Marge is a retired pediatric nurse and has been able to apply a combination of clinical knowledge and compassion to the work that she does with her clients. Her clients refer to her as a “treasure” and “superb” and we agree! Marge is kind and patient in the face of resistance and has the ability to make even the most ambivalent clients receptive to care. Marge has an amazing ability to make people feel like she’s an old and dear friend. She is insightful and intuitive; both qualities that make her stand out as an exceptional caregiver. We have learned a lot from Marge and find ourselves seeking her guidance on challenging situations. We feel very fortunate to have Marge on our SHS caregiving team!

Nadine Kraman

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Nadine has been a part of our team since 2017 and we feel so fortunate to work with her! Nadine is creative (as evidenced by her many years as a potter and writer), kind, compassionate, youthful, and lots of fun! Nadine has a natural ability to connect with others, even those with significant cognitive impairment. This natural talent surely helped her find her calling as a clinical psychologist. Nadine treats all of her clients with the utmost respect and dignity. She cares about the details; taking the time to get to know all of her clients and what makes them feel special. She celebrates their accomplishments and mourns their losses.

Nadine has a passion for life and helps her clients see the beauty in their own universes, even when things don’t feel beautiful. She never backs down from a challenge and takes advantage of every learning opportunity that comes her way. Over the past two years, we have all learned so much from Nadine, but first and foremost, we’ve learned how to be more patient, compassionate, and calm!

Nadine sees her work at SHS as a “spiritual journey” and her goal is to make the day of the person she’s visiting just a little bit better. The best outcome to her is to make the person smile, even if it takes singing and dancing to do so.

Victor Stewart

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Victor came on board Seniors Helping Seniors in September 2020, inspired by his desire to give back and be helpful to others at this stage of his life. His background includes personal family experience with dementia. Victor earned an associate’s degree from Ben Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston; before joining SHS, he worked in the automotive industry for 25 years, preceded by administrative stints in healthcare and corporate world settings. While in the auto industry, Victor worked primarily as a mechanic. He has a friendly, easy-going personality and is very empathic, making him a good fit for this work. Family is very important to Victor and much of his family lives on his block, a rarity these days. When not working, Victor likes to keep active and enjoys camping, biking, hiking with his dog, gardening, reading, and anything car-related.

Kathy Bergeron

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Kathy joined Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest in 2022, drawn to our outlook that peers make the best caregivers, a philosophy that deeply resonated with her.

Kathy had a fulfilling career as a nurse, dedicating a significant portion of it to caring for elderly individuals before retiring to care for her mother, who lived well beyond 100 years old. She was eager to join SHS and bring her wealth of life experience to the role, while also embracing the opportunities to socialize, learn and grow with others.

Outside of work, Kathy leads an active lifestyle and enjoys a variety of activities such as swimming, walking, reading, listening to music, and mingling in poetry. She has been happily married to her husband for 50 years and together they have four children and seven grandchildren. They share a love for the theater, going on trips to Maine, and indulging in Chinese cuisine.

Aina Dixon

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Aina has been exchanging her time and companionship for warm smiles and heart-felt gratitude from her clients at Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest since November of 2022.

It was a stroke of luck that through her love of reading Aina stumbled upon our flyer at her local library’s bulletin board, and she decided to embark on a new journey with us!

Before joining the team, Aina had a long career in inventory management and sales analysis and was contemplating what her next chapter in life might look like. Little did she know that her desire to give back and help others would lead her to SHS, where she could use her skills and passion for connecting with people to make a difference in the lives of seniors in her community.

No matter what her clients need, Aina is always ready to lend a hand with a smile on her face. Whether it’s accompanying them to appointments, running errands, or simply spending time together, Aina makes sure that each moment is special and memorable.

When she’s not busy caring for her clients, Aina can be found indulging in her love for long walks, reading books on the beach, skiing, spending time with family and friends, and traveling.

Bruce Arafe

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Bruce Arafe has been with Seniors Helping Seniors, Greater Boston & Metrowest since late 2020.

After a long career as a mental health counselor and 40 years spent building and running his own company, Bruce was captivated by the opportunity this role gave him to share his compassion and expertise with others in his stage of life. He has found true fulfillment in his job as a caregiver, knowing he gets to make a meaningful contribution to his community every day and create the positive impact he wants to see in society.

Through his interaction with clients, each day is a chance for laughter, shared stories, and heartfelt moments that make both him and his clients feel valued and loved. Bruce cherishes these special times and holds the smiles of his clients close to his heart. One of his favorite memories is of a client singing Frank Sinatra; he still remembers how impressed he was by his client’s singing abilities and the emotions it sparked inside him. Bruce also loves learning about the remarkable contributions many of his clients have made to the United States and the world, like one client who played a vital role in creating the airport radar used in airports today.  

Typically, his days with clients are filled with engaging conversations while walking around the neighborhood, going on coffee runs, or enjoying meals at restaurants.

Outside of work, Bruce enjoys picking up the tennis racquet for a friendly match or hitting the golf course. He loves to travel and has visited Central America, Europe, many of the Caribbean islands, and lived in Canada during his teenage years.