In the Spotlight

By Meagan Smith, Heller MPP Candidate, class of 2017

This week’s interview was with Ruth Beckerman-Rodau, Chief Executive Officer of Springwell. Since 1976, Springwell has offered Waltham residents services that help residents remain independent with the highest quality of life possible. Springwell is passionate about helping seniors and individuals live at home, supporting family members and those who provide care, and working with health care providers to improve health and satisfaction while reducing costs. We hope you enjoy reading below!

Ruth Beckerman-Rodau

Ruth Beckerman-Rodau

Why is healthy aging important to your agency? How do you see Waltham continuing to grow as an age-friendly city in the years to come?

Healthy period is important. The healthier an individual is, the higher quality of life that person has. With increased medical interventions, people are living longer and oftentimes with more health issues. If a person can control their health issues, the more independent and engaged that person will be in society. Civic engagement in one’s community leads to empowerment, ensuring that one’s environment is inviting and welcoming and has the resources that residents want. Continuously offering opportunities for engagement and welcoming people to be a part of the healthy aging movement will allow Waltham to successfully grow as an age-friendly city.

What are your agency’s current goals, projects, and events, particularly in regards to healthy aging efforts in Waltham?

Springwell offers an array of services which support all Waltham residents’ desire to remain healthy and independent. Such services include: information and referral, providing direct hands on support for bathing/dressing/eating/etc., nutritional support, as well as educational workshops ranging from healthy aging to chronic pain or diabetes self-management. Springwell helps to ensure that each resident has the resources to stay as healthy and engaged as possible for as long as possible.

What healthy aging successes has your agency achieved thus far?

Springwell provides services to 10,000 people per year, serving all regardless of economic status. Some services we provide are free, and others are provided at a subsidized rate.

What is Springwell’s latest initiative?

We have recently started a private geriatric care management program that offers a below market rate for individuals who are not low income but also cannot afford the traditional market rate.

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about your organization?

Springwell offers programs for family members who are caregivers for a loved one. We work in close partnership with the Waltham Council on Aging, the Waltham Department of Public Health, and a variety of community partners. We are located at 307 Waverley Oaks Rd. #205 Waltham, MA 02453. You can reach us at 617-926-4100 or on our website,


In the Spotlight

Nancy and Martha NWC

Left to Right: Nancy Mulvihill and Martha Ryan

By Meagan Smith, Heller MPP Candidate, class of 2017

This week we spoke with Martha Ryan, Director of Neighbors Who Care. NWC works to lessen isolation and loneliness of Waltham seniors.

Why did your organization want to join in this initiative with Healthy Waltham to promote an age-friendly community?

Simply put, Neighbors Who Care (NWC) serves those who fall through the cracks. NWC centers on a social aspect, helping clients combat isolation and depression. Social gatherings allow individuals to learn something from others, which in turn expands their minds and hearts.

What services do you provide?

We carefully match a volunteer with a client who may find themselves doing such fun activities as going to a movie, a walk, afternoon tea, visiting a festival in the North End, shopping for a good bargain or even, perhaps playing scrabble. Sometimes, volunteers accompany their client to the doctor’s office, often serving as that “extra set of ears.”

Neighbors Who Care volunteers are compassionate visitors who gain new grateful friends. There are opportunities for our clients and volunteers to come together at our ice cream socials, teas, holiday parties, and more.

What are your organization’s current goals, projects, and events, particularly in regards to healthy aging efforts in Waltham?

NWC is currently working with both Mt. Auburn Hospital and Newtown-Wellesley Hospital to coordinate improved hospital pick-up services. The mission is to coordinate with the social worker staff at the hospitals about visiting clients just released from the hospital to help with grocery shopping, prescriptions, and simply keep someone from being alone.

We are always on the lookout for people who want to volunteer with us. NWC will soon give presentations at the Rotary, Women’s Club, and the Lions Club to recruit more volunteers.

What healthy aging successes has your organization achieved thus far?

NWC has a thrift store at 709 Main Street Waltham, MA 02451. The thrift shop benefits the community by helping to support our services for seniors. It also benefits elders looking to volunteer in our community. Some of our volunteers who work with elders throughout the community in other capacities are also themselves elders and enjoy the sense of purpose their work provides them.

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about your organization?

NWC is always looking for volunteers! Please contact us if you are interested in being a part of our organization. The annual fundraiser will be held in early fall 2017. The final date is still being determined. Keep an eye out for this event! Information will be released soon. Here is a link to the NWC website if you would like to learn more about our organization. Click here to learn more about Neighbors Who Care.

In the Spotlight

By Meagan Smith, Heller MPP Candidate, class of 2017


Marybeth Duffy

Waltham agencies are working together to make Waltham more age-friendly with our project “Waltham Connections for Healthy Aging,” sponsored by the Tufts Health Plan Foundation. Healthy Waltham has created a blog series entitled “Spotlight” to highlight the twelve organizations involved in the Waltham Connections program. We hope this information is both fun and informative, allowing you to learn more about your community and get involved. Our first interview is with Marybeth Duffy, Director of the Council on Aging. The Waltham Council on Aging is a government agency working to improve the quality of life of local seniors aged 60 and older along with their families and caregivers.

Why did your agency want to join in this initiative with Healthy Waltham to promote an age-friendly community? Why is healthy aging important to your agency? How do you see Waltham continuing to grow as an age-friendly city in the years to come?

Promoting an age-friendly community is a huge priority for the CoA since we are the “go-to” for all things aging related here in Waltham. Brandeis University’s Professor Walter Leutz led a community-based participatory action research study in 2015 to better understand healthy aging in our community. During his study, Dr. Leutz conducted focus groups here at CoA for his research. We see more individuals aware and involved with promoting an age-friendly community since the start of this study and hope that as this work continues more people will pay attention.

What are your agency’s current events, particularly in regards to healthy aging efforts in Waltham?

The CoA has teamed with Healthy Waltham’s Chef Reva to offer a healthy eating series targeted for seniors. Chef Reva provides an educational cooking demonstration and fun for all because we know that food helps build community and is important to overall health. We have many other programs for seniors as well. We hope seniors will register with us and take advantage of all we have to offer. Our monthly newsletter is available here on the City website and also posted around town.

What is the most unique project or event your agency is taking on in the Waltham Connections program?

A subcommittee on information and communication has developed in hopes to better streamline information and access. At the heart of the CoA, information and referral services allow seniors to keep their independence and age in place in their home and community among loved ones.

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about your agency?

The CoA is not only a great resource for family members and caregivers of seniors here in Waltham but also provides services onsite.

To learn more, come into the CoA at 488 Main St. Monday through Friday from 8:30AM-4:30PM. Or call us at 781-899-7228. We hope to see you soon!


Great Grains Workshop

Looking for some new ways to get your whole grains in? Chef Reva’s winter workshop at the Council on Aging focused on whole grains. Participants sampled a variety of grains – some familiar, some new – learned how to prepare them, shared recipes, and connected over great food and company. Grab a bag of brown rice, wild rice, kasha, quinoa, farro, or another of the many whole and healthy options available at the supermarket and try something new!

Here are some recipes to get you started:

Grain Bowl

Our upcoming workshops at the Council on Aging will be held on:

  • Monday, March 27, 1:00-2:00 – “Not your average greens!” Learn about greens and how to prepare them.
  • Monday, May 15, 1:00 – 2:00 pm – topic TBD

To sign up, call 781-899-7228.


Zap it! Healthy Microwave Cooking

Your microwave is good for more than popcorn and leftovers! This January, Chef Reva created two delicious soups with residents of the Home Suites Inn transitional housing as part of her “Cooking without a Kitchen” cooking series. These workshops teach techniques for cooking healthy meals in the microwave. Her fresh Mushroom and Barley Soup and Pho (Beef Noodle Soup) are proof that you don’t need a fancy kitchen (or even a stove!) to create delicious and nutritious meals from scratch.

Try the workshop recipes below! For more quick meals and snacks, check out the microwave section of our recipe page.


Beef Noodle Soup (Pho)

serves 6


1 small onion or shallot, chopped
1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced thin
1 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
3 cups of low-sodium beef broth
3 cups of water
½ teaspoon cinnamon
8 ounces rice noodles
12 ounces lean beef sirloin, sliced thin
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, optional
4 scallions, thinly sliced
½ cup cilantro leaves
½ cup basil leaves or Thai basil leaves
1 cup bean sprouts
2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced, optional
2 limes, cut into wedges


  1. Combine onion or shallot, fennel, ginger, beef broth, water and cinnamon in a large microwave-safe bowl or container. Cook on high power for 10 minutes. Remove ginger slices and discard.
  1. Meanwhile, heat 4 cups of water in a microwave safe bowl until boiling, about 5 minutes. Add rice noodles to hot water and cook in high 2 minutes, or until tender. Drain noodles and transfer to a large bowl.
  1. Add sliced beef to hot broth and cook on high 2-5 minutes, until beef is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.

4. Add Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil to soup. Add cooked noodles, scallions, herbs, bean sprouts and jalapenos, if using. Serve with lime wedges.


Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom and Barley Soup

adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook

serves 6


½ cup uncooked pearl barley
1¼ cups water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons soy sauce, low sodium
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5½ cups water, chicken stock or vegetable stock


  1. Place the barley and 1¼ cups of water in a large microwave-safe container with lid. Cover and microwave on medium power for 20 minutes. Stir and repeat for another 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. If the barley is not yet tender, add another half a cup of water and cook another 5 minutes on medium power.
  1. Meanwhile, combine olive oil and chopped onion in another microwave safe container. Cook, covered 2-5 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Add garlic, mushrooms and salt and cook another 5 minutes, covered on high power.
  1. Add soy sauce and apple cider vinegar and cook another 5 – 10 minutes until mushrooms and onion are very tender.
  1. Combine cooked barley, mushroom mixture, and 5 cups of water in a large microwave safe container or bowl. Add fresh black pepper and mix well.
  1. Cook another 10 minutes on high power until soup is hot.