In the Spotlight
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.