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Living Independently At Home– With Assistance

Although he was born in Brooklyn, Jeffrey Steinfeld has lived almost his entire adult life in the Boston area. A retired Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemistry professor, he has resided at Whittier Place in the West End for many years. Through the years his family has become “totally dispersed” with no one nearby to provide support if needed. Jeffrey has enjoyed an active social life, however, through his engagement with The Boston Synagogue and by participating in a variety of social activities offered in and around “The Hill.” Maintaining independence and self-reliance were easy until he became sick and was hospitalized.

Why did you join Beacon Hill Village?
I knew about Beacon Hill Village through neighborhood social events. My initial rationale for joining was that it would be a great “insurance policy” in case I ever needed them. But I also felt that it was such a great community asset-- one which should be supported. So I joined. Little did I know how quickly, I would be using that insurance policy!

Which Village services did you need?
As I was recovering in the hospital, I realized that I had no one to help me at home once I would be discharged from rehab. Who would help me with my daily needs? Who would help me with doing errands and with preparing meals or going to the pharmacy? How would I be able to get to appointments since I no longer drive? As soon as I got in touch with the Village staff, they quickly arranged for all of the services I needed– a personal health aide, meal preparation, escorts to medical appointments and home cleaning.

Are you still using their services?
Yes. My home health assistant is with me several days a week. Whenever I leave my apartment, she comes with me. An added benefit is that she is a marvelous cook – she specializes in Caribbean dishes which I really enjoy. I use the BHV drivers a lot. At first I thought I could get back to driving myself but quickly learned there are so many services that get you around to anywhere you need to go. The BHV drivers are marvelous. They can provide rides to doctor appointments, pick up and deliver prescriptions and even take you grocery shopping.

How about social activities organized by the Village?
Unfortunately, I’m not strong enough – yet—to go out much on my own. But I will be soon. I am grateful to attend services at The Boston Synagogue which is quite near to Whittier Place.

So what are the best adjectives to describe Beacon Hill Village?
Helpful. Responsive. Supportive. Resource-rich. As I said, I didn’t know how much I would need them when I first signed up.

What would you tell others considering a membership in Beacon Hill Village?
We all encounter transitions in life and sometimes we just need help. I’d say to give a call to their staff. Sometimes a simple call can be a big help in navigating the tough transitions we all face.