At JCHE's 2017 Gala, four residents shared their stories, shining a light on how critical affordable, supportive housing is to the well-being of seniors. This is Cynthia's story.
“Everyone who works and lives here is like friends and family,” says Cynthia, a Mattapan native who started her career as a bookkeeper in the late 1940s before transitioning to customer service, which, she admits, was a better fit for her outgoing personality.
Having lived in Florida for twenty-eight years, in 2014, she and her husband Hy decided to move closer to their children after Hy began to show the dreaded signs of dementia.
Before settling at Shillman House, Cynthia and Hy looked at other housing options. Cynthia recalls how one place had a separate dementia wing. “The people looked lifeless, like they had nothing to live for anymore.”
Not wanting Hy to live in isolation, the vibrant community at Shillman became an easy choice. And her partially subsidized, tax credit apartment—available to residents who don’t qualify for fully subsidized housing, but who cannot afford a market rate apartment—was the ideal solution.
An extrovert with a terrific sense of humor, Hy was a source of happiness for everyone who knew him. Struggling to hold back tears, Cynthia tells us, “He was one in a million. He had such a great personality, and more friends than anyone I’ve ever known.”
Even as his condition deteriorated, Hy remained active, exercising every day and attending Shillman’s monthly VA luncheons until his passing in 2016.
“Through it all, staff and residents were incredible,” recalls Cynthia, underscoring the compassionate and caring environment that’s at the heart of our Aging in Community philosophy.