Elders Living at Home Program
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"...The only thing I regret was that I didn't do anything earlier.”
Juana is 62 years old, but her youthful face belies her age and the hard life she has lived. Ten years ago, Juana's husband left her for another woman, and Juana fell into a debilitating depression. She decided to move to Boston from New York City to be closer to her son and daughter. At first she stayed with them in their small apartment, but that soon became overcrowded and she had to leave. She was suffering from severe depressed, and had nowhere to go. The psychiatrist she was seeing at the time suggested that she go to Pine Street Inn.
At Pine Street, Juana met her Elders Living at Home (ELAHP) caseworker, Juanita. Life started to improve for Juana. She became a citizen. She also found an antidepressant that helped her mood. After seven months in the ELAHP transitional unit, she moved into a small room in a rooming house where she shared a kitchen and a bathroom with the other residents. Most of the residents were men, and Juana had little privacy. Her depression worsened, but she knew that she could always count on the people at ELAHP.
Her case manager, Juanita, kept working with Juana to find her a better living situation. Juana remembers the exact date she got the keys to her new apartment, October 11th, 2009. She likes her apartment a lot because it's close to her doctor, her psychiatrist, and the supermarket. She has two grandchildren now, and proudly shows a picture from her wallet of them when they were younger. They are thirteen and nine years old, and Juana enjoys having them visit her at her apartment.
She doesn't know what she would have done without the ELAHP staff. “They brought me to get a new ID,” she says. “They helped me when I was called for jury duty and couldn't go. They never deny me anything. I know I can always call them. Thank god for Juanita.” Juana would like for women in her situation not to be afraid to go to a shelter if they need help: “There are people who think of a shelter and say ‘oh no! I couldn't!’ But I didn't have a bad experience. The only thing I regret was that I didn't do anything earlier.”