A local community organization recently recognized two Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) staffers for providing information and services that help older adults age in place.
The Cambridge-based organization Paine Senior Services recently honored former SCES Executive Director John O’Neill for his career in elder services and Caseworker Cassie Cramer for helping meet the mental health needs of older adults.
Paine Senior Services provides comprehensive guidance and support to Cambridge senior, with the goal of helping them remain independent in the community.
Cramer received the Jeannie Warren Paine Award, which was established in 2005 to provide annual recognition for an individual who serves older adults in Cambridge with compassion, commitment, and collaboration.
Much of Cramer’s work has been to address the unmet mental health needs of older adults in Cambridge. She is a member of advocacy coalitions at the state and local levels, and has implemented creative, alternative models to traditional mental health treatments that don’t always work for older adults. SCES Clinical Director Annie Fowler nominated Cramer for the award, saying she routinely goes above and beyond for people in need.
“Cassie is well-known in our community as the go-to person for advice and consultation on mental health and housing advocacy,” said Fowler.
O’Neill received the Legacy Award, which honors someone who, over the course of their career, has demonstrated their commitment to serving Cambridge and to building community. Paine Senior Services Executive Director and SCES Board President Elizabeth Aguilo said that O’Neill’s achievements and many years of service to the community made him a clear choice for the award.
“This award was established to honor those who have dedicated their lives and careers in service of others, and that exemplifies John’s approach to the work,” she said.
O’Neill, who retired in October after 38 years as director of SCES, established a reputation in Cambridge and across the state for innovation and dedication to the rights of older adults. Helping people live in the setting of their choice is one of his proudest achievements, he said.
“Any work that I did had to be consistent with my values. My career at SCES was an opportunity for me to be faithful to what I believed, and at the same time, to make the world a little bit better for others,” said O’Neill.
O’Neill and Cramer accepted their awards at an Oct. 30 celebration at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Cambridge.
Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is a non-profit agency that supports the independence and well-being of older people in Somerville and Cambridge. For more information, visit eldercare.org, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or contact the SCES Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601 for free advice and guidance.