GCM Team members, pushing through the pandemic together with resilience

Allies in Aging – JFS Elder Care Management is a program offered through JFS that provides comprehensive Geriatric Care Management services to older adults in the Metrowest area. Staffed by experienced Massachusetts licensed social workers and nurses, many with advanced certifications in care management, case management and dementia, the team takes an interdisciplinary approach to help older adults and their families navigate the changes that come with aging.  Support is designed to maximize independence and quality of life while honoring personal preferences and financial constraints.  Together, the team works to provide the following services:
  • Comprehensive assessments
  • Communication with family, friends, and supports
  • Coordination of health care and community services
  • Home safety evaluations
  • Medical care coordination/ medical appointment escort
  • Medication management
  • Assistance with long-term care planning
  • Senior housing options
  • Caregiver Support
  • Installation of technology-based solutions to enhance communication, safety, and connection

Malka Young, LICSW, CCM
Director, Allies in Aging — JFS Elder Care Management 
With JFS since May 2000
Speaks English and Hebrew 
“Allies in Aging fulfills JFS’ mission to alleviate suffering, enhance lives and support frail older adults and their caregivers. Families in distress call JFS looking for help, their mother or father is about to be discharged from the hospital, their husband or wife has a new diagnosis of dementia or Parkinson’s or congestive heart failure and they are totally overwhelmed. Googling for help has brought confusion and frustration, nothing being quite right, not knowing what to choose. Whether it is arranging a video conference, bringing siblings together from across the country to discuss what to do with mom or dad, or a JFS care manager advocating for their loved one, using their many years of experience and close community connections to so they can receive the care they need, JFS care managers are here to help. As the Director of Allies in Aging, I get the daily satisfaction of bringing relief to families and elders under stress. Working together, using the unique talents of each member of its multi-disciplinary team, families and individuals benefit from years of expertise to support them in reaching their goals–whether it is aging in place in their own home, choosing an assisted living community that meets their needs that they can afford, learning to live with a new diagnosis, or finding the support they need to be the best caregiver they can be while taking care of themselves.”

Michelle Bodin-Hettinger, LICSW, C-ASWCM, CDP
With JFS since May 2019
Speaks English
“The work we do to provide elders and families help during these isolating and unstable times is more important than ever. Changes in physical or mental status can be overwhelming to aging adults and their care partners. The sense of loss can undermine the ability to think through the situation and plan for the future. Additionally, navigating unfamiliar healthcare, housing, and other support systems can add to the uncertainty.
Providing support and guidance to assess the situation and engage the resources needed to move forward can help to prevent frustration, confusion, and despair. At a time when we are being forced to limit our social contacts, the JFS team is able to provide safe, targeted assistance to our clients.”

Judy Herzig-Marx, LICSW, ACSW 
With JFS since June 2016
Speaks English

“I received my Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Chicago and my BA from Cornell University. As a licensed independent clinical social worker for over thirty years, I was a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor at Metrowest Mental Health Center working with all age groups. I then worked at Tufts Health Plan as a Program Manager in Behavioral Health for Medicare insurance products and as a care manager for older adults. I enjoy helping our clients to live their best lives by helping them and their loved ones identify community resources and coordinate with community agencies and professionals for the best possible outcomes.”

Marcia Holman, OT, OTR
With JFS since December 2019
Speaks English

“I love that I can use my skill set as an OT to help the client (or their family member) stay safely in their home environment or make the transition to a new living space. It’s important to take stress off the family so they can enjoy that next chapter.”


Shashona Kaye, RN, BSN
With JFS since February 2011
Speaks English
“The work we do as part of the JFS GCM team is so important.  As more and more elders are aging in place, it is a privilege to be able to be part of the process of helping our community members to continue to feel safe and secure in their home.”


Laila Vehvilainen, MS, MPH, NASM-CPT, CDP 
With JFS since October 2015
Speaks English/Latvian/Spanish

“JFS Allies in Aging provides vital services for seniors to maintain independence and dignity.  As a Senior Fitness Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer,  I find it rewarding to work with seniors to maintain their physical health and quality of life.  Watching my clients improve in physical strength and endurance has been very gratifying.  I think that JFS provides a comprehensive program to support all dimensions of wellness.  I feel fortunate to be part of the team.”

Vanessa Verissimo
BSW Student Intern at Bridgewater State University 
With JFS since September 2020
Trilingual in English/Portuguese/Spanish
“My mission is to promote better quality of life to the vulnerable people we serve, enhance human well-being, advocate and offer above and beyond support. At JFS I want to learn their values, culture, and contribute to the community.”