Another Chance at Life: Trudie’s Story

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Trudie had always been a people person

“Why am I still here?” A year ago, this was Trudie’s constant refrain. Severe depression coupled with numerous medical concerns prompted a string of hospitalizations, and none of the treatments she tried helped. Trudie struggled to get out of bed, missed appointments, and had lost an alarming amount of weight. Concerned, Trudie’s doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center referred her to The Brookline Center’s Healthy Lives program.

The Healthy Lives Program is a pioneering Brookline Center partnership that helps individuals with serious mental health and medical conditions access coordinated care and achieve better health. As an innovative solution to a serious public health challenge, it also helps avoid costly hospitalizations and reduce the cost of care.

“I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a headstone,” Trudie told Healthy Lives nurse Hannah Scott. Never married, Trudie had always been a part of an active group of friends. Her depression only emerged after retirement when, as friends passed away, she became increasingly isolated.

Hannah took stock of Trudie’s complete health picture and, communicating directly with Trudie’s doctors, ensured she was receiving appropriate services, including adequate psychiatric care and support from a social worker and physical therapist. These caregivers noticed a pattern: Trudie’s spirits lightened when she engaged with others, but as soon as she was alone, depression took over.

Slowly Hannah introduced the idea of a move to an assisted living community to lessen Trudie’s isolation. She accompanied Trudie on visits to facilities, helped navigate financial hoops and paperwork, and organized the move from Trudie’s beloved Brookline neighborhood to a sunny apartment at Providence House, just a few miles away.

Within a month in her new home, Trudie’s depression has waned and she’s back to her lively, social self. When she isn’t sneaking a sandwich to her friend at the switchboard, she can be found at the reception desk, greeting residents and sorting out everyone’s problems. As her 90th birthday approaches, Trudie has another chance at life.