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Meet Brighton Resident Jean Rubinson

Posted: October 16, 2017

At JCHE's 2017 Gala, four residents shared their stories, shining a light on how critical affordable, supportive housing is to the wellbeing of seniors. This is Jean's story.      


“I was a ‘lucky 7 baby’,” Jean chuckles. “I was born on May 7, weighed 7lb. 14 oz., my mother was 43, my father was 52, and I was the youngest of seven children!” The Detroit Free Press even wrote an article about her fortuitous birth.

Daughter of Romanian immigrants who ran a used furniture store, Jean lost her father when she was just five and ended up in the foster care system -- hardships that may have inspired Jean to dedicate much of her life to helping others. After getting her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy, she would go on to work with tuberculosis and ALS patients, paralyzed veterans, domestic violence victims, and underprivileged preschoolers.

But it would be her own struggles with depression that would put Jean on a lifetime path of self-discovery.   

“At various points in my life, I felt powerless, like I couldn’t make decisions,” the usually jovial Jean admits in a somber tone. “Over the years, I learned to stand up for myself, to express myself, to be my own person.”  

Jean, who has two sons and four grandchildren, moved into Shillman House in 2011, and relocated to our Brighton campus in 2015.

“I love the cosmopolitan atmosphere here,” says Jean, who is a regular at the many multicultural events we host. She also loves going to concerts, attends art classes, and volunteers at the computer center.  

Passionate about the need for affordable senior housing, Jean describes the proposed federal cuts to the program as “devastating”. And true to her nature, she is doing something about it. Last July, Jean was one of many JCHE residents to advocate on behalf of increased federal funding for senior housing at the “Our Home, Our Voices” rally in Faneuil Hall, and spoke on JCHE’s behalf at a forum hosted by the Governor's Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts.



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