Last month, Montclair welcomed its new Senior Services Director Judy Hurley. We recently had the opportunity to get to know her a bit better.
As a Montclair resident herself Judy has been following the saga of senior services for some time. When her previous employment position ended, the timing was right for her to take on a new challenge. “I know that Montclair has a lot to offer Seniors and with my background in social work, program development, management, fundraising and working with seniors, I thought I could be a good fit. I felt like I had something to offer. I am a senior myself and plan to age in place here in Montclair.”
Judy’s involvement with Seniors began during her senior year in High School, when she worked at a nursing home with her best friend. This experience sparked her interest in pursuing Social Work as a career. Throughout her 30+ year career, Judy has had several positions of responsibility, e.g. as manager of a day program in San Francisco that served adults with dual diagnosis, and as executive director of an agency that served people with disabilities from childhood through their senior years.
As a member of the sandwich generation, Judy well understands the challenges of caretaking across generations, especially as people transition through middle-age and beyond. “I had the privilege of caring for my mother, my mother-in-law, and my older brother all while raising my daughter,” she says.
Judy and her family moved to Montclair in 2009. The public schools, the progressive community, the diversity, the arts, restaurants, and trees all drew her here! “We had lived in San Francisco and Manhattan and loved both, but wanted to raise our daughter close to a city but not in a city. We love Montclair.”
Judy believes that aging is a state of mind. “I believe what author Betty Friedan wrote ‘Aging is not lost youth, but a new stage of opportunity and strength.’”
Having been Senior Services Director for a little over a month now, she says she really loves it. “I am seriously impressed daily with the volume of compassionate people who have offered to help me make a positive impact in Montclair. This town is rich with seniors who are intelligent, problem solvers … who … want to make a difference in their community. It is my challenge to find ways to engage them in constructive projects that we will all see come to fruition. I know we can do many things together that will help not only the seniors now, but also the adults who will soon become seniors [who] age in place!”
Judy brings the life lesson of Dalai Lama to her work: Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. “As a cancer survivor and I have learned that with a positive mindset, a kind heart, and a sense of humor you can not only get through anything you can enjoy the ride!”