Needham, MA

FirstLight is About People

Home Care is Not a Career, It’s a Calling

We know your first priority when choosing a home care provider is finding someone you can trust and rely on… someone who will care for your loved one as you would, and as we would our own. We’ve been where you are, and this is one of the main reasons we chose to be in this business. Please take a moment to read our many outstanding reviews from Google, Facebook, and and you’ll understand why FirstLight Home Care of West Suburban Boston is recognized for the highest quality of care and service as a home care and senior care agencyMeet our office care team:

Wendy Adlerstein, LSW

Wendy serves as our Executive Director. She oversees the non-medical assessments of clients, originating service plans, and supervises the office care team including the recruiting, training, scheduling and performance of caregivers.

Prior to joining FirstLight Home Care of West Suburban Boston, Wendy served in a variety of roles during an 18 year career in elder services at a private, non- profit home care agency in Waltham, MA which provides a myriad of services to seniors and adults with disabilities. As a licensed social worker, Wendy managed programs which provided services to seniors, conducted in home assessments, provided guidance to families and individuals to create service plans that addressed the needs and safety of seniors, and coordinated home care services. During her role as Volunteer Services Manager, she was responsible for recruiting, training, supervising and managing volunteers. She has extensive experience working directly with older adults and their families and helping people connect and find the right solutions to meet their needs. Wendy is inspired and motivated by helping people and thrives on making a difference in people’s lives.

Wendy holds a B.A. from Clark University, in Psychology with a concentration in Sociology and Human Services. In addition to her Massachusetts License in Social Work, Wendy holds a Certificate in Gerontology from the Worcester Consortium Gerontology Program. She is a member of the Aging Life Care Association (ALCA), formerly the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.  Wendy is a Certified Dementia Practitioner® (CDP) in good standing from the National Council of Certified Dementia PractitionersWendy also volunteers as a committee member for the Greater Boston Walk to End Alzheimer’s.  Within that committee, she is active on the Senior Service Engagement Sub-Committee, helping to educate and bring on new teams and sponsors to support the Alzheimer’s Association and their very important mission.

Please take some time to listen to Wendy in an interview on the Engaging Voices podcast.  Wendy shares how she became interested in gerontology, the importance of empathy and communication in the business of care, and how she connects with stressed clients and families.  In addition, Wendy provides an inside view on what makes FirstLight Home Care of West Suburban Boston different from other home care providers.

Steve Stern

As President, Steve manages FirstLight Home Care of West Suburban Boston and leads the community relations and business development efforts.

Prior to opening the FirstLight office, Steve served in a number of management positions at marketing services organizations, where he developed programs and campaigns to promote a range of consumer brands and business services—from telecommunications and public transportation to accounting services and healthcare. Steve was born and raised in Needham and graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in Economics. He also holds an MBA with a concentration in marketing from the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business.

After much success with his marketing and business development career, Steve began exploring new ways to use his skills while seeking a return to the meaningful work he enjoyed and missed of his early career where he was the manager of a Wellesley-based marketing services agency. In that position, Steve developed public awareness campaigns for a range of social issues in support of non-profit organizations and government agencies. Clients included the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, New England Home for Little Wanderers, the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General, and a Medicare Options campaign for the predecessor to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Opening the FirstLight Home Care office was an opportunity for Steve to give back to the community, to seniors and others in his hometown and the surrounding area by offering an important service—one which has such a significant impact on quality of life.

Ed and Steve Image from JF&CS Memory Cafe in Waltham 2015 RESIZED

Steve enjoying the company of FirstLight client, Ed King at the JF&CS Memory Cafe in Waltham, MA.

Steve has personally seen the growing need for services to help people remain independent, through care for his grandmother, relatives, and other family members. He understands firsthand, the difficulty of caring for loved ones, and the challenges of finding qualified and compassionate resources to help in meeting this goal.

The FirstLight office was opened in partnership with Steve’s father, Michael, who serves as an advisor. Michael is a retired technology company pioneer from the early days of the Route 128 Corridor. He is married to Nancy, a life-long Needham resident and active community member. Steve is married to Amy, a public health care quality advisor, and he is the father of twin boys who graduated from Tufts University in 2020 and are now in the working world.  Steve is a volunteer Board Member on the Boston Festival Orchestra’s inaugural Board of Directors.

Hillary Tarr serves as our Manager of Client Care Services. Prior to joining FirstLight Home Care, Hillary worked in the senior living industry, helping seniors make the transition to assisted living. In her previous roles, she worked in home care, assisting seniors and their families transition out of skilled nursing facilities and connecting them with services in their homes. She has an undergraduate degree from Rivier University in Sociology and a minor in social work as well as a Master’s degree in Gerontology Administration. Hillary is a Certified Dementia Practitioner® (CDP) from the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners. Hillary has a passion for working with seniors and helping them maintain their independence and quality of life. She found her passion for working with seniors when she would visit her grandfather in the nursing home, and realized how crucial it was for her family to rely on the amazing caregivers who cared for him in his home so that he could be with his wife and family. Hillary spends her free time coaching softball, but when not on the softball field she can be found spending time with her dog Lucy and cat Pedro.

Jenny Wu serves as our Manager of Operations.  Jenny began her career at FirstLight Home Care of West Suburban Boston as a Care Coordinator and was promoted to Manager of Client Care Services in July 2019.  Prior to joining FirstLight, Jenny worked in the mental/behavioral health and developmental disabilities systems in Maine and New Hampshire. In her previous roles, she worked with individuals and families in the home, school, group homes and various community settings. She is passionate about working with people to help them meet their personal, academic, vocational and recreational goals. She has experience working directly with youth and children doing functional and behavioral health support, as well as parents, family members and caregivers in other case management roles. Jenny grew up living with her grandmother and relocated back to Massachusetts when her family needed additional assistance with her grandmother’s care due to Alzheimer’s. Jenny graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Family Studies. She holds a Certificate in Case Management from Boston University School of Social Work’s Center for Aging & Disability Education and Research.  Finally, Jenny is a Certified Dementia Practitioner® (CDP) in good standing from the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners.

Amanda Nalepa serves as our Manager of Staff Development.  Amanda oversees all of our caregiver recruiting and retention activities and is responsible for monitoring and streamlining our processes around caregiver talent identification, hiring, onboarding, and retention.  In addition, she ensures that we are up-to-date with current caregiver quality and satisfaction metrics and trends, locally and nationally.  Working closely with Jenny Wu, our Manager of Operations as well as the full office team, Amanda is responsible for assessing our caregiver orientation and training, the performance evaluation process, and retention programs, with the goal of making us the employer of choice for all caregivers.  Previously,  Amanda served as our Human Resources Recruitment Specialist where she oversaw the recruitment process of finding the most qualified of caregivers.  After graduating from Newbury College with her B.S. in Psychology, Amanda began her career of providing support to children & adolescents in the mental health field. In this role, Amanda supported families by implementing specifically tailored behavior programs in support of a particular child’s development.  Amanda has always been passionate about helping others, and as such, has devoted the last seven years of her life in the home care industry. She has and continues to build relationships with clients, on-board the most qualified of caregivers, and network in communities surrounding Boston. Amanda has always been passionate about finding the right caregiver for her clients’ particular needs and supporting families during their transition to home care.  Amanda lives west of Boston with her husband Walter, daughter Isabella and son Bryce. In her free time, Amanda enjoys spending her time cooking and trying new recipes. Her friends and family say she should open her own restaurant to show off all of her cooking creations.

Elise Degon (formerly Scaringello) serves as our Senior Care Coordinator. She oversees the scheduling and performance of the FirstLight caregiver team and serves as our Scheduling Specialist. Prior to joining FirstLight, Elise attended Curry College where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health and Wellness. Elise also holds a Certificate in Case Management from Boston University School of Social Work’s Center for Aging & Disability Education and Research. In her prior position as a Health and Wellness Consultant at Jenny Craig, Elise enjoyed making a positive impact on people’s lives physically, mentally and emotionally. Her job was not only to help clients lose weight, but to instill healthy lifestyle changes and behaviors to ensure clients live a long and happy life.  Elise has always had a passion for the elderly as she lived with her grandparents all of her life, and they had a very large part in raising her. She provided help to them when needed, just like our caregivers do at FirstLight. Whether helping with grocery shopping, providing support at doctor’s appointments, cleaning, or just running errands, Elise was always there for her family members needing care. She knows firsthand what great care is, and the incredible benefits that come from it. Elise’s mother is a CNA who often provides help with her grandfather for the more physical aspects of his needs. Elise loves being able to make a difference in someone’s life.  Finally, Elise is a Certified Dementia Practitioner® (CDP) in good standing from the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners.

Nachelle Augustin serves as our Care Support Coordinator.   Over the years, Nachelle has built her career path working with the elderly in many roles. With her passion to help older adults, she started her career as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), working in both home care and assisted living facilities. She then went on to obtain her undergraduate degree in Biology from Pine Manor College and later earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Boston College.  Before joining FirstLight Home Care, Nachelle worked for an assisted living facility as the Memory Care Director, overseeing the care of the residents, maintaining relationships with family members, and managing and supervising care staff, ensuring all care plans were followed and that safety and proper oversight were priorities for the residents.   Nachelle also has experience working as a clinician with different age groups doing In-Home Therapy, and as an intern, worked doing cancer research.   In her role as Care Support Coordinator, Nachelle does supervisory in-home visits to clients—to support our hard-working caregivers, updates and reviews care plans, and provides ongoing oversight and training for caregivers. She also assists with scheduling and care coordination.  Nachelle is family-oriented, and she is known to be friendly and bubbly.  Nachelle also enjoys watching movies when she’s not spending time with her family. She enjoys long walks on a nice day. Overall, Nachelle is goal-oriented and a go-getter, and she won’t stop until all of her plans have been met.

Melissa Coutts serves as our Care Coordinator.  She oversees the scheduling and performance of the FirstLight caregiver team.  Melissa has a great passion for helping others. She was an Advanced Caregiver for six years and has a strong knowledge of what it takes to provide outstanding home care. Melissa provided personal care, companionship and day-to-day accommodations for her clients. She is organized and detail-oriented in all that she does. Melissa’s most recent years of experience include working with customers and loans at a very busy bank, where she managed complex customer issues and handled many types of incoming and outgoing calls and coordination. She was very close with her grandparents growing up and this fueled her desire to help the geriatric community. Melissa also volunteered at local nursing facilities in her city throughout her youth. When Melissa is not working hard at FirstLight, she is cooking with her Dad or at the beach with her rescue dog named King, when the New England weather permits! 

Debby Toto serves as our Human Resources Manager. Prior to joining FirstLight Home Care, Debby served in a variety of roles in the Human Resource field, including as a recruiter in Boston’s financial district, as a Human Resources Generalist for an insurer, followed by working as a Human Resources Manager with a high-tech start-up.  Throughout her childhood, Debby had a close relationship with her grandparents, and in recent years she has assisted her mother who has had a barrage of challenging health diagnoses, and age-related mobility issues.  Debby holds a B.A. from Florida Atlantic University in Arts and Humanities, and is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management.  She is the Co-Chair of Fundraising for Gifts of Hope Unlimited Inc., a non-profit whose mission is to support and assist individuals affected by relationship violence to gain access to resources for a safe and empowered future.  Debby lives west of Boston with her husband, John, who is a Sales Director for a high tech start-up and a District Deputy for the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.  Debby and John are the proud parents of two daughters, one of whom works in business development, and the other is at Georgetown University.

Amy Auger-Hughes serves as our Human Resources Assistant.  Amy supports the recruitment process of finding the most qualified of caregivers to join the FirstLight team.  After graduating from Fitchburg State College with her B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Business, Amy began her career working in the field of Early Childhood Education ensuring high quality education for children from 6 weeks – 12 years old.  Amy has always been passionate about teaching and working with young children. In addition to direct work with children, Amy later began working at corporate child care centers and was able to use her experience and education to recruit and hire high quality educators.  She brings this same passion and expertise for finding quality people who are compassionate, caring, trustworthy and kind to FirstLight, helping to find caregivers who have all those qualities, talent and skills.   Amy lives with her husband, children and dog. In her free time, she enjoys spending her time being active with the family, watching her children participate in the activities that make them happy, such as baseball, swimming, dance, softball and skiing. As a family they love to be at the beach, hike and travel. 

Rebecca Trinque serves as our Weekend On-Call Supervisor.  Becky’s arrival to the team provides our clients with greater communication and oversight, including more frequent check-ins with clients and caregivers on weekends, helping to ensure the highest levels of service.  Prior to joining FirstLight Home Care, Becky attended Mount Wachusett Community College for Early Childhood Education and worked with children for 15 years as a licensed infant/toddler teacher.  She then found her passion working with seniors when she cared for her grandmother who was diagnosed with dementia.  She followed this passion and entered the senior care field working for several years as a scheduler in the home care industry, overseeing caregivers in the field and their assignments with clients.   Becky is passionate about caring for people. She is a natural nurturer.

Kaia serves as our official Office Pup.  She ensures that no crumbs are left on the floor and most importantly, that each team member has a smile on their face when they see her.  She is always game for a belly rub.  Prior to joining the office team in September 2019, Kaia unfortunately, had a less-than-enjoyable life.  But thanks to a rescue agency and our Executive Director & Owner, Wendy Adlerstein, LSW, she has found a renewed enthusiasm–and most certainly, round the clock love.  Kaia is currently working towards enrollment in classes to become a therapy dog, and down the road, we see her bringing much warmth and cheer to FirstLight Home Care clients.


When you come to us for care, we know it hasn’t been an easy decision to make. Trust you’re in good hands with FirstLight Home Care – One of the highest rated and best home care/senior care agencies serving the West Suburban Boston communities.  Please take a moment to read some of our outstanding reviews.

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