Praise and Success Stories

When you call upon our professional care managers, you’ll get assistance from members our team of experts who are knowledgeable, practical, resourceful, and ethical. Our social work values and CJE SeniorLife’s values —Respect, Advocacy, Compassion, Intention, Innovation, and Accountability — are at the heart of our practice. Our clients value our work, and we’re happy to share some of our favorite success stories.

 

“The staff of Your Eldercare Consultants arranged for Mom’s caregivers, coordinated services, set up rides to the doctor, and most of all, became close family friends”
                                                                                                                                               --Son, Chicago

“I am so pleased that you send copies of all correspondence to every sibling so we are all up-to-date on everything.”
                                                                                                                                      --Daughter, New York

“Our Care Manager has understood our family situation to the extent that I feel free to tell her all of my concerns. She has offered solutions that fit our needs.”
                                                                                                                              --Wife, suburban Chicago
 
“Our Care Manager took us from total confusion to being organized in two days. Great job.”
                                                                                                                      --Husband, suburban Chicago

“When my Mom started showing signs of memory loss it was overwhelming. Her doctor suggested Your Eldercare Consultants and now looking back, I don’t know where I would be without your amazing support and advice. Everybody was helpful, patient and friendly. It was nice knowing I was not alone in my experiences and feelings, and that there were people who understood and could offer advice.”
                                                                                                                                                --Son, Chicago
 
“We successfully placed my parents in assisted living… and they have adjusted wonderfully. My sisters and I feel a great sense of relief that they are so well cared for and happy.”
                                                                                                                                          --Son, Lake Forest

“Thank you for all you have done for our family and our mother. First and foremost, I want to thank you for your guiding hand and advice these past several months. It’s certainly been invaluable.”
                                                                                               --Daughter, suburban Chicago and Arizona
 
“My first thought when I needed help for my mother was to contact a Federation agency and I received the expertise with the compassion I sought. The Care Manager was compassionate in providing a road map for me and my mother as she ages…”
                                                                                                                                      --Daughter, Chicago
 
“What a tremendous help you have been! All of your referrals were outstanding.”
                                                                                                                                                --Niece, Texas
 
“We appreciated your professional approach and good sense of humor.”

                                                                                                                                   --Son, Buffalo Grove

 

 

Professional Endorsements

“Your Eldercare Consultants provides smart and compassionate care, and I highly recommend them. They accompany individuals to medical appointments, recommend services and living arrangements, and advocate for clients – all while keeping family members well-informed.”
                                                                                                            --Dr. Noel DeBacker, MD, FACP, CMD

“CJE’s Your Eldercare Consultants is a great resource for assisting families in transition. They make recommendations for appropriate care settings, resources families should consider, and they just make sure that the senior is being taken care of in all aspects of his or her life.”
                                                                             --Matthew R. Margolis, Attorney, Margolis Weldon, LLC

 

 

 

Client Success Stories

Note: All of the below stories have been anonymized to protect client privacy and confidentiality – names, places and all identifying factors have been altered.

Stabilizing an Overwhelmed Couple
An adult daughter and grandson contacted our care management team for assistance. Their 88-year-old mother/grandmother was suffering from an advancing Parkinson’s Disease variant, with persistent, recurring falls. Her husband, age 89, was the primary family caregiver, healthier but still unable to lift his wife.  When called for advice, their neurologist told them that falling was in the nature and stage of her illness; he could do nothing further to assist. The husband felt helpless and lost.  The care manager assisted the family in several ways:

  • Worked with the husband to file a long-term care insurance claim for home care benefits;
  • Assembled a qualified team of caregivers to care for the stricken wife;
  • Arranged a second opinion from a different neurologist, approved by the patient’s primary care physician; this resulted in a change of medications and adjustment of dosages to proper levels.
  • Arranged a program of light exercise for the wife, which improved her tone and mood considerably;
  • Made sure that medication instructions were communicated correctly and meds given according to doctors’ orders.

Once these changes were put into place, the wife’s condition stabilized. She did not fall again for another two years.

 

Cleaning House of Unscrupulous Caregivers

A 93-year-old resident of a large assisted living building downtown had round-the-clock, private care that had been arranged by loving children, all of whom were living out of town.  An attorney suggested that the adult children hire a care manager, once serious improprieties came to light.

One loyal caregiver informed the family that another was “squatting” in the client’s apartment, staying overnights in the spare bedroom without the family’s consent. The squatter had bullied fellow caregivers into silence for several months; the client, suffering from advanced memory loss, did not understand the situation and therefore did not object.   
At the family’s request, the care manager became involved and was able to confirm the facts of the situation. Once the family determined to fire the exploitative caregiver, a plan to arrange more trustworthy care was developed. The care manager collaborated with building management to manage the termination of the offending caregiver with least possible disruption to the client.

The result? A family satisfied their loved one was receiving much improved care, with better coordination and communication among the various caregivers – and free of exploitation.

 

The Rifles Under the Bed   

Mr. Morris, a highly educated, accomplished, successful man, educated at MIT and well spoken, was left to fend for himself when his common-law partner of 30 years suddenly passed away.   His children all lived out of state.  They worried that he would be lost without her.   At age 82, he had no inkling of how to grocery shop, manage laundry, or prepare nutritious meals.  He seemed so depressed, emotionally paralyzed.  He was also becoming more forgetful and disorganized.   From long distance, the kids asked our help to find a caregiver and make recommendations that would improve the overall quality of his day to day life.   

When Mr. Morris met with the owner of an agency we recommended, they hit if off instantly. As two professional men, they made a great connection.   A male care companion was assigned and Mr. Morris spirits seem to lift, almost immediately, with the improved safety net and good home cooking!  He continued, at moments however, to express despair and talked aloud about dying, and feeling lost on his own.    

In a planned phone conversation with his children, our care manager was taken aback to learn that Mr. Morris secretly kept a rifle under his bed!   There was plenty of ammunition in the home, too.   The children also disclosed a family secret:  his decades’ long use of opiods, which often blurred his thinking and judgment.     Putting it all together, our team was left feeling quite concerned about Mr. Morris’ risk of harm to himself – or his new caregiver – in a moment of confusion or disorientation.  One day, we received a call from a visiting son --- his dad had left home in the middle of the night.  Driving along, he ended up somewhere on the south side.  His tires had somehow been ruined, he couldn’t say how.  He couldn’t explain how he got there.  His guardian angel must have been on high alert that day, because a good Samaritan picked him up and brought him home to the north side.   

With guidance from the local police department, the care manager and family were, in time, able to persuade Mr. Morris to relinquish his stash of weapons.   He began working with a counselor, who helped him grieve the loss of his partner as well as loss of control of his guns. 

 

Financial Illiteracy

Henry was a man who prided himself on doing everything for his wife of 50 years.  They both liked it that way.   He was a teacher and she kept house.   It was just the two of them, no children.  No real ties.  Over the years, the contact they had with a niece and a cousin fell by the wayside.  It was just the two of them, an army of two, living a relatively simple life.

Henry completed a will in 1995 but left no trace of his relationship with the downstate lawyer who assisted with the document.  He managed their affairs well and his wife, Myrna, depended on that. Henry made several investments and arranged for one policy with a substantial death benefit. Myrna didn’t know much about it.    He even managed to file an extension – we think – on the couple’s 2017 and 2018 taxes (federal and state) – from his sickbed.  But he never explained it to Myrna, by now an unwilling pupil.

In his waning years, Henry got sick –it was nothing specific, not cancer or anything  – and was admitted to the hospital frequently.   And then more frequently.   Myrna couldn’t name his cause of death. But die he did, leaving Myrna alone – stunned by what felt like his sudden abandonment.   Numb, she followed their accountant’s advice about where to buy a plot and bury him.  And, for a while, she shut down.

When Myrna called on CJE, she asked for help with her grief.  CJE assigned a counselor, for emotional first aid.  When Myrna called again to say that she needed help with some paperwork and bill-paying, one of our care managers answered the call.  The care manager, experienced and unflappable, still found herself pretty surprised by the bottom line:

  • Myrna, an educated woman in her 70’s, was financially illiterate.
  • She couldn’t write a check and kept no files.   
  • She could not use a computer or a cell phone …… had no cell phone, in fact, smart or otherwise
  • She had no credit in her own name.    She didn’t understand why she couldn’t simply continue to use her husband’s card.   She became irritated when a credit card application asked about household Income.   “What business is it of theirs”?   she asked crossly.

 

Some Things Never Change

Two daughters –stepsisters – called to ask for help for their father, a retired professor of engineering in his 90’s.  A brilliant man, a daring young man who fought in WW II and again for Israeli independence --- married and widowed twice with 5 children, all out of state except for one.  The youngest.  The only child of the professor and his second wife, he was far younger than any of the others.   And there was always something about him – something a little “off”.   

Everyone seemed to know it.   The youngest son was extremely bright, and also extremely quirky. The parents worried about him; they had to find a special school program for him being “gifted” but socially awkward.  They fussed over him while the older kids told them not to “keep spoiling him”.  But they just couldn’t help themselves.  This love child of their later years was special.  And, among the siblings in this large family, had a unique relationship to his doting and concerned parents.   They protected him, kept him close …. And he was mean to them.  Openly disdainful and difficult.
The years passed.  The wife passed away, her husband got older.  Freddie got through school and took a couple of years of college classes.  He moved away, out to California, but never emptied his room at home.   By the time of his sisters’ call to CJE, Freddie had long since declared himself his father’s “caregiver”.   He came and went regularly, always a presence, not big on keeping in touch with the older brothers and sisters.    Until one of them noticed …. Looking through piles of papers on a visit back home – that all the credit card expenses were purchases made by Freddie.  For Freddie.  For his living expenses, for his airfares, several times a month from California to Chicago, back and forth.  For equipment to make films, gifts for his partner, rental cars, car repairs, restaurants, trips, on and on and on and on.

Until the family, doing the math and doing due diligence, realized that Freddie (by this time in his forties), had taken their father for over a million dollars.   With no explanations when confronted, No apologies.  No remorse.   He claimed to have an arrangement with his father, whose memory was not as sharp as before. In the end, he fled town, continuing to call to claim that father needed him, needed him to look after him.    Could he come over to visit, maybe get some of his things.

“Some things never change”, concluded the family members as our work to protect the professor continued.   In the end, the two sisters applied for guardianship through the courts -- and stood by their father as he grappled and came to terms with his loss.

 

Home is Where the Heart Is

Sometime back in the 1960’s, a successful Highland Park attorney and his wife were raising a lovely family.  To hear the kids’ story, their lives were comfortable and complete, perfectly safe and normal. Until the day their dad announced that he was leaving.   Leaving to be with the woman they still called the “floozy” after more than 35 years. The family fractured, mortally wounded. The kids finished high school and went their separate ways. Their mom moved to be closer to the son in Portland and his wife.  The daughter, in New York, struggled-- there was a divorce, a drinking problem -- and also some professional success. The oldest son, on the East Coast, buried himself in work, made a lot of money and checked in from time to time.  Mostly by phone.  They loved their dad but the family, as they once knew it, was gone.

When their stepmother died of cancer, Bill’s daughter determined that she should “do the right thing and step up to care for her father”.  Being out of town, she needed local eyes and ears to manage the caregivers, help with medical appointments, monitor his wellbeing at 93.  As his cognition failed, She visited as often as possible, re-establishing a loving tie to the father who brightened at the mention of her name.   We watched over him for a couple of years, and he grew more frail.

In his last months, Bill enjoyed going out for car rides on warm days.  He liked feeling the breezes, Hearing music on the radio, seeing the sights pass by.    On return home, he seemed disoriented.  He invariably asked His caregivers--- are we home?   I want to go home.    When can we go home?  

Thanks to the visits of a nurse on our team, we were privileged to know when Bill’s life force was ebbing. She could hear it in his cough, in his lungs, in the subtle changes of his skin and his coloring.  It was time to call for hospice, she advised.  Bill’s children were called and his sons were disbelieving. “He’s been Near death’s door more times than I can say”, said the oldest, his power of attorney for finance and property.   “See if he can wait for me”, cried his daughter, who was stuck in bad weather in Washington, D.C.  It was the week of Thanksgiving.

But they came.  And he waited.  We told Bill that the kids were coming for lunch and wanted him to wait.  He said he would.  Hospice came and cared for him – for only a day and a half.   His children Arrived. I left. I was Bill’s care manager.   And they spent almost a whole day together with him, Before he passed peacefully in their company.    The son told me later that they laughed a lot and told stories.  Bill’s eyes were closed but he could hear them.   He was home, with his family, all together at last.   

 

Reckless Endangerment

Milt was 88, maybe 89, when we met.  He was a giant of a man who liked to live large, with a giant spirit and a big open heart, an amazing work ethic and talent to boot.  He had plenty of business sechel and enjoyed much success. He built his own home, literally and figuratively, from the ground up and enjoyed a successful life.   He had children – one emotionally fragile – one in Austrailia – and one who died too young.   

By the time I met him, Milt had already been through the health wars of aging.  There were many and varied ailments in his rear view mirror, even 2 bouts with cancer did not defeat him.  He exercised daily, bench-pressed impressive amounts of weight, drank vitamin enriched smoothies for breakfast --And took care of his wife, Renee, who suffered from an advanced form of Parkinsonism, with dementia.  And she was mean.  To visit her brought suspicious looks and imperious commands:  you can go now, she said at our first sit down.  Milt teared up when she said mean things in his hearing.   

Milt was exhausted, almost worn out by the comings and goings of random caregivers, hired to assist the family’s housekeeper of 40 years.   “Will you please just take over”, he asked me?  I was happy to oblige.   For several years, our team managed the household and medical care of Bill’s wife, freeing him to tend to his own needs.  He took his nephew on a fishing trip to Western Canada – a little daring, but it made him happy.   He went to the casinos, as often as possible, just to have fun and see the shows.  There was another trip, same nephew, out to Vegas.   But then there was the reckless part – Bill’s “downtown Wednesdays”, his getaway day to visit old girlfriends in the city, speeding crazily in his beloved Porsche, weaving between lanes from Deerfield to downtown Chicago and back again,. We, who loved him, held our breath all day long.   Careening down I-94, Milt was menace to society, recklessly endangering other drivers on the road and on the streets of Chicago.   He was really no longer safe to drive but could not bear to give it up – that last vestige of independence and of manhood.    How would we all get through it?

This is the nature of our work in geriatric care management.  We stand by our clients as they manage aging, with all it brings. The ups, the downs, the dangers.