What a Godsend!
For two decades my sister and brother-in-law had managed to live independently, despite some cognitive and physical disabilities. In late July 2009 both were hospitalized and my family was overwhelmed by the enormity of the task of finding care for them. It was clear that they could no longer live independently but we didn’t know how to help them. I was advised to call Your Elder Experts, the Aging Life Care Management program of JF&CS. What a godsend!
Within one short phone call we were on our way to getting the most incredible services from our care manager, Susan Bernat. She was immediately available to handle a very complex and complicated situation, a situation made more difficult because my sister and brother-in-law are just above the guidelines for the state disability criteria and not quite old enough to be eligible for state-funded senior services.
We have been in the best of hands for the past four months, thanks to Susan’s competence and caring. Her expertise, sensitivity, and overall willingness to do whatever necessary helped our whole family through what could have been a tremendously stressful and difficult time. We are deeply grateful to Susan as well as to the entire staff of Your Elder Experts. I would recommend them wholeheartedly to anyone. I can’t imagine how we would have survived this crisis without their excellent services.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Jamaica Plain, MA
In Capable and Caring Hands
Two years ago, I was faced with the problem of caring for a father with advanced Alzheimer’s while my stepmother began showing signs of declining mental capacity (due to a progressive brain condition). Both were still living at home and wanted to stay there. I had no idea where to turn, what was available to them, or what to do next in order to keep them safe. I was totally overwhelmed and realized I needed an additional support system for my family – and quickly.
Your Elder Experts was recommended to me by a friend. After one meeting with our Care Manager, Gail Leichtman, my family and I knew that we were in capable and caring hands.
Since that time we have gone through many changes as a family and our Care Manager has been there every step of the way. Gail has shown us how to maneuver through the complicated world of elder care services.
Gail has been truly remarkable in anticipating many situations and in planning for upcoming situations. My father has passed away and Gail has now been very involved in the overall and day-to-day care of my mother, managing the transition for my mother from home to rehabilitation to assisted living. At each transition, Gail is ready with advice and counsel. She has been involved in my mother’s doctor appointments, physician consults, and selection of her in-home care team. She even took my mother back to her home for one last visit, prior to its sale.
Her care is thorough, consistent, and loving! She is incredibly responsive and nothing ever falls through the cracks. And the most important thing is that my mother truly loves and trusts Gail. Simply put, Your Elder Experts has been a godsend.
Helpful and Compassionate
My 88-year-old mother, a dynamo in her youth (which lasted until at least age 82) and still a force of nature, had a major stroke. My brother and I were devastated, frightened, and unsure of what to do to take the best possible care of her. We found that eastern Massachusetts had a huge range of services and advisers - a maze of them, in fact - but of all the individuals and agencies we consulted, Your Elder Experts proved the most helpful, compassionate, and knowledgeable support and were really THERE throughout the process.
Karen Wasserman proved to be a very special listener who paid exquisite attention to the details of our experience and yet she was able to quickly grasp and frame the issues and advise us on specific steps and practical strategies going forward. She was comfortable and knowledgeable about medical issues, the ins and outs of familial love, and financial limitations.
In just one in-person visit with several follow-ups by telephone and email to accommodate our schedules, Karen pointed us in directions that helped us place my mother in the best situation possible and get the legal advice we could trust at a price we could afford. And she actually followed up when we didn't - emailing me when she hadn't heard from us in a while, checking in on how Mom - and my brother and me - were doing, asking if there was anything more she could do. (There was.) I have rarely felt so well taken care of. My family and I are very grateful to Your Elder Experts.
Caring and Selfless
Karen Wasserman and her associates from Your Elder Experts are among the most caring and selfless people I have ever been privileged to know. Without their unflagging support and love, my Aunt Harriet's last few years would not have been as comfortable and healthy as they were. They went beyond the typical case manager role to become Aunt Harriett's friends and touchstones. They gave their professional and personal time to improve my aunt's life immeasurably. I have nothing but respect and affection for their help and kindness; everyone should be blessed with such friends in their sunset years.
I cannot put into words my thanks and hope many are blessed with Karen and her associates' love and kindness in the future.
Helpful and Bright
My lifelong friend Evelyn has advanced Alzheimer’s disease. She also has a wonderful Care Manager from Your Elder Experts. When Evelyn first received her diagnosis, she did some planning about her future while she still could and moved to a very nice assisted-living facility where she still lives. Evelyn has two nieces in California but she is deeply connected to her local community and didn’t want to leave the area. At first there were volunteers and friends who visited and helped out but as she declined and her needs became greater, of course, many of those people dropped away.
Gail Leichtman is extremely helpful, bright, and energetic. She thinks ahead and notices symptoms like a toothache or that Evelyn was walking oddly and takes the initiative so that things don’t become a crisis. Her reports are concise and to the point, and she has taken such a burden off my shoulders. Although I am Evelyn’s health care proxy and I have her power of attorney, I am getting older myself and can’t handle everything. I don’t know what I would do without Your Elder Experts.
I Felt So Alone
My name is Ruth Freed and I am 93 years old. I worked all my life, working my way up in my job, never marrying or having a family. I was very close with my sister Sarah, particularly after her husband died. We lived in the same apartment building in Brookline.
After Sarah died I felt so alone and, even though I had some help coming in, I couldn’t really keep up with my apartment. Your Elder Experts helped me with everything from finding an elder law attorney to create a trust to putting my estate in order and helping me move.
Since moving to the nursing home, Your Elder Experts has continued to be involved in my care and my life. My care manager was there to come with me to the emergency room after I fell and broke my collar bone. She even planned a 91st birthday party for me. I feel like she is my family now, like my sister or the daughter I never had. I am so grateful to Your Elder Experts for being a part of my life.
A Wonderful Advocate
A year ago, after fruitless struggling to find resources for my husband’s worsening Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinsonism, I became ill myself. The doctors taking care of my husband just did not give us the support and medical help that we desperately needed.
My daughter found Your Elder Experts and Nancy Mazonson became a wonderful advocate for us. She opened all the doors and made all the connections that we could not. She provided emotional support, practical advice, and valuable warnings about the future path. With her help, we accomplished a smooth hospital admission that sorted out my husband’s medication needs. She found a good agency for us that supplied home health aides and all the durable and disposable equipment that we needed to keep him at home.
With her help we managed the next summer to get him up to New Hampshire for our daughter’s wedding. That was an incredible feat, way beyond the normal list of duties! When it became inevitable, because of his worsening disability, that he needed residential care, she found us a uniquely wonderful nursing home and guided us through the transition. Through two subsequent hospitalizations for complications, she was with us advocating for him, sorting out communications, and helping him get the best possible care.
Nancy was constantly available by cell phone and email. On the rare occasions when she could not be, Your Elder Experts provided excellent backup.
We are so grateful for all she did for us. We could not have survived without her.
R. Heather Palmer