“My world was turned upside down but in a good way. My colleagues at JF&CS saved my life. It was profound,” says David Grant, director of human resources at JF&CS. David was referring to Your Elder Experts (YEE) at JF&CS, which helps older adults and their families manage crises and also plan for the future.
Although David’s situation was extremely stressful, it was certainly not unique. His 63-year-old mother had a history of dementia and her condition had started to deteriorate rapidly. She lived in Connecticut, close to David’s two brothers, but far from David’s home in Waltham. “It got to the point where it wasn’t safe for her to be alone,” says David. “She also had no financial preparation and she had no savings.”
David had attempted to piece together benefits for his mother but found it nearly impossible to navigate the system, especially since he was in Massachusetts and she was in Connecticut. “I remember saying to my brothers, ‘We need to find the JF&CS equivalent in Connecticut.’”
Asking for Help
David spoke about his mother’s situation with Karen Wasserman, director of Your Elder Experts. Immediately, she set up an appointment with JF&CS geriatric care manager Joanne Peskowitz and Candy Gould from CJP SeniorDirect.
“I did not have the first clue where to start. I didn’t even know which questions to ask. Together, they extrapolated and pulled out the useful data from my mess. They took that data and turned it into a plan. They literally held my hand and guided me,” adds David. They even connected him with local MassHealth attorneys so that his mom could receive benefits, which had initially been denied due to complications in the application process.
Referring to the help he received from JF&CS, David said, “The part that really stands out for me is that people don’t need to know all the answers. Most people don’t even know which questions to ask. You just need to be able to ask for help. JF&CS will take care of the rest.”
A New Home
The group of experts at JF&CS concluded that David’s mom would be best served by moving into a dementia wing, and one that would be affordable.
By the end of the week, David got a phone call from someone at CJP SeniorDirect who connected him with the staff at Briarwood Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Needham. They had found a place for his mother at Briarwood and she could move in as early as Tuesday.
When they arrived at Briarwood, Joanne Peskowitz was there to greet them and provide assistance. They brought David’s mother in to meet the staff. After meeting them, she exclaimed, “Finally, I can be retired!” David’s mother quickly bonded with the staff.
Now, after a few months, David’s mom is safe, happy, eating well, taking her medications regularly, enjoying all the activities Briarwood has to offer and hugging David close on his frequent visits.
“I can’t speak highly enough about the JF&CS program and the body of knowledge they have,” David marvels. “I couldn’t have done any of this myself. Karen and Joanne were so professional and remarkable. They listened to me and remained engaged.”
For more information about our care management services, visit the Your Elder Experts website.
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