Certified Geriatric Care Manager Andrea Donovan and Lexington Squares Director of Community Outreach Jerri Copple have recently partnered to provide solutions to some of the toughest decisions confronting seniors and their families today. They have developed a series of lectures called “Aging: Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Too Afraid to Ask,” featuring such topics as “When Is It Time to Make a Move?” and “When to Ask for the Keys and What Do I Do Now That I Can’t Drive?” which gets straight to the heart of the issues that so many don’t want to face—and don’t face—until a crisis occurs. “Seniors and their adult children make serious decisions in a rush and wish they’d taken more time when they find themselves in a situation that they’re not happy with,” said Donovan.
Donovan launched her own consulting business, Senior Living Advisors, after 10 years of countless requests for solutions to senior-related problems during her tenure as admissions director at St. Andrew Life Center in Niles. Donovan’s business now serves seniors and their families in the entire Chicago metropolitan area.
Copple, active leader in the Chicago Senior Resource Alliance with 17 years of experience in the senior housing industry, tapped the trusted association she has had with Donovan for the past five years when she realized that they could reach out to more people as a team.
Together, the two women conceive and present the monthly seminars, open to the public and offered in a non-threatening group setting that includes a light dinner and takes no more than an hour of busy people’s time. “Seniors and families know they’re going to encounter issues, but they have a hesitancy to be proactive; we wanted to have solutions for them in a comfortable environment—ahead of time,” said Copple.
According to Copple, the biggest dilemma seniors face is what to do when they realize they can no longer properly maintain their own homes, or they desire a level of socialization they no longer get at home. Interestingly, she noted, it is often adult children who resist the prospect of a move to a senior residence community. “They think their parents are invincible and, many times, they don’t see how they are struggling every day.” Donovan, who refers many of her clients to the Lexington Square communities in Lombard and Elmhurst added, “In trying to avoid moving to a housing community, in-home help is often sought, and the cost proves to be prohibitive and there is very little socialization. Assisted living can be much more economical, not to mention the benefits of a professional nursing staff and many social opportunities.”
The lectures series, which is currently presented at Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center in Downers Grove and the Oak Brook Park District facility, avoids no topic that is a potential or current reality to seniors and their loved ones. “These programs are a way of resolving the stress and anxiety surrounding the aging process,” said Copple. “People need to know there are choices—choices that they can make proactively, not reactively.”