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The next time a client says, ‘Religion isn’t important to my making a move,’ I won’t take it on faith!

My client is the lovely granddaughter of a woman who was 99 years old when we met. They are of the Jewish faith. The granddaughter had contacted me over concerns that her grandmother was running out of money while living at home and paying for 24-hour caregiver services. The services were primarily for companionship, as she could handle on her own most of her activities of daily living (i.e., bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting, walking, and eating). The woman’s financial advisor had given her several warnings that she needed to move before her funds were depleted. We made arrangements for me to meet my client’s grandmother to do an assessment.

During our meeting, the grandmother insisted that she didn’t want to be in a Jewish retirement community. Apparently, she had been in a Jewish organization for rehab. once before and the stay didn’t end well. Grandma told me her plan was to stay at home until her 100th birthday. Home was located in a far south suburb. The location of her home made it very difficult for her granddaughter to visit, as she lived in the north side of Chicago. She didn’t have a car and had to rent one every time she visited her grandmother. Every time I mentioned a potential move, Grandma would swing the conversation toward one of the many artifacts she had collected during her life’s travels. During our conversation, she also said she wanted to remain out south because she wouldn’t know anyone if she made a move up north. She insisted upon moving to a particular community she had in mind. However, it was not a good idea from a safety standpoint, as the neighborhood was changing – and not for the better.

I went to work and narrowed the options to three assisted living communities that were close to the granddaughter. She toured all three, and narrowed the options to 2 places that she felt could work for her grandmother. I arranged a tour for the grandmother at one of them. Grandma seemed rather stoic and resistant during the tour. After the tour, we went to the famous Superdawg drive-in for hot dogs which we proceeded to consume in my car. While we ate in silence, I decided to ask her, “Well, what did you think of the place?” Grandma look at me and said, “It was a little to goy for me,” which I loosely interpreted to mean that it was too non-Jewish. The granddaughter and I looked at each other since Grandma had previously insisted that a Jewish community wasn’t important to her. She also told us both nicely that she had no intentions of moving until her 100th birthday was over.

As time passed, Grandma stood her ground. Her physical condition deteriorated and her funds were continued to be depleted. Out of desperation, the granddaughter called me again and asked me for some options to Jewish retirement communities as she was going to try and play a different angle. I found one located in a north suburb that I felt best suited Grandma’s needs. My client took Grandma on a tour and she liked it. A date for a move was set.

The move didn’t take place as planned, however, because Grandma developed anemia and went into the hospital. The granddaughter became upset because she was afraid that her Grandmother needed too much help with her activities of daily living and wouldn’t qualify for assisted living. As I listened to the description of what her needs were, I encouraged my client to call the Admissions Director and review her situation. After a discussion with the Admissions Director and Grandma’s physician, it was determined that she could make the move. I prepared three options for nursing homes just in case the slated move didn’t work out.

As of this writing, I received an email from my client telling me that Grandma had moved. Despite the fact she said she didn’t want a Jewish home, and despite the fact the community is located in the north suburbs, she found many people from the south side residing there, and even met a resident who knew her brother. Her only complaint was that the food portions were too large! The granddaughter’s closing remark to me was “Thanks for your help! It was a lifesaver!”


* Feeling of delight or relief.