Meeting the challenges of an aging community
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Meeting the challenges of an aging community

Cases in point

Tenafly resident Judy Furer said she was tired of being “the mean daughter,” constantly arguing with her 86-year-old mother about taking her medicine.

“I called Susan [Lilly] to be the intermediary,” she said, noting that her mother now lives in Teaneck’s Classic Residence, but lived previously in a four-bedroom home in Oradell. “She met with my mom and convinced her that she needs help. She knew how to spin it to keep her feeling independent and totally in control.”

“When someone wants to maintain independence but can’t, it’s demeaning for a daughter to say ‘You can’t bathe yourself,'” she said.

According to Furer, her mother was no longer going down for dinner and lunch with friends. “I needed to know she was eating, hydrated,” she said. “Susan checked out three agencies to find the right person for my mother. She took part of the problem out of my hands and did it in a calmer way.”

After a week, Furer’s mother finished “complaining” about her new situation. “She loves it,” said her daughter, “and she looks so much better.” Even more, she said, “She thinks she does everything herself.”

The situation works well, said Furer.

“An assisted living facility would be a horrendous thing for her,” she said. “It would be detrimental to her mental well-being. Having an intermediary is just great.”

Janis Kestenbaum, whose 83-year-old mother recently left Leonia for a senior residence in New York City, said Lilly continues to visit and monitor her mother in her new location.

Lilly – who began the relationship in New Jersey with weekly, then twice-weekly visits – subsequently found someone not only to help Kestenbaum’s mother at home, but to take her out to eat, go clothes shopping, and accompany her on doctor’s visits.

The daughter, who lives in Washington, D.C., said it comforts her to have a professional – “whose seen it all before and could really offer good ideas and advice” – work with her mother and then speak with her to keep her informed.

“[My mother] took to her right away,” she said. “She has the right touch.”

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