How do you actually work with families to move through the 5 Steps of Graceful Aging?

Each of the 5 Steps has its own process, of course, but I offer a two different levels of engagement for working with families.

The first level is where I am used as a catalyst and facilitator for each step. I come in and devote one full day to doing the actual work of Meeting, Assessing, Vetting, Establishing, or Narrating - working with the family, the elder, an adult child, spouse, guardian, siblings, etc. to brainstorm, make decisions and create an action map for going forward. Then I leave you to work the plan and progress on your own.

The second level continues where the first concludes; I remain working with you on the action plan and serve as the ongoing project manager to keep things on track.

I charge a daily fee of $250, plus travel and any additional expenses, tools, assistance, products you approve. The fee includes my preparation, actual on-site or online involvement, follow-up documentation (meeting notes, action plans, 100-point home assessment, interior design illustration and plan, legacy narrative print-out with ideas for tangible forms) and a packet of information and resources specific to each step.

What are your qualifications for each of the 5 Steps?

I have two masters degrees and a doctorate in ministry and have worked with families and individuals in many life situations for almost 30 years. Additionally, I have specific training and credentials in mediation (Northwestern University ‘04); home assessment and modification (University of Southern California ‘12); interior design (Harrington Institute of Interior Design ‘99) and life mapping and living wills (my work with the Joseph Campbell Foundation ‘99-’04 and Graceful Dying ‘10-’12)

Where can you work with families?

The best way to work with you is directly in your home. I come to you and we collaborate there. We can keep in touch via email and phone when not working directly on some physical project.

Geographically, I do most of my work in southern California and the Greater Chicago area, but I am open to working with families from anywhere in the country. We would do a combination of collaborating in-person and remotely if you live outside of those two geographic areas.

What if my parent is not capable of doing some of the steps on their own anymore?

There may be times when a senior has, for health or cognitive reasons, already relinquished control to a trusted family member or attorney, but the family still wants to implement the basics of some of these five steps. I am happy to work with a spouse, sibling or adult child to realize any of the steps for the benefit of the elder or the family as a whole.

What if I am the elder but I don’t have any family members interested in working with me?

Even a hermit can leave a legacy! If you don’t have family members to work with you on graceful aging, I am happy to work with you and several friends to make possible some of the goals of the 5 steps.

However, if you have any family members around - whether they appear interested or not - I would suggest making an attempt to bring them into some part of the plan, so that they will not lose out on the benefits of your life wisdom. As a mediator I have worked with many families who just needed the encouragement and skills to create a more harmonious relationship.

Do I need to hire you for all 5 steps or can you work on just one of the five?

If you want to just do the first step - the family MEETING - that may be enough to jump start a family engagement that carries you through all five steps without any additional input from me. If you’ve already had your family meeting and know the direction you want to go, you may engage my services for any of the steps independently of the others. Ideally, I like to work with families through all the stages, but every situation is different, so you can let me know what works best for you.

How do I find out more?

I would love to speak with you and answer any questions you may have! Please feel free to contact me via email and we’ll set up a time to chat by phone - with no strings attached and no ‘sales pitch’ on my part - just a heart-to-heart about things that really matter.