Many Long Island seniors with limited income find that making ends meet is increasingly difficult and even a simple need or wish cannot be fulfilled. Cona Elder Law (Cona Elder Law,) a leading elder law firm on Long Island, founded its own non-profit organization, Cona Elder Law Charitable Events, as a way of responding to local community members’ needs. The non-profit’s signature program is Senior Dreams Come True.
Senior Dreams Come True benefits low income seniors on Long Island by granting wishes – from helping a senior meet basic needs to fulfilling a lifelong dream. Wishes are customized to each senior. “We grant wishes that, while relatively simple, make a tremendous difference in a senior’s life,” says Jennifer Cona, managing partner of Cona Elder Law and founder of Cona Elder Law Charitable Events. “By reaching out to Long Island businesses and professionals, we have been able to secure donations of goods and services, which has allowed us to stretch our charitable dollars and help more seniors in need. Senior Dreams Come True is truly a neighbors-helping-neighbors program,” says Ms. Cona. As Sen. Kemp Hannon stated, Senior Dreams Come True helps people with “individual problems that don’t necessarily lend them to a big [government] program.”
Since Senior Dreams Come True was founded in 2010, the charitable organization has granted numerous wishes for local seniors in need. The following are some examples:
- Senior Dreams had a wheelchair ramp built so an 86-year-old widow in Massapequa could remain at home. “This generous gift is a godsend,” said Claire Coleman. “My wish is to be able to stay in my house for the rest of my life, and it seems like that will now come true.”
- Senior Dreams secured free dental work for a Riverhead woman whose teeth were severely damaged from chemotherapy and other medications, thereby compromising her health and nutrition. “It’s a wonderful feeling to help others in need, and I was more than happy to offer my services to Cona Elder Law and the Senior Dreams Come True program” says Dr. Harry Boutis, the dentist who donated the entire cost of the dental work.
- Senior Dreams paid for a Smithtown woman to fly to Florida to see her newborn grandchild. “I am so grateful to Cona Elder Law and Senior Dreams,” said Theresa Lamb. “Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to see my new granddaughter.” With no computer or cell phone, Mrs. Lamb had never even seen a picture of her new granddaughter.
- Senior Dreams arranged for a car service to reunite an elderly mother in Patchogue with her adult disabled daughter who lived in a group home upstate. They had not seen each other in five years. “As soon as I heard about the situation, I knew that I was in a position to help and glad to do it,” explained Robert Xavier, owner of Legend Limousines who donated the car service for the day.
- Senior Dreams restored an overgrown and neglected yard for a 91 year old woman in Bethpage who suffers from Alzheimer’s. “With the amazing donation by Cona Elder Law, my mom will now be able to return to the outside of her home safely and watch her new 7-month-old great-granddaughter playing in the yard like I did as a child,” says Elizabeth Schroeder.
- Senior Dreams secured a new mattress via donation from Sleepy’s for a Ronkonkoma couple; the wife suffered from back problems and the husband with neuropathy, causing many sleepless nights on a 12 year old mattress.
- Senior Dreams paid the medical bills for a Massapequa woman suffering from colon cancer, including costs of chemotherapy, biopsies and radiation.
- Senior Dreams helped an Old Bethpage woman get caught up on her household bills, get her hair cut and helped her purchase toiletries and basic necessities.
Fundraisers are held throughout the year and tax-deductible donations are always accepted. At Cona Elder Law’s Fourth Annual Caregiver Conference on Nov. 15th at Hofstra University, attendees are being asked to make a donation to Senior Dreams Come True in lieu of paying a registration fee. Wishes are granted throughout the year on a revolving basis. Applicants for Senior Dreams Come True must be 65 or over with an income of no more than $1,500 per month for single individuals and $2,000 per month for a married couple. A letter or statement under 750 words describing the senior’s need must be submitted along with a Wish Request form. The application should also document how the senior has helped others, by deeds or in spirit.
To obtain an application and “Wish Request” form, visit the Cona Elder Law website: www.conaelderlaw.com, Charitable Events page or call 631-390-5000.