As part of their Senior Dreams Come True program to grant wishes to Long Island residents in need, the lawyers and staff at Cona Elder Law got down and dirty to restore a terribly overgrown and long neglected ¼ acre yard in Bethpage for homeowner 91 year old Elizabeth Schroeder who suffers from Alzheimer’s. This project worth $ 3,000 represents the 7th dream the elder law and estate planning firm has granted over the past few years.
When Elizabeth’s daughter Joan Schroeder, Stonybrook resident, saw an article featuring the Cona Elder Law program, she was anxious to get help for her mom so she could remain in her small cape cod home in Bethpage where she has lived for 62 years. “Unfortunately, I have been unable to handle or afford the necessary care for the property,” explains Ms. Schroeder. “My mom always relished sitting in her front and back yard feeding the birds.”
Joan reached out to local congressmen, boy scouts, schools and others seeking help but to no avail. “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.”
To accomplish this monumental task, Cona Elder Law engaged Morningstar Tree Company to excavate and remove an old metal shed, bushes and assorted rubble. Several weeks before the Cona Elder Law staff got together with their rakes, pick ax, and pitch forks to dig up the vines, ivy and even stone and bricks buried under the dirt, a Cona Elder Law partner put down weed killer to start the job.
As soon as Janet Russell, executive assistant at Cona Elder Law announced the project to the staff, several people responded immediately, and 80% were women.
“Our team is gratified to make a difference in our community by helping one senior in need at a time,” says Jennifer Cona, Esq., managing partner, Cona Elder Law. “We love hands-on projects and this yard clean-up was right up our alley giving us a sense of accomplishment unique to working with our hands. We got to dig in – literally! Even though Elizabeth Schroeder has Alzheimer’s, we know she will enjoy her new yard so she can be in the fresh air and sunshine.”
“Although this was back breaking work for three hours, I was so happy to help restore the home’s exterior for Mrs. Schroeder” says Alison Dragunat, Cona Elder Law paralegal. “Everyone grabbed a tool and dug in to work together lifting heavy slate, pulling up roots and shoveling while laughing, singing, and getting exercise at the same time.” To brighten up the home even further, Alison plans to return to Mrs. Schroeder’s home and power wash the house and fence.
Dion Mills, Cona Elder Law paralegal was also happy to participate in this worthwhile activity on a grand scale. “Even though we broke fingernails and got cut by thorns, it was so worthwhile,” she said.
Applicants must be 65 or over with an income limit of no more than $1,500 a month for a single person and $2,000 a month for a married couple. Applicants are required to send a letter or statement under 750 words describing their wish and documenting how they have contributed to society in some way.
To obtain a “Wish Request” form and application, go to the Cona Elder Law website at www.conaelderlaw.com or call Janet Russell at 631.390.5000 for more information.
Senior Dreams Come True is also seeking donations to help raise funds to grant wishes. Donations are tax-deductible under 501(c)(3) of the tax code.
Cona Elder Law is recognized as a leading elder law and estate planning firm on Long Island. The firm was ranked the #1 Elder Law firm by Long Island Business News in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The firm provides creative advocacy and cutting edge planning strategies and has been featured in many publications including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, L.I. Business News, Kiplinger’s, Reader's Digest and many others. Cona Elder Law attorneys are frequent contributors to Newsday’s Act II “Ask the Expert” column and have appeared as guests on WNBC-TV, CNN-fn, News 12, News 55, Channel 21 "Act II With Newsday" and many radio stations including WOR, WCBS AM and WFAN.