In recognition of family caregivers who go beyond the call of duty taking care of their elderly loved ones, Cona Elder Law, a leading elder law firm based in Melville, awarded Valerie Wolf-Sonkin, 47 and a Melville resident as “Working Caregiver of the Year.”
An adjunct Math professor at Queens College who has 5 children between the ages of 14 and 19, Valerie was honored on June 9th at Cona Elder Law’s third annual Caregiver Conference held at Hofstra University. Along with a certificate presented to her at the event, Cona Elder Law has donated $100 in Valerie’s honor to her chosen charity: The Alzheimer’s Association.
While her hectic home life and job keeps her busy, her household grew unexpectedly from 7 to 9 people last November. Her 83 year old father, Larry, who was the primary caregiver for his wife, Eleanor who suffered from mobility issues, fell and broke his shoulder, knee and elbow.
Now both of Valerie’s parents, married for nearly 66 years, needed hands-on care. “Without hesitation, Valerie invited both of her parents into her home for 6 months and cared for all of their needs with a smile on her face and love in her heart,” explained Jennifer Cona, Esq., managing partner, Cona Elder Law. “Somehow she managed to take her father to physical therapy and doctor’s appointments 3 times a week while still getting her kids to Boy Scouts, diving practice, chorus, robotics, band and theatre rehearsals.”
Valerie believes that charity starts at home. “There was no question that I would do whatever it took to help my parents who had taken care of me when I was young,” she said. With Valerie’s care, her parents are now back in their home and doing well.
Because Cona Elder Law works with many families who put their own lives on hold and even lose or quit jobs to perform the difficult and stressful caregiving tasks, Ms. Cona believes that they should be recognized and honored.