When Jean Manheimer, 82, Patchogue, heard about the “Senior Dreams Come True” program, sponsored by Cona Elder Law Charitable Events, Melville, she never imagined that she would get the chance to see her 56 year old daughter Janice after five years of separation. Janice, who is mentally disabled, has resided in Crystal Run Village, a residential group home in Cocheton, New York, since she was 15.
Liz Fiordalisi, case manager at Day Haven Adult Day Services, Ronkonkoma where Jean spends a few days a week, submitted a heartwarming letter describing Jean’s wish to visit her daughter. “I was in heaven when I heard that I won” said Jean.
As the second winner of Senior Dreams Come True, Jean and another daughter were driven to Cocheton, about 4 ½ hours from LI, courtesy of Legend Limos in Islandia.
Over the years, Jean was able to see Janice with the help of either her husband Bert, who passed away a year ago, or her son Joseph who relocated to Oregon. Joseph used to take his mom to the residence on a weekly basis when he lived in New York.
Although Jean speaks to her daughter and caretakers occasionally, she misses her daughter terribly. “Spending several hours with Janice was wonderful,” said Jean. Her daughter shared the certificates she received for her participation in singing, yoga and other activities at the group home.
“We were truly honored to grant this special wish that, while relatively simple, is so big and important to Jean,” said Jennifer Cona, managing partner, Cona Elder Law, elder law firm. “By reaching out to colleagues, we have been able to secure donations of goods and services, such as from Legend Limousines in this case, which has allowed us to stretch our charitable dollars to help more seniors in need and expand the Senior Dreams Come True program,” says Ms. Cona.
To help make Jean’s dream come true, Cona Elder Law approached Robert Xavier, owner of Legend Limousines in Islandia. “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. Normally this trip would cost nearly $1,000 to cover the cost of the chauffeur, gas, tolls and the hybrid vehicle.
According to Sal, the driver, he was so glad to be part of this experience and would gladly do it again. “Jean and her daughter were like angels, and I helped them feel comfortable.”
Not only does Cona Elder Law provide elder law and estate planning services for seniors and their families, but they are also advocates for the elderly and disabled. Through the firm’s subsidiary, Cona Elder Law Charitable Events, the nonprofit organization, Senior Dreams Come True benefits low income seniors on Long Island by granting wishes ranging from basic needs to fulfilling lifelong dreams.
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, call Moriah Farrell at 631.390.5000 for more information.
Senior Dreams Come True grants wishes on a revolving basis throughout the year. Fundraising events are also held throughout the year, such as the upcoming “Reaching Out to Make Senior Dreams Come True” event on Friday, February 11, 2011 at the Long Island Hilton in Melville. For information, go to www.conaelderlaw.com/events calendar & news/charitable events.
Senior Dreams Come True is also seeking donations to help raise funds to grant wishes. Currently, wish requests under consideration include a hearing aide, a chair lift, home improvements, air fare to visit relatives in other states, and a computer. Donations are tax-deductible under 501(c)(3) of the tax code.