When it’s time to make decisions about elder care, it helps to find someone with connections.

Often the need to find help for an elderly family member comes on very short notice. After an illness, a fall, or other sudden life change, people find themselves scrambling to locate home help, nursing care, a new place to live, or financial assistance. Some lucky people have Shelley Edelson’s number in their phone, and she has connected them with the sources they need. Her friends and clients call her a walking encyclopedia of resources and networking.

What started as casually connecting friends with elder care sources is now a career for Shelley of Fair Lawn. Her profession – “professional elder care connector” – grew out of her passion to help people and her experience working in local senior communities.

For nearly 14 years, Shelley worked in senior communities in Teaneck. First she worked at Classic Residence by Hyatt  (now called Five Star); then she worked at Heritage Pointe of Teaneck. Now, in helping people find elder-care resources, Shelley is familiar with most of the facilities in Bergen County. She listens to her clients’ problems and helps them make choices for post-surgery rehab, memory care, or independent living. “I always to try provide three options,” says Shelley. Her clients benefit from her in-depth knowledge and – just as important – the warm, caring way she assists all along the way.

“People have different needs,” explains Shelley. “It’s not always easy to find the right place, or to decide to move at all.” Every decision usually leads to several more. Shelley’s connections branch out to real estate agents, movers, downsizers, elder-care attorneys, and financial professionals. She’s even taken clients shopping for new furniture.

Some of Shelley’s calls come in a moment of crisis. One client called from Englewood Hospital telling Shelley she had to find a sub acute rehab within 24 hours. Shelley calmly shared her thoughts on the options and made the call to a rehab facility to start the process.

On the other hand, some people take years to make a decision. One client talked about the decision to leave her home for 13 years. Shelley understands the emotions behind this. Seniors open up about their feelings about leaving their homes and losing some independence. Children open up to her about their concerns for their parents’ safety and companionship if they stay in the house. Often Shelley helps with a progression of steps, from getting a few hours of help, to reorganizing rooms, to packing up and moving to a comfortable new space with fewer worries.

Since starting her new career, Shelley has made connections with dozens of other professionals in elder-care fields. She networks these resources so that they can help one another and expands their markets. One of the companies she works with provides a unique and relatively unknown financial solution. ElderCare Financial Solutions buys back life insurance policies from health-impaired clients so that they can help fund their long-term care.

Shelley is happiest when she is connecting people to things that will make their lives better. “It’s like putting a puzzle together,” says Shelley. It takes patience, but the process and the outcome are rewarding. For more information about Shelley’s services, contact her at shelleyedelson@gmail.com.

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