Stories of HopeJFS Senior Solutions
Helping Carol Jeanne Move Past a Toxic Living Situation
Carol Jeanne Stewart, 79, could see magnificent views of downtown Denver and the entire Front Range from her seventh-floor apartment. But what was truly special was her view of the cross at St. Joseph Hospital lit up at night—it gave her peace. She loved her apartment and was happy there for many years. Then things took a turn for the worse.
A new neighbor across the hall started threatening to kill Carol Jeanne’s dog and frightening her. The apartment building was poorly managed and the staff did nothing to help her solve this problem. Carol Jeanne no longer felt safe or happy in the building. She felt threatened.
“In addition to being scared of my neighbor, the elevators no longer worked, the management had eliminated all of the community elements of the building, including names on mailboxes. It no longer felt like home,” explains Carol Jeanne. “But I loved my view and was on a fixed income so I didn’t think I could move. I tried to make the best of it for as long as I could.”
In 2009, she had back surgery and couldn’t do anything on her own. Her doctor referred her to Jewish Family Service and Yvonne Sylvan, JFS Senior Solutions care manager, came to visit Carol Jeanne. “I shared my story with Yvonne and explained how stressful the situation had become. It was negatively impacting my health,” says Carol Jeanne. “I knew I needed to move out of my apartment, but didn’t know how I could make that happen. Yvonne was patient and very wise. She encouraged me to get out of the toxic situation and set out to help me.”
Carol Jeanne applied to live at Allied Jewish Apartments, which offers subsidized senior housing. At first her application was denied. Yvonne assisted her with the appeal and, with Yvonne’s help, Carol Jeanne presented her case to the grievance committee. “I explained that I was depressed and couldn’t function after living through seven years in a bad situation,” says Carol Jeanne. Her application was finally accepted.
“I moved into Allied Jewish Apartments in February 2011. On my second night there, I looked out my window and saw the lighted Mount Lindo Cross in the foothills. It took my breath away. It was just like the cross on St. Joseph Hospital that I could see from my old apartment!” exclaims Carol Jeanne. “I knew right then that this really is my new home and that everything would be okay.” Carol Jeanne has been so happy at her new apartment—she loves the meals and has made great friends to enjoy them with. “We always laugh and have fun at our table. It’s made such a difference in my life,” she says.
Since Carol Jeanne has nerve pain and has limited mobility, JFS sends a Senior Companion volunteer to take her to the store and to get her prescriptions. Through a grant-funded program at JFS, a homecare provider also comes every week to clean her apartment. “The house would be such a mess without her help and having a clean place to live keeps me from getting depressed,” says Carol Jeanne.
In addition to the help Carol Jeanne receives from JFS, she is seeing a therapist recommended by her neurosurgeon, has a pastor from her Methodist church visit twice per month, and attends church when she can.
“All the assistance I have received from Yvonne and JFS has changed my life!” says Carol Jeanne. “I feel safer and more taken care of. I don’t feel limited or handicapped; I feel whole again. All of their support makes getting older less traumatic.”
For more information about JFS Senior Solutions, please contact Cathy Grimm at 303.597.5000.