Business for a Better World: Elderwerks Educational Services

  • Photo courtesy of Elderwerks Educational ServicesElderwerks Educational Services offers senior living coordination, advocacy and education for older adults, seniors, families and professionals.

    Photo courtesy of Elderwerks Educational ServicesElderwerks Educational Services offers senior living coordination, advocacy and education for older adults, seniors, families and professionals.

  • Jennifer Prell

    Jennifer Prell

 
Updated 8/11/2022 10:22 AM

Elderwerks Educational Services

251 E. Northwest Hwy., Palatine

 

(847) 462-0885

www.elderwerks.org

Industry: Social Services for Seniors

Number of employees: 12

Q: Describe your company.

A: Elderwerks Educational Services offers senior living coordination, advocacy and education for older adults, seniors, families and professionals. Our complimentary information, referral and guidance includes all types of senior housing, home care, supportive services and benefits.

Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

A: If we can obtain grants and additional funding, then our goal is to hire one or two social workers to help the over 65 years of age population. This funding will help us meet the increasing demand for assistance from seniors who don't know where to go for important resources they desperately need.

Illinois has many charities applying for the same grant funding but may not serve the same population. Funders of these grants have the challenge of selecting who they fund. Elderwerks has experts in all things senior. We provide aging counseling, education and the resources to enhance seniors' lives in their current environment or if they need information on alternative housing.

We get to know seniors, who they are, what makes them unique, and then we connect them with resources and housing options that allow them to age better. We gather feedback from seniors and families about all resources, and visit senior care providers often. Elderwerks doesn't compete with other charities or social services agencies; we refer to them and receive referrals from them.

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Elderwerks strives to be the connector with other agencies so that no senior is without options, support or resources.

Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?

A: We need to obtain the necessary funding to allow Elderwerks to provide case management, aging counseling and education to meet the needs of the seniors who reach out to Elderwerks daily. Elderwerks has seen increases in seniors' needs due to the aging population, the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic -- all situations that have pushed nonprofits' resources to a critical level.

Funding for not-for-profits has been in high demand prior to COVID but is even more strained now. Elderwerks uses and needs grants to support our mission. Elderwerks answers over 10,000 calls annually that have helped seniors improve their lives with our limited budget and personnel.

It takes grants to support our mission. In 2021, we applied for in 40-plus grants and received five grants. This year, we applied for over 30 grants, and so far, we received only two grants. This situation is very disheartening and challenging to run a not-for-profit and meet the calls for help with limited grant funding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?

A: Virtual reality dementia education. Elderwerks, in collaboration with CJE SeniorLife has created Dementia Reality. Dementia Reality immerses professional caregivers into the world of a person with dementia and other related diseases.

People experience what the person with dementia experiences, and they also get to view an interaction between a CNA and the person with dementia to see the wrong way and the correct way to provide care. This new educational model is an exciting way to create better experiences for all those involved.

Q: What does your company do to reduce the effects of climate change?

A: We recycle, reuse, repurpose and work from home as much as possible.

Q: Is your company minority-owned? Woman-owned? If so, what are the challenges of being a minority- or woman-owned company?

A: We are a not-for-profit organization founded and managed by a woman, Jennifer Prell. We have challenges due to lack of grants, planning by older adults and finding the proper resources so our seniors can live comfortably and safely.

Q: What does your company do regarding DE&I (diversity, equity & inclusion)?

A: We do not discriminate for any reason and are inclusive of all humankind.

Q: Does your company do anything else to make your community better?

A: Yes, we provide healthy educational classes, virtual exercise, planning for future needs, and have an Elderwerks Education and Resource Center in Palatine for immediate, in-person assistance. We also print a 400-page Senior Resource Directory that is free to anyone who asks and includes all local and federal programming for seniors in Illinois.

Q: What do you do to make your business a good place to work for your employees?

A: We try to be supportive of all our employees' needs and accommodate them when they need personal, family time.

Q: Do you have a business mantra?

A: All seniors deserve dignity and respect.

Q: What is one interesting fact about your company that most people may not know?

A: We help over 10,000 seniors annually. We are not a large organization, but once people find us, we meet their needs quickly.

• Do you know of a Business for a Better World? Email us about it at sbnews@dailyherald.com.

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