Solution by Design

Success stories & Senior Moments


Caroline Cobb

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I have been working with Caroline in helping her to organize her home over the past couple of years. In the last few months, she decided that she needed to transform her art room into a sewing room. I was tasked with creating the necessary space to include her computer as well as a place to cut and create her designs.

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I had so much fun shopping and finding the right furniture as well as the right organizational items to make this room as efficient and carefree as possible.

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After finishing the organizational aspect of the room, I worked on making it a creative space so as to be an inspiration to Caroline when she was creating her designs.

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She absolutely loved the finished product as you can see from the pictures.

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Florence Marr and Duchess

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I was originally hired by Ms. Florence Marr to organize her existing assisted living apartment about 5 years ago. Before she passed away in June of 2013, I had moved her several times. Her final destination was at the Lodge at Leon Springs. She was suppose move into the main building which was considered assisted living. However, she was extremely persuasive in getting what she wanted. There were independent cottages surrounding the assisted living building. She asked the owner if she could live in one of the cottages and still provide her with the services that she needed. Her main goal in living in one of these cottages was obvious to me. I had told her for 3 years that she could only have a dog if she got a backyard. This cottage had a backyard and only needed a wire fence put in to contain a dog. The owner agreed that she could live out in the cottage. I had no other choice but to start looking for a dog for Florence.

In the past, she had had two shelties named lady and both had passed away. I contacted the sheltie rescue shelter but they would not allow Florence to have one of their shelties because at the time she was 93 years old. This did not deter Florence from getting a dog.

She asked me to go to doggie rescue events and places to find someone who would give a 93 year old senior a dog. Originally, I was focused on getting her an older dog so he would not jump on her and knock her down but I did not want her to have to pay lots of medical bills for an older dog.

One day I was at Petsmart and in front of the store was a lady who owned a rescue shelter called A doggie for you. Pat, the owner of the rescue shelter was very open to allowing Florence to adopt one of her dogs. My search for the perfect dog for Florence did not take very long at all. I was looking through the pens and I say this all white mixed terrier named Duchess lying down in the pen. She was very calm and did not even blink an eye when these two energetic puppies were using her for dive bombing practice. She was 5 years old at the time and when I took Florence back to see if she wanted Duchess it was love at first sight. Florence tried to take Duchess out of the pen right away. I told her that we have to adopt the dog first and then buy all the things that she would need to live with her.

I got Florence and Duchess and all the doggie trappings into my van and our journey began. After getting them settled, I looked at them both sitting on the couch next to each other. If Duchess could have talked, she would have said, “why aren’t taking me home with you?”

Every Tuesday, I came to work with Florence and Duchess would go ballistic every time she saw me. I did not know that she loved me more than anything in this world. I thought she acted this way with everyone who came in the door.

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One day Florence told me that Duchess understood everything that everyone said to her. I did not believe her but it turned out to be true. I left on Tuesday and did not say anything to Duchess. When I came back the next week, Florence told me that I needed to say goodbye to Duchess when I leave and tell her that I will be back the following week. She said that Duchess watched the door for the entire week looking for me. I complied with her request that day and when I came back the following week, Florence said Duchess was fine. As time went on, I knew that Duchess would probably outlive Florence so I had a backup plan on who would take Duchess when Florence passed on. Actually, everyone who knew this very sweet and obedient dog wanted her including the staff at the Lodge. When Florence passed away, I left her at the Lodge to be their mascot. I thought this is perfect since the seniors loved Duchess. I was in and out for the next few days and every time I showed up she would go ballistic and jump up and down and chase her toys. I told the manager that Duchess seems to be doing very well. She said this is not true. Duchess is depressed and despondent and only reacts and plays when I show up. She said here is your dog. I love dogs but had not owned one because of living in an apartment and working long hours. I was not very happy that this dog had chosen me and no one else on earth would do. I kept telling Duchess that of all the humans she could have picked on earth, she could do much better than me. She disagreed. I am now the owner of Duchess and she has been living with me full time since about January of 2014. It has been quite an adjustment but in all my years being around animals, I have never had one so obedient and she came that way. She understands everything I ask or tell her to do. I am sure that Florence is smiling down on me and Duchess every day from Heaven. She always said that she had Duchess’ body but I had her heart. Florence was so right!!!

As you can see from this story, I receive many interesting and sometimes rather difficult requests from my senior clients. However, due to my corporate and senior experience, I usually can create the perfect solution for whatever comes up. This is why I named my company A Solution By Design.

Florence was not into the daily activities of any of the places that I moved her to throughout the years. She had married once and divorced shortly after that. Her real love of her life was the dogs she owned. She had two dogs that had passed away and desperately wanted another one. When I started taking care of her she was in her 90’s and living in rather small assisted living apartments which were totally unsuitable for a dog. I told her that if she ever got a back yard that I would get her a dog. As you can see from the story about how Duchess came into our lives, she was totally over the moon about having a dog in her life. In my opinion, she lived a few years longer because of this special little lady called Duchess.

I knew that only half of the battle was over after I found a cottage and a backyard for Duchess. Although I had made sure Duchess was housebroken, this did not help because Florence could not see when the dog went to the front door. After leaving them together for a week, the manager told me that it was not going to work out because her caregivers were not going to pick up after the dog when she messed on the floor. Her suggestion was to take the dog back to the rescue place. I told her that I would find a solution to the problem because there was no way I was going to tell this senior that I would have to give back her precious Duchess after waiting all this time to finally get one.

I talked to the owner and asked him to follow through on putting in the wire gate. He did this immediately. Next, I asked if he would mind if I had his maintenance man put in a doggy door. He agreed and put it in immediately. Duchess was so smart that I only had to show her once how to come in and out of the doggy door. The potty problem was solved.

Another problem arose. Florence wanted Duchess to have a walk every day. I told her that under no circumstances could she walk Duchess because she was on a walker and might fall. I hired the onsite caregivers to walk Duchess daily so Florence would not get into any trouble walking the dog. She was satisfied with my solution.

As time went on, I had to take Duchess to the veterinarian’s office for annual check-ups and emergency visits when she wasn’t feeling well. I even took Duchess to the vet for dental cleanings. I not only went shopping for Florence, but also Duchess. I made many visits to Petsmart buying a raincoat, winter coat and doggy booties to keep her feet dry. This little dog was the light of her light and very much her baby and she was treated as such in every sense of the word.

Duchess stayed by her side right up to the end. She sat with her when she was on her sofa and slept with her in her bed. Somehow Duchess knew this was her duty and she fulfilled it to the very end.

I was glad that this sweet little dog had come into Florence’s life and made her last years on earth happy.

I know how important animals are to seniors. I will do anything in my power to ensure that whatever my senior wants to make their lives happy and carefree is given to them up to and including any animal that they may desire.

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Doris Harper and the most perfect place on earth

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I met Doris a few months ago when she was living at an assisted living home not to her liking. I was hired by her benefactor to manage her care and make sure nothing fell through the cracks. She was recovering from an injury recently sustained in the apartment that she was living. She was very annoyed at the lack of service but more notably the quality of the food.

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Since her stay at the rehabilitation center at the Forum at Lincoln Heights, it had been her sincere desire to live in the Independent section of this facility. After making sure she had fully recovered and could be moved to the Forum, I arranged for her to attend a luncheon so she could obtain all the necessary paperwork and procedures to make her move.

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After a couple of weeks of paperwork and setting up transferring her services to her new apartment at the Forum, I proceeded to pack up her old place and hire the movers to get her to the most perfect place on earth. She had dreamed for some time to live at the Forum and now her dream was coming true.

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Moving day came and went. Her new place was unpacked and everything was put in its place. After everything was unpacked, I started my search to buy all the practical and decorative things that were lacking in her new place. I even had the opportunity to create a flower arrangement in one of her favorite flower vases. It was the final touch in making her new apartment like Heaven on Earth.

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When Doris wakes up every morning, she still can’t believe how lucky she is to be living at the Forum. She absolutely loves how her new apartment turned out right down to where the picture were hung to the color of her new lift chair.

I am happy to say that my relationship as her senior care manager is working out perfectly and is ongoing to this day.

Organizing with Elisheva Nawrocik and her daughter Acacia

I was asked by Eli if I could transform her daughter’s room into the perfect place before she got back from her summer studying abroad. I did not have much time and I usually work with seniors not 22 year olds.
I have always had this gift of being able to create, organize and transform events and places into exactly whatever the client desires. My gifts would be put to the test since I could not even ask Acacia how she would like her room redecorated. However, I knew it would be okay. I was totally guided from the moment I started until I finished the last detail in her room.

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I was asked to select new flooring as well as the paint for the walls. I cleared out all non-essential items and bought all the necessary organizing and decorative items that would be needed to transform Acacia’s room into a Paris theme. It took me hours upon hours of looking for the perfect things for her room. After finding all the right things for her room, it took me about a week to organize and decorate the room so that when Acacia came home, she would feel as if she was walking into her own version of Paris at home.

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I took before and after pictures of this transformation. Her parents took a video of her reaction to her new room. They blindfolded her and the reaction was incredible.

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Senior Moments

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Senior moments

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