MSW, LCSW, CMC
I grew up in a small town in south Louisiana surrounded by grandparents and great- grandparents . I spent many hours with my grandparents. I loved hearing their stories and interacting with the older generation. I studied psychology at Belhaven College then completed a Master’s in Social Work at Washington University with a concentration in gerontology and a specialization in family therapy. My 15 year career in social work in the St Louis community includes work with psychiatric, medical and geriatric settings.
Aging Gracefully beautifully marries my education and passions. Geriatric care management is an individualized and personalized service. I collaborate with you to tailor services to the circumstances and needs of your family. I love spending time with families and individuals and really knowing their stories. I enjoy collaborating and advocating with others including doctors, nurses, home health agencies, caregivers, etc. With years of experience, I have knowledge of competent geriatric medical professionals and facilities in the St. Louis area. I am a willing and capable advocate for clients and families because of my passion for them and my professional experience.
Aging often refocuses our attention from activity and busyness to self-reflection and relational healing. It is my privilege to assist families to finish well during the twilight years of the older generation. My desire is to free families from daily care management tasks so they are able to relate as son, daughter, husband, wife, friend, etc. It is my pleasure to take care of the details of life and navigate systems so that your time as a family can be spent enjoying one another.
Often, I am contacted by families at a point of crisis. You may be facing difficult medical dilemmas and significant transitions. My skills, resources and experience help you deal with a crisis and plan for the future. I provide a road map and guide you through transitions. You are likely here because you are overwhelmed. My work reflects my love for another generation and is my legacy to my loving grandparents and I look forward to coming alongside your family.
Ashley Cade, Concierge/Assistant
I confess, I am your Type A, find a plan, execute the plan get it done girl. I enjoy helping people find answers and order in all aspects of life. Quite honestly, I have been organizing since I was little. My Hot Wheels, My Little Pony collection and Care Bears were all neatly organized. In fact I remember being laughed at in college for having my CDs in alpha order. (I promise I do have THAT space that has no order and is a mess, usually my minivan).
My formal education is a BA in accounting with a minor in marketing from Marietta College, Marietta Ohio. I started my career as an auditor with Arthur Andersen which quickly led to my decision to pursue marketing with the company as my personality did not fit that of an auditor (at all). I love people, I enjoy spending time one on one or in a group, listening to stories, sharing my own stories and doing life in the present. However, as a young woman with an accounting degree, I wasn’t sure where my passions would lead.
In 2002, I met my husband while living on the east coast and moved to St. Louis in May 2003 after marrying in Cincinnati, Ohio (my home state). Upon moving to St. Louis, I was very fortunate to work as the Director of the Alumni & Parents Admission Program at Washington University where I managed a small staff, worked with alumni in the admission process and was an admissions officer for a small territory.
Over the years these odds and ends have led to me discovering my natural gifts and talents and have helped me determine my ultimate desire to help others. At Aging Gracefully, I see myself as a support beam if you will – a load bearing wall that supports several floors. On the ground floor, I’m the administrator and coordinator of day to day operations and support our team with their needs. On the second floor, I enjoy running the steps…errands, socializing with clients, bringing a special lunch, helping clients with the practical moving/purging process or other needs that arise. On the third floor…well that’s where I enjoy the opportunity to care for our clients: hear their stories, spend time with them, hold their hand and bring a sense of peace with a smile and a compassionate presence.
As a young woman, I earned my bachelor’s degree in social work at Valparaiso University, and worked in family assistance until I married and had children. When my fifth child was three, I went back to work as the counselor at their school for several years, working with students and families under stress. Later, when my children were young adults, I went to seminary and completed a masters in pastoral care and counseling at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, and did some post grad work in gerontology at UMSL. It was towards the end of my graduate studies that I began my clinical pastoral education at the hospital, which segued into a hospital chaplain residency after receiving my masters. That residency led to increased compassion for those who are very ill, and eventually to ten years of providing spiritual care, end of life education, and grief support to hospice patients and their families.
It was while working in the ICU at Forest Park Hospital in St. Louis that I became aware that many seniors aren’t prepared for medical emergencies and decision-making. I was a chaplain resident (like a medical doctor resident), and Iris had been lying in bed, unresponsive, for over two weeks. Her best friend, Laura, was sitting next to her, having just finished talking with a surgeon. “They want to put a feeding tube in her,” she said, “and I don’t know what to do.” She was Iris’s only “family” and support, and they had not talked about the “what ifs” of aging. Laura was overwhelmed, under prepared, anxious, and emotionally spent. Throughout the ICU that year, similar scenarios played out, and it was my privilege to accompany patients and their caregivers throughout the course of their illness, and to offer grief support in the months that followed.
I am proficient in client assessments, care-planning, crisis intervention, life review, and education on the aging process, end of life, and the grieving process. I strive to facilitate healthy communication with and within the family, can be a liaison between the medical staff and the family, and will advocate tirelessly for patient needs with medical staff. Over the years I have gained knowledge of the medical system, options for care, and supportive living arrangements. I have come to see caregivers as the unsung heroes of our society, and the fabric that holds fragile individuals and families together, and coming alongside them is a privilege.
I provide comfort, caring presence, emotional support, and work toward helping our clients have peace of mind about the present and the future. I love hearing people’s stories about their childhood, courtship, careers, disappointments, joys and struggles. As we age, we can feel increasingly invisible. Part of my mission is to listen well, and be an empathetic companion during times of stress and transition. I hope to give this kind of support to every individual and family I work with.
Born and raised in St. Louis, my social work career began over 25 years ago with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Marquette University and a Master of Social Work from Tulane University. After working with children, families and individuals with developmental disabilities in both medical and community based settings, in Milwaukee, Atlanta and Nashville, I moved back to St. Louis with my husband and two children. For almost 15 years now, I have worked here with seniors and their families as both a hospice and home health social worker before joining Aging Gracefully. I love listening to seniors’ stories of the past and joining them in finding meaning and purpose in their present.
My goal is to help families build on their strengths and experience to adapt and thrive as they manage the challenges of aging. My strengths are providing care in a personalized and compassionate way, an extensive knowledge base of community resources, and a passion for helping seniors to maximize their independence and quality of life as they age. In addition to my professional experience, I have been the primary caregiver for an aging parent. I know its joys, rewards, and sorrows and I understand the frustrations and exhaustion that can sometimes arise from trying to meet ever-changing needs. I enjoy creative problem solving and completing tasks big and small that can ease some of the burdens of caregiving. My hope is to bring peace of mind to loved ones as well, whether they need guidance or support or just someone to lighten their load. I am continually grateful for the opportunity to work in this field and I am often inspired by the love, perseverance, and resiliency demonstrated by those we serve.