Liz Donovan, Executive Director
Born into a New Canaan (CT) family, my father was disabled by polio in 1954. This life-changing event made me sensitive from childhood to the need for not only a safe environment for the elderly and disabled, but also a functional one, so that my father could both live and work at home. My earliest jobs as a teen were assisting other local residents affected by polio – helping them to shop, eat, bathe and do their jobs, and thus be able to continue living in their own homes.
Fast forward 35 years later: after crossing the Hudson to earn degrees from Princeton and Monmouth Universities, and to raise a family while immersed in the corporate world as a certified Project Manager and then Corporate Executive, I returned to my childhood home with saintly husband in tow to live with Mom. In our Mid Century Modern home, designed in 1947 by my father, renowned architect Landis Gores, she could no longer live alone – and she refused to budge!
I’m Just Fine, Thank You!
Before I returned to the roost, my siblings and I, scattered across the country from California to Vermont, worried about how Mom was doing on her own. A fiercely independent Yankee whose biggest fear was to be a burden to her children, Mom insisted she was just fine, thank you. My periodic visits increased as I tried to do more to keep the wheels from falling off. Around this time, a casual conversation with the Assistant Director for Staying Put in New Canaan hit me like a ton of bricks; she considered Mom to be one of the most “fragile” members of the group! Wow. Mom could no longer live safely alone, even with their help. I left my corporate career, returned to Connecticut and studied to obtain my certification in USC’s Executive Certification in Home Modification Program and membership in the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM). At our family home, I spent endless hours trying to catch up on a quarter century of deferred household maintenance and rooms chock full of molding books and possessions. Soon I began to help other seniors and their families do the same, in Fairfield County and beyond.