Don Lewinski and Julie Whitbeck-Lewinski have opened a branch of CarePatrol, a national chain specializing in assisting seniors. Between their respective backgrounds, Lewinski is a lawyer and Whitbeck-Lewinski has worked in a variety of health care settings, the two believe they can help inform seniors and their families where they will be best served, whether in an assisted living facility or independent living community.
A native of Western New York, Lewinski lived with his family in Pittsburgh where he worked as an in-house lawyer. A rising star, he realized he was not happy. To be able to return to WNY, and change the line of work he’s in, has made all the difference for him.
“We really want to be a start to finish service,” Lewinski said of the business. “We’re involved every step of the way, because it’s a lot. Coming from a very high-pressure, high-demand lifestyle for the past 10 years, and my wife too, especially now, being in a hospital. We understand that people need help and need to be handheld a little bit, and that’s the level of service we want to provide.”
In order to do this, the couple seek to understand the senior’s medical history. Whitbeck-Lewinski has the health care experience necessary to help navigate with these aspects of the decision.
“Beyond just understanding the medical and health care part of that there’s a level of compassion and empathy that you have to show these families,” Lewinski said. “Because this is not an easy decision. … A lot of that is because people feel guilty.”
Children often feel that their parents raised them, Lewinski said, and they have an obligation to help them back. However, sometimes this is just not feasible, but there are more choices than keeping them in the house, and leaving them in “a home.”
“A lot of these communities are different from nursing homes and that’s part of what we have to educate our clients and their families on,” Lewinski said.
After going through the medical and health care aspects, Lewinski said he’s able to bring his skill-set to the fore.
“If there’s insurance issues, if there’s tax issues,” he said. “If they need to liquidate assets. If we need to look at powers of attorney or health care proxies. There’s all these other legal documents that might come into play. That’s really where my level of expertise comes in.”
The service is completely free to the family, Lewinski said.
“If they’re not getting the service that they were led to believe they were going to get when they signed, and the family asks us to step in – 100% – we’re in there with them even beyond the move,” he said. “The way we get compensated is we have an extensive network of community partners that we work with here, and that CarePatrol works with nationally, … It’s not a matter of we're just looking to place them … if you do well by people and you provide a good service, people want to help.”