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March 2013

Race to End Racism


Join Cultural Leadership students, alumni, friends, board and staff on Saturday, April 6th and Sunday, April 7th at our second annual “Race to End Racism!” Thanks to our lead sponsor Cooperative Home Care (Class 7 parent) and our corporate sponsors CompuSmile, Canwell Group and Cambium Creative (Class 9 parent).  


This year we expect nearly 50 Race to End Racism participants running, walking, and volunteering! In 2012 we raised over $8,500 to support our students working to end racism and other social injustices. Our goal for 2013 is to raise $15,000. We have already raised 15% of the goal – you can help us by donating today!


GO! for a CauseIt’s not too late – YOU can participate in our Race to End Racism by running or walking the 5K on Saturday, April 6th, or the half or full marathon on Sunday, April 7th.   

Don’t wait, register TODAY as the marathon team relay is sold out and the 5K race will sell out soon! Call or e-mail the office to obtain the “charity runner” password and discount. 314.725.3222 or 



Mitch and Jim attending Dancing in the Lou, presented by Cooperative Home Care on March 2nd, 2013.

Jim Guller & Mitch Waks, Owners














 J Associates presents ‘Dancing in the Lou’ on March 2

(This article first appeared on on February 20th, 2013)

After a one-year hiatus, Dancing in the Lou will return to the Pageant on Saturday, March 2. Like the popular TV show, “Dancing with the Stars,” Dancing in the Lou teams some of St. Louis’ “favorites” with professional dancers from Simply Ballroom. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the competition begins at 8 p.m.  St. Louis favorites this year are Rob Bertman, Vice President of Eidelman Virant Capital; Ed Chod, Officer at Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C.; Bob Denlow, Partner at Denlow & Henry; Lauren Levinson, Community Volunteer; Tim Stern, President of Lenders One;Cindy Lander Wallach, President of SAGE Marketing; Ericka Zoll, Director of Development at the Jewish Community Center.  The evening will be emceed by Leisa Zigman, investigative reporter and anchor at KSDK-TV.

Guest judges are: Dan Gray, winner of Dancing in the Loop 2011; David Hoffman, winner of Dancing in the Loop 2010; and Kathy Huss, owner of Merle Scheff School of Dance.

Proceeds from Dancing in the Lou go to various departments at the JCC, and are used for scholarships and other programs. J Associates raise funds for home delivered meals for homebound seniors, Theatre Unlimited for adults with special needs, and scholarships that allow children to attend the J’s Early Childhood Center and summer camps.

Dancing in the Lou is presented by Cooperative Home Care. The event is also made possible by the Chod Family Foundation and the Staenberg Family Foundation.

Download our article featured in the February 2013 J Journal newsletter. 

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As featured in The Elder Law Gazette, published by Vouga Elder, February 2012 Issue

LiveChat_KAP2Article by KristyAnn Pfister

Cooperative Home Care is proud and excited to offer Low Vision Therapy in St. Louis, Missouri and surrounding counties.  Low vision is a topic that may be unfamiliar to someone who doesn’t work in home health care, but it affects 25% of all people over 75 years old.  So it’s likely that someone you know, or their aging parent, is suffering from low vision.  It can be a devastating diagnosis that affects an individual’s daily independence as well as their recovery from a new injury or illness.

There are two very important things to remember about Low Vision Therapy.  The first is that Low Vision Therapy through home health care is 100% funded by Medicare for those who qualify.  Like all Medicare home health care solutions, it is conveniently provided within each client’s home.  The second point is that Low Vision Therapy by Cooperative Home Care is very unique.  If you are familiar with low vision then you may know there are traditional programs that offer home and environmental modifications.  Low Vision Therapy by Cooperative Home Care builds on this basic approach by adding vision retraining, in which clients learn how to use their remaining vision more effectively.

So, what is low vision?  Low vision refers to vision problems that cannot be corrected with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery.  People with low vision find everyday tasks difficult to do.  Reading, writing, cooking, watching television, working on the computer and taking the right medications are examples of household activities that may be affected.  Getting around in the community is also going to be more difficult, or impossible, without help.  It’s easy to understand how an otherwise healthy and independent person can experience a decrease in their quality of life from low vision.  In addition to a loss of independence, vision impairment is linked to hip fractures among older adults and people with low vision are more likely to sustain injuries from falls, burns, etc., without the assistance of low vision rehabilitation.  This is an example of how Medicare can be a way to maintain or improve one’s health: by participating in low vision therapy which is 100% funded by Medicare for those who qualify, one can become safer and more independent.

Most low vision is caused by the following diseases: macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, stroke, or brain injury.  The top two causes of low vision are macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of low vision.  Approximately four million Americans suffer from one type of macular degeneration which is called age-related macular degeneration.  People with macular degeneration primarily lose their fine or central vision (picture a giant black dot in the middle of your line of vision), while their peripheral vision is not affected.

It is anticipated that blindness and visual impairment will exceed 6.3 million Americans who have macular degeneration.  Note that that macular degeneration alone will not result in total blindness.  It only affects the macular area of the retina.  There is currently no treatment which has proven to be effective in eliminating the effects of macular degeneration.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of low vision.  Although there are different types, it normally has to do with inner ocular pressure within the eye.  Opposite of age related macular degeneration, people with glaucoma experience vision loss that begins in the peripheral visual fields.  Their central vision remains, which is also called tunnel vision (this time, envision that you can only see a small circle in the center of your line of vision, while everything else is black).

The tragedy of glaucoma is that routine eye examinations will detect abnormal inner ocular tensions or the early changes in the optic disc.  With early detection, the eye condition can normally be treated by medication which can eliminate or reduce chances of vision loss.  If untreated, it is a progressive, degenerative disease which can result in total blindness.

How does Low Vision Therapy by Cooperative Home Care work?  This is a distinctive program that is not available through every Medicare home health care company.  Low Vision Therapy works in two ways: through vision retraining and rehabilitation.  It is delivered in each client’s home by a licensed and specially trained occupational therapist.  The therapists work with clients to use their remaining vision more effectively, to function more safely and independently, and to use appropriate assistive devices more efficiently.  Low Vision Therapy can be life changing for our clients, and is paid 100% by Medicare for those who qualify.  Cooperative Home Care works with each client’s current doctor to ensure the best possible care throughout the treatment process.

Low Vision Therapy by Cooperative Home Care is accepting referrals now.  Here’s how to get started: call 1-800-HOMECARE (in MO) and our Intake Nurse will answer all of your preliminary questions, ensure you are Medicare eligible, and help get your doctor’s order to start your services.


From the March 2009 edition of Octane, the quarterly magazine of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization available at

Congratulations! You’ve mastered the art of work/life balance, you’ve raised beautiful kids and your company is growing like a weed. You’re convinced everything is going great, but then the unexpected happens.

One day, you get a call from the hospital; your mother has just fallen and broken her hip. She needs an operation and six months of physical therapy. She can’t live alone anymore and your father is in no shape to care for her. Worst of all, she’s starting to show signs of dementia. What do you do?

Managing aging parents or in-laws will affect many of us at some point in our lives. Though the situation can be different for everyone, there are some general tips that can help you prepare for the journey ahead. Here is what I learned while caring for my aging parents:

Expect the Unexpected
When it comes to assisting your parents, you can expect their mobility to decrease drastically, sometimes overnight. You can expect memory loss (“No mom, I’m Mitch, your son. Bruce is your hairdresser.”) and frequent trips to specialists. In addition, there may be more phone calls for help. Elderly people fall, struggle with depression from time to time and make more requests. My mom calls me for directions all the time now, often to places that she’s been visiting for years. Parents may also experience incontinence, and you may be called upon to help them sort through their numerous medications. A lot of these needs and requests require time, which is something most entrepreneurs have little of.

Maintain Communication
There will be a lot of emotional conversations with your family, many of which should occur before you get that dreaded phone call. I have found that those who have important decision-making conversations before a crisis avoid a lot of stress later on. In my case, I talked to people who had gone through similar experiences and learned what worked for them. But most importantly, I talked to my parents and asked them what they wanted. I have noticed that most elderly people want to remain independent as long as possible. After all, it is their body and their life.

Survival Tactics
By taking care of my parents in their old age, I learned a lot about how to survive the emotional, mental and physical tolls that take   place. These tactics helped me survive the tough times:

Learn to Laugh
How do you handle the challenge of caring for aging parents? A sense of humor is a good start. There were plenty of things to cry about, so I tried to see the humor in things. Like the time I got a call from the police saying they had my mother-in-law. Oh no, I thought. Did she rob a bank? No. She bumped her car into a police car. We all got a laugh out of that one.

Plan for Tomorrow
When my dad had a stroke and lost his speech, as well as his ability to drive, walk or read, things were hectic. Thankfully, some thoughtful pre-planning with our attorneys and family members made it more bearable when it did happen. I discovered that a healthcare directive or anything in writing that expresses your parent’s wishes if they can’t speak for themselves is invaluable.

Cover the Costs
The biggest thing I learned is to make sure there’s enough money to pay for all of the necessary needs. Ninety-percent of healthcare costs are incurred in the last year of life. This is a large number, and planning early will help ease the burden.

Get Help!
No matter how hard you try, you can’t do all of this on your own. I know, because I tried to single-handedly take care of my parents. It’s best to look to siblings or professional help to share the burden. This way, you can still be productive in their healthcare and keep your sanity.

Shower Them with Love
It’s time to give your parents the same affection and love they gave you growing up. The roles have been reversed, and now it’s up to you to take care of them. It’s an arduous journey, but there’s room for laughter, love and plenty of family.


Article By: Mitch Waks
EO Seattle


Mitch is the CEO and Owner of Cooperative Home Care and All-Staff Nursing, a wellness-focused business that offers in-home health services and staffing solutions for older adults and individuals with disabilities. Contact Mitch at mitch@


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