Columns | Northwest Herald

Fearless Aging: Elderwerks works to resolve senior housing crisis in turbulent times

The U.S. population is aging at a rapid pace – so fast, in fact, that housing has become one of the major crises of our lifetime.

News about COVID-19, the economy and other marquee stories has driven this issue to the background, but in recent times, the increased flow of immigrants arriving in the U.S. seeking asylum from danger and poverty has further compounded the housing shortage.

The media largely focuses coverage on young families; however, many elderly people are arriving in Illinois with limited or no housing options.

Our reality at Elderwerks is up to 150 phone calls daily from older adults (often with guidance from their children) seeking help to find appropriate living arrangements. We assist many people who are in urgent situations and haven’t been able to plan ahead regarding their changing mobility and accessibility requirements.

Many who we assist have limited savings, which further compounds the problem. When things at home become unsafe, our team offers the expert help and guidance required to make a swift and orderly transition.

The silver lining amid the gloom and doom news is that Elderwerks has been helping Illinois seniors find housing for more than 10 years. Our extensive contacts in senior living communities and solid working relationships with these professionals reduces the weight on families facing numerous life challenges.

We also are committed to helping everyone who contacts us to the best of our ability. Regardless of political gamesmanship being played with the lives of newcomers to our area, we focus on the individual and their support needs, not politics. If you are a senior, we will help you.

Older adult services are a seven-day-a-week, always-on environment. Navigating these uncertain times requires ingenuity, long hours and the backing of our donors to increase our support staff to meet the growing demand for senior housing.

If you or someone you care about is grappling with appropriate living arrangements, our staff is available every day to help. Call 855-462-0100 or visit our Palatine office located at 251 E. Route 14.

• Jennifer Prell is president of Elderwerks Educational Services, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit offering complimentary information, referrals and guidance to older adults, seniors and their families for senior living, care, support and benefits. Go to or call 855-462-0100 for personal assistance. Email questions to