SASI Knows There’s No Place Like Home for Seniors

Services for Adults Staying in Their Homes (SASI) is committed to helping older adults age in place safely and with dignity.

By providing exceptional, affordable services and employing outstanding, well-trained caregivers, SASI assists clients who, due to aging, illness or injury, need assistance with personal care and daily activities. SASI caregivers are better trained, paid and retained than the industry standard, and the agency tailors their services to the individual client’s needs year-round, including holidays.

“SASI is the best practice for caring for older adults,” says Executive Director Jeanie Ramsey. “We respond quickly, offer flexibility and are clear about our services and fees. If we make a mistake, we own up to it.”

SASI understands that client choice defines its relationship with older adults; the staff works to respect the wishes of its clients to remain where they are most comfortable while they receive care.

“We recognize that life can change very quickly for both clients and caregivers,” Ramsey says, “So we go out of our way to be flexible and understanding while maintaining structure and purpose.”

One client, a retired human services professional suffering from dementia, required 24-hour, round-the-clock care to ensure she remained safely in her North Shore condominium. Prone to wandering and unable to find her way home, she posed a danger to herself, but as a highly independent former professional, the client found her situation difficult to accept. SASI worked with her family to develop a unique plan to meet her needs, care for her and maintain a respectful semblance of space. SASI caregivers accompanied her on emergency hospital visits; shopped for groceries to cater to her unique diet; spent considerable time on the phone with her, keeping her spirits up and her anxiety levels down. For more than a year, the woman depended on SASI caregivers, and her family believes their program allowed her to live where she was most comfortable—her home—for as long as possible.

SASI helps make living at home easier

Established in Evanston in 1976 as the Senior Action Service, SASI aimed to improve and enrich the lives of North Shore residents over 65 years of age. Its primary objective, organized by volunteers, was to help older adults find part-time employment. In the 1980s and ‘90s, SASI evolved into a home services agency to respond to the growing need for older adult home care services.

With clients ranging in age from mid-70s to nearly 100, SASI works with clients who suffer from dementia or chronic illnesses, as well as those who may be recovering from surgery. Clients tend to live in single family homes or facilities, and client preference defines SASI and its relationship with older adults. “Our mission is to support the efforts of adults to remain in their homes,” Ramsey says. “We make living easier.”

SASI goes beyond the state’s home services licensure mandate, requiring 16 hours of annual training for caregiving, rather than eight; well-being visits to new clients within the first 30 days, two months sooner; and annual tuberculosis testing for its caregiving staff. SASI’s services, too, are among the area’s most affordable, with a 2012 survey of 10 local home services agencies showing SASI’s rates were the lowest for four or more hours of home care.

In addition to providing caregivers, SASI offers in-home administrative help, preparation for a client’s return home after a hospital stay, applicant screening and caregiver placement.

SASI by the numbers 

  • SASI’s live-in aides are available 24 hours a day, one to seven days a week.
  • Schedules for come and go aides are typically 4 to 12 hours.
  • 16 mandatory hours of caregiver training, double the state’s requirement
  • Well-being visits paid to new clients 30 days sooner than the state
  • $84,000 raised by 2012 Ruby Slipper Event
  • 85 percent caregiver retention rate
  • More than 200 clients served since 2008
  • 27,312 service hours completed between January and August 2013

Upcoming events

Join SASI at its annual Ruby Slipper Event, the agency’s biggest fundraiser. The evening will feature silent and live auctions, a raffle, dinner and program, with prizes from the Pump Room, the Chicago Blackhawks and more. Proceeds will help keep SASI’s fees at a level accessible to a broad range of the population and provide training opportunities for its caregiving staff.

  • Super Agers! Program, Thursday, Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m., Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln. Ave., Winnetka

This program, in conjunction with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine faculty, presents findings by neuroscientist Dr. Emily Rogalski regarding individuals over 80 with exceptional memory abilities. The event is free and open to the public.