Dan Fagin, the new president and CEO of CJE SeniorLife, had already been working in the healthcare field for many years when his parents grew ill. His father was stricken with Parkinson's disease and his mother with Alzheimer's, and both ultimately spent time in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.
Fagin's personal experience of caring for his ailing parents taught him the needs, concerns, and stresses of being the adult child of aging parents and motivated him to focus his professional life on caring for seniors, too. "Having [personally] lived it, I find myself able to put myself in the shoes of the children of my residents, which has helped me to better meet their needs as caregivers," he said.
Before focusing on eldercare, Fagin gained wide-ranging experience in the healthcare field, working for hospitals as well as a global business consulting firm. Most recently, he comes to CJE after serving for three years as CEO of a retirement community outside his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to his many years of healthcare experience, he has served in the Jewish community as COO of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.
In his new role, he hope to marry his healthcare and management experience with his desire to serve the Jewish community. "CJE has been a highly respected in the Jewish community for over 45 years, with a great history of enhancing the lives of older adults- thanks, in part, to the tremendous support from JUF," Fagin said. "The diversity and breadth of what CJE does and the broad scope of its services are exciting. It's different from what I have seen in other cities, which is sometimes handled by as many as three different agencies."
He affirmed the dedication of his CJE colleagues. "I'm inspired by the morale and commitment of the CJE staff and board, some of whom have been involved for 30 years," he said. "It's very demanding, but also a privilege, to work with older adults. For the staff, it's a true calling."
Looking toward the future, Fagin hopes to adapt CJE's strengths to the evolution in ways and places people want to be cared for today- with more choice and flexibility, as well as in-home care for as long as possible. Use of skilled nursing homes is declining, he said, and people are choosing retirement communities only when they are no longer able to remain safely in their own homes.
Caring for the last remaining Holocaust survivors also drives him. "Due to the post-traumatic stress they have endured, they prefer the safety and comfort of familiar surroundings," he noted. "They deserve to receive the benefits of our community- we have to identify and meet their social, medical, and spiritual needs, and find ways to engage them."
Fagin feels that it is everyone's duty to care for our community's seniors. "Chicago's Jewish community has a great service infrastructure, so help people who need it connect to it," he said. "And know that CJE is here for your loved ones and their children."
To learn more, visit www.cje.net. CJE SeniorLife is a partner with JUF in serving our community.