By Andrew Wroblewski
In the blink of an eye, Valerie Wolf-Sonkin’s home grew from seven to nine people last November. Her father, Larry, 83, fell and broke his shoulder, knee and elbow. As the primary caregiver for his wife, Eleanor, Larry was unable to care for his wife of 66 years. Wolf-Sonkin, a Meville resident who cares for her five children, didn’t complain and welcomed the couple into her home for a six-month-long stay that consisted of hands-on care.
For this, the Melville elder law firm Genser Dubow Genser & Cona honored Wolf-Sonkin with the “Working Caregiver of the Year” award at the third annual GDGC Caregiver Conference on June 9.
“Without hesitation, Valerie invited both of her parents into her home for six months and cared for all of their needs with a smile on her face and love in her heart,” Jennifer Cona, managing partner at GDGC, said in a press release. “Somehow she managed to take her father to physical therapy and doctor’s appointments three times a week while still getting her kids to Boy Scouts, diving practice, chorus, robotics, band and theatre rehearsals.”
Wolf-Sonkin is also an adjunct math professor at Queens College and her children are between the ages of 14 and 19. Managing the hectic life, the 47-year-old was able to find the time to care for her parents, who have since returned to their home.
“There was no question that I would do whatever it took to help my parents who had taken care of me when I was young,” she said.
Working with families in similar situations to that of Wolf-Sonkin, Cona said she believes that those caregivers deserve to be recognized and honored. Along with presenting the award, GDGC also donated $100 to The Alzheimer’s Association, Wolf-Sonkin’s chosen charity.