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Three Childhood Best-Friends Grow Up to Collaborate as Senior Living Leaders

By Olivia Beaton | December 9, 2020

Lori Farris, Susan Heymann, and Lorri Bernstein grew up together in Highland Park, on the Northshore of Chicago and went from Kindergarten best-friends, to working together at Senior Living Specialists. None of these women ever envisioned themselves in senior living, they all went down their own paths and pursued other careers, but their friendship has come full circle and they are all putting their passion into senior living.

Fast forward 50 years from their days of sleepovers and hopscotch, all three women were drawn into the senior living industry after personal experiences with their own parents. Two years ago, Lori Farris founded Senior Living Specialists Houston, a year later, Lorri Bernstein followed in her footsteps and opened Senior Living Specialists Philly, and just recently Susan Heymann has joined the team with Senior Living Specialists Chicago. At Senior Living Specialists, their goal is simple, aiding seniors and their loved ones through the process of finding a senior living community and finding them their perfect home for the next chapter of aging.

Farris, Heymann, and Bernstein are extremely passionate about what they do, and love that they can do it together. Farris says, “we each bring our own unique selves to the table when we approach how we work with our clients.” This type of individual, passionate, and catered approach is what makes Senior Living Specialists so unique.

Each specialist spends time curating a portfolio of senior living communities, touring them, meeting Executive Directors, and learning the ins and outs of each community. By immersing themselves in the communities, they are better able and equipped to find each senior the best fit for their individual needs. Lori Farris says, “we come into these seniors lives at a very vulnerable time, we strive to make the best decisions for them and help provide them with the best quality of life.”

After they find each client their new home, their work is far from over. All three friends add their own personal touch to give back to the senior living industry. Susan brings art projects to communities and also often creates paintings for her clients, such as a painting of one client’s beloved dog. Lori has started book clubs within communities as well, striving to engage residents as much as possible and give them creative outlets. They all agree that the motivating factor behind not only their work, but all work in senior living, is their hearts.

Lori Farris stresses the importance that senior living is certainly not the end of these seniors lives. “People resist leaving home because change is scary, but being in this industry has shown me how much moving into a community is the start of a new life and a new chapter.”

The trio wants to encourage people to start planning for senior living and aging in place sooner rather than later. Farris estimates that about 80% of the time people contact them in crisis, when a loved one falls, or their health begins to deteriorate, and it can add stress and challenge to navigate from a place of panic and uncertainty. They stress the importance of planning in advance, as it aids the decision-making process in the chance a crisis arrives. The process of transitioning into a senior living community can be daunting, but the lifelong friends have made it their mission to connect their clients with the perfect fit for them.


Olivia Beaton

Olivia is the Editor at HEALTHTAC/Senior Living News. She graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, as well as a minor in Journalism. In her spare time she’s a yoga teacher, writer, and freelance photographer.

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