We’re in a Good Spot – The Saari/Kashef Family’s Self-Directed Support

Family of five including mother, father, daughter, and two sons

The Saari/Kashefs are a close-knit family. They love to play games, put together puzzles, and watch movies. Two of their children, Lauren and Ryan, access Lifeworks Fiscal Services (FMS) for processing Consumer Directed
Community Supports (CDCS) – authorized funding that covers staffing, goods, and services for families who want to manage their own care.

Lauren has an incredible memory; she can recite moments from movies with perfection, even matching inflections and accents. She loves old films (her favorite being, Gone with the Wind) and invests time in building her acting and singing skills. Each week, Lauren has a music class and a three-hour drama class where she creates one-person plays that are presented to her family and friends and sometimes at local nursing homes. To limit in-person contact during COVID-19, Lauren is working on recording vignettes from the show I Love Lucy on Zoom and emailing them to people.

Mother and daughter standing outside

Lucky for Lauren, her brother Ryan, the family chef, makes her lunch each day. He enjoys spending time in the garden and searching for new recipes to try out. Ryan is also a go-getter. Since high school, he has always had a job – which has helped him not only grow his skillset, but has also given him the means to afford the latest trends, whether that be beard oils or the newest beverage.

Cynthia, Lauren and Ryan’s mother, was on the planning committee for implementing CDCS in Dakota County, making her family one of the first to receive this type of support in 2004. They learned about Lifeworks more than a decade ago and over the years have formed a strong, trusting partnership with their Lifeworks Fiscal Service Coordinator, Cindy Mooers. Cynthia reflects, “Cindy has held our hand through times of transition and helped us get everything done. There is no way that I could have ever done that on my own.”

CDCS has given Cynthia the flexibility to truly focus on her children. She, along with her husband, Cyrus, older daughters, and stepson can assist Lauren and Ryan as paid staff. She shares,

If we didn’t have this support, I’d have to find someone else to take care of my kids. I’m so grateful. It has allowed me to really be here for them. I am giving my children the life they want to live – and that’s because it has freed up my time.”

Lifeworks has given the Saari/Kashef family a peace of mind. Cynthia notes, “I’m no longer panicked when I receive a letter from the county. Lifeworks has always been super willing to sit down and figure it out with me. They dig deep, which has helped us build the relationship we have with them. I trust Lifeworks and because of them, we’re in a good spot.”