Living Our Mission for More than 70 Years

Change Text Size

(513) 868-3210
Office Number

(888) 597-2751
Toll Free Number

Author: Elizabeth Kelley

Karen’s Success

Throughout his long battle with cancer, Grace cared for her husband; taking him to appointments, ensuring he took his medication and arranging for anything else he needed. When he passed away on Valentine’s Day, just days before their wedding anniversary, Grace and her family became more aware of the need to coordinate services to manage her own health issues. Her daughter Karen and Karen’s four siblings knew that they would soon need additional help and a fresh perspective.

Grace reluctantly agreed to move in with Karen’s brother. Karen and her siblings thought this would work best for their mom because her brother does not have children to care for. However, after being told she could no longer drive herself, Grace became increasingly anxious about losing her independence. Already depressed with the recent death of her husband, Grace isolated herself in her room and would not spend time with her family. Karen turned to a new workplace resource, LifeSpan’s Life Coach, Sonja.

Having read emails introducing Sonja as the Life Coach for thyssenkrupp Bilstein and hearing from her coworkers who themselves had seen Sonja, Karen reached out for some possible solutions.  Sonja was able to provide Karen with resources to install handrails in her brother’s home and to set up a companion to check in with and spend time with Grace.

“One of the best things was her help in arranging medical transportation.  We were having a lot of trouble between all of us getting Mom to her dialysis treatments,” said Karen.

With Sonja’s guidance, Karen and her siblings now have reliable transportation to every dialysis treatment.  They also trade days picking Grace up from treatments to help her socialize and not be isolated.

Together, they decided to move Grace to one of the sister’s homes so that she could interact with her grandchildren and not be as isolated.  Sonja again gave Karen information for installation of handrails for her sister’s house. With her continuous improvements, Karen’s siblings felt comfortable allowing Grace to drive to her cardiac rehab appointments.

“Sonja was warm and welcoming.  I felt an immediate connection with her,” explained Karen.

Sonja provided all the necessary resources, the correct contact person, and established a realistic plan for Karen and her siblings to utilize.  Even with a family full of those working in the medical field (nurses, firefighter/EMTs, paramedics, a soon-to-be flight nurse); their need for Sonja’s resources shows how crucial it is to know the right person with the right information.



LifeSpan’s Life Coaches help employees overcome the obstacles that are getting in the way of personal goals; helping them become the best employees they can.  The Life Coach brings practical tools to elevate productivity and satisfaction among employees.

*Names may have been changed to protect the identity of our clients and their families.

Elizabeth Kelley

Phone: (513) 868-3210
Toll-Free: (888) 597-2751

Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities

The mission of the Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities is supporting people with disabilities and their families to achieve what is important to them. At Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities, we believe the future is now.

LifeSpan enjoys a great synergy while working with the Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities (WCBDD). Both our Representative Payee and Guardianship programs have a large number of mutual clients with WCBDD. Their support of their clients and their continued coordination of care with our mutual clients gives all clients a great wrap-around service to support them in their efforts to thrive in life and in their communities.

Our Representative Payee and Guardianship programs meet quarterly at the WCBDD offices in Lebanon to review any client concerns and keep each other updated and current on events concerning our two organizations. We truly appreciate the time and effort that WCBDD puts into seeing to the needs of each of their clients.

“Our partnership with LifeSpan was been tremendous over the years. LifeSpan staff are supportive and committed to Warren County residents. They assist in different capacities that are important to each person which is their greatest strength and contribution.” -Tony Hidy, Service and Support Administration Director, WCBDD

The Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities provides services and supports to more than 1,800 people in Warren County who have developmental disabilities. The Board employs 130 people in full- and part-time positions.


LifeSpan’s Representative Payees provide financial peace of mind for hundreds of clients in the state of Ohio, regardless of their county of residence. Clients live a more stable and worry-free life with all their bills prioritized and paid on time for them, and money is budgeted and issued to the client each week for their personal spending.

LifeSpan Guardians are court appointed by the Probate Court and have a dramatic impact on the quality of life of our community’s most vulnerable residents who have no family member able or willing to look out for them. In addition to the LifeSpan’s staff Guardians, trained volunteer guardians play a critical role in the success of this program. Every year the need grows for more compassionate, committed volunteer guardians.

VOCA Grant

Serving Older Victims of Crime: Caring, Compassion, and Support

HAMILTON, OH (November 8, 2018) – LifeSpan is honored to announce they were recently awarded funding through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) administered by the State Attorney General office. Of the total awards announced, $108.4 million is from VOCA grant funding awarded to Ohio from the U.S. Department of Justice. VOCA funding will allow LifeSpan to expand its services to include a full-time Victim Advocate Program Supervisor/Advocate and Volunteer Coordinator/Trainer as well as newly recruited volunteer advocates. Our advocates will serve as a link between the victim and the necessary supports they need in order to respond to special circumstances.

One of the largest barriers for older adult victims is under reporting of the abuse. One study estimates that only one in fourteen cases comes to the attention of authorities. Elder abuse is a crime in every state including Ohio. Comprehensive research estimates the prevalence of elder abuse to be approximately 10% of the population which could impact up to 55,000 people in Butler County. Yet older adults do not always define or recognize elder abuse behaviors as criminal. Older adults typically tend to avoid the criminal justice system including law enforcement, court, and attorneys in general and prosecution in particular. There are many theories as to why older adults don’t report including not knowing who to ask for help, fear of getting their abuser in trouble, fear of retaliation, of losing their independence or being forced into placement; or embarrassment and shame.

The Butler County Elder Safety Network interdisciplinary collaborative saw a need for a community based victim advocate and encouraged LifeSpan, who has been part of the network for years, to apply for the funding. “LifeSpan has continuously been recognized as a leader in the field of elder advocacy and is uniquely poised and excited to be expanding our senior service role and expertise in Butler County,” said Katie Furniss, LifeSpan’s Elderly Services Program Manager. ”Our advocates will help, support, defend and promote adult victims’ rights and wellbeing,” said Furniss. The community victim advocate will assist victims outside of the court including crisis intervention, collaboration with law enforcement, conducting home visits, and accompaniment to different appointments. The gaps made by the current systems in place will be filled to ensure that older adult victims of crime have the support they need.

“I am pleased to provide this grant to support LifeSpan’s efforts to help victims of elder abuse,” Ohio Attorney General and Governor-Elect Mike DeWine said. “Elder abuse is a serious problem, and having dedicated advocates to assist older victims will help ensure that victims receive the care and services they need.”

In order to further expand its capacity to reach as many victims as possible, LifeSpan will establish a volunteer program for additional Victim’s Advocates. This program will include volunteer training and continuous support by LifeSpan staff. If you would like to learn more about becoming a Volunteer Victims’ Advocate, contact Joyce Kachelries, COO for LifeSpan at (513) 868-3210 or email us at

About LifeSpan
LifeSpan, founded in 1945, serves clients of southwest Ohio by offering innovative, cost-effective programs for individuals, families, groups, and schools. LifeSpan’s programs include Elderly Services Program, Coaching and Financial Wellness, School Based Support Services, Guardianship, and Representative Payee. To learn more, visit

Lisa Frye Becomes National Master Guardian

Lisa Frye of LifeSpan Earns National Master Guardian Certification

HAMILTON, OH (November 2, 2018) – Lisa Frye recently became a National Master Guardian, one of only 70 nationwide, through the Center for Guardianship Certification an allied foundation of the National Guardianship Association. Frye has been with LifeSpan for seven years and has been the manager of the Guardianship program for six. She has been a National Certified Guardian for six years prior to becoming a Master Guardian.

“From day one, Lisa has continually worked to hone her skills as a guardian and leader in her field,” Joyce Kachelries, LifeSpan’s chief operating officer said. “She has become known as an expert in her profession; fielding calls both locally and nationally seeking assistance regarding guardianship issues or even starting a program. We are privileged to have her on LifeSpan’s team.”

Frye serves as Secretary on the Ohio Association for Guardianship Board and has served as Conference Chair for their annual conference. She was also one of six finalists in the Community Outreach category for the 2018 Cincinnati Business Courier Health Care Heroes Award; was a 2017 Community Recognition honoree for the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities; and received the 2016 Excellence in Leadership award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Frye said, “Continuing to provide ongoing support to persons under guardianship remains a top priority for our entire team. Becoming a Master Guardian along with continuing education in guardianship matters at the state and national level is essential for continuous quality improvement of the LifeSpan program. The advocacy and support given with ongoing follow-up demonstrates the strength of the program. It is an honor to provide the work we do each and every day.”

As Guardianship Manager, Frye oversees the staff team of eight. She organizes and leads all the activities of LifeSpan’s Guardianship program including overseeing the budget, policies, and procedures regarding service delivery and program requirements including an active volunteer program.

This certification is designed to identify those individuals who are involved in guardianship issues, who meet enhanced qualifications, and who have the sufficient level of knowledge and experience in guardianship services to be identified to the public as a National Master Guardian (NMG). Applicants must have at least five years of practice as a Guardian and must pass a two-day test graded by committee, one multiple choice and one all narratives.


About LifeSpan

LifeSpan, founded in 1945, serves clients of southwest Ohio by offering innovative, cost-effective programs for individuals, families, groups and schools.

LifeSpan’s Guardians work with both the Butler and Warren County Probate Courts to bring stability, safety, and companionship to hundreds of area residents. Both staff and volunteer Guardians are appointed by the Probate Court to make decisions for their clients relating to health care, living arrangements, or safety issues. Clients are individuals who need assistance in decision-making and advocacy based on limitations that impair their ability to make competent decisions. Visit or call 513-868-3210 for additional information.

Peg Smith Becomes Certified Information and Referral Specialist

Peg Smith of LifeSpan Becomes a Certified Information and Referral Specialist in Aging and Disability

HAMILTON, OH (July 19, 2018) – Peg Smith recently became a Certified Information and Referral Specialist in Aging and Disability through the global Alliance of Information and Referral Systems. Smith has been an Intake and Referral Specialist with LifeSpan since May 2016. She also has her Master’s degree in Social Work.

“I am very proud of Peg and all of her accomplishments. This achievement is another reason why Peg is an amazing asset to our agency and the individuals she serves,” Dan Barron, Elderly Services Program Supervisor said.

As an Intake and Referral Specialist for LifeSpan, Smith responds to requests for resources and information by providing comprehensive information to callers on supports and services available to meet their needs. She conducts initial assessments for callers interested in enrolling in the Butler County Elderly Services Program. In addition to Smith’s regular responsibilities, she also responds to questions and requests received through Live Chat (LifeSpan’s newest website feature) and serves as LifeSpan’s representative on the Butler County No Wrong Door Committee.

Smith said, “My goal is to improve service to our clients, their families, and our community by providing even more appropriate community referrals and improving my understanding of how to best help with their needs. I am very pleased to further represent LifeSpan by successfully obtaining this certification.”

The certification is designed for those who work directly with clients and caregivers within the aging and/or disabilities area and perform the same range of skills and tasks as a comprehensive Information and Referral Specialist but who also have a special depth of knowledge related to their core client group. Applicants must have at least one year of employment in Information and Referral (with a Bachelors or higher degree) and pass a 100-question timed exam.

About LifeSpan

LifeSpan, founded in 1945, serves clients from southwest Ohio by offering innovative, cost-effective programs for individuals, families, groups and schools. LifeSpan’s programs include Elderly Services Program, Coaching and Financial Wellness (formerly Financial Counseling and Education), School Based Support Services, Guardianship, and Representative Payee.

LifeSpan Launches New Partnership with thyssenkrupp Bilstein

LifeSpan Launches New Partnership with thyssenkrupp Bilstein

HAMILTON, OH (June 29, 2018) – LifeSpan has launched a unique partnership with thyssenkrupp Bilstein designed to provide onsite professional assistance to employees who may be experiencing obstacles preventing the achievement of personal or career goals. LifeSpan created the Life Coach position in response to the growing need expressed by employers to provide holistic wellness as a benefit to employees. LifeSpan’s Life Coach, Sonja Cheatham, is a mental health and community resource professional. She will provide confidential, personalized, ongoing support to all thyssenkrupp Bilstein employees 5 days of the week.

For many, stress caused by family and/or unexpected life issues reduces work productivity, increases absenteeism, and impacts a person’s general health. LifeSpan’s Life Coaches will be a resource for employees to help them create solutions to everyday challenges, problem solve significant life matters, create realistic, meaningful action plans, and connect employees to community resources. “Cheatham is going to connect employees to available resources within the community and work on eliminating obstacles by exploring conflicts and strategies, and building confidence,” said Joyce Kachelries, LifeSpan chief operating officer.

“I am excited about this partnership,” said Bill Staler, LifeSpan chief executive officer. “I have often said that as a community, we have a number of resources available for job training and readiness but we have almost no resources for job retention. thyssenkrupp Bilstein is to be congratulated for recognizing that problems do not end once you start a job and that it is to everyone’s benefit to help employees address their personal problems so they can remain productive.”

“Our people are what make thyssenkrupp Bilstein so special, and this is one more way that we can support them both inside and outside of work,” said Lindsey Stanfill, Human Resources Manager with thyssenkrupp Bilstein. “We are grateful to LifeSpan and the United Way for helping us bring this program to life. Having an on-site resource for our employees will help connect them with the community resources and solutions they need when an everyday challenge or immediate crisis arises.”

Cheatham has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Ohio University as well as a Masters in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Cincinnati. Her 20+ years of experience with social services has spanned mental health case management, to elderly services to social services for underprivileged children. “I am committed to and believe strongly in making sure that all people are treated fairly and guided in a non-judgmental manner,” said Cheatham.

The Life Coach position is part of a collaboration between LifeSpan, the Cincinnati United Way Childhood Poverty Initiative, the Butler County United Way, and thyssenkrupp Bilstein. The onsite Life Coach concept is an innovative approach to solving external challenges that may impact employment, thus creating a more stable home environment for families and strengthening the fabric of our community.

About LifeSpan

LifeSpan, founded in 1945, serves clients from southwest Ohio by offering innovative, cost-effective programs for individuals, families, groups and schools. LifeSpan’s programs include Elderly Services Program, Coaching and Financial Wellness (formerly Financial Counseling and Education), School Based Support Services, Guardianship, and Representative Payee.