Esther obtained a bachelor's degree in science from the University of Toronto in 1986 and in Social Work from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) in 1990. She is a registered member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Esther worked as a hospital social worker in the Greater Toronto Area for over 12 years, primarily with the geriatric population. A significant portion of her work involved counselling senior clients, and their families, about the difficult task of relocating to care homes, and assisting them with the placement process. Out of her own need for information about private sector services for seniors, in 1997, Esther created The Comprehensive Guide to Retirement Living and a few years later, the affiliated website, www.senioropolis.com. The publication became well-known and was often referred to as The Little Red Book where users could find answers to any question they had about retirement living and many of the homes in Ontario. The book was updated and recreated annually for 23 years. With the transition to www.SeniorCareAccess.com a few years ago, the scope of what could be provided online far exceeded the annual publication, so the last book was produced in January 2020. In 2021, www.senioropolis.com evolved into a new type of information site – one containing blogs and feel-good stories contributed by those in the retirement living sector - and the housing information it previously held, transitioned completely to www.SeniorCareAcess.com.
Esther was a volunteer member of the Stakeholders Advisory Council (SAC) of Ontario’s Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority for 6 years beginning in the Fall of 2013. At the end of 2016, Esther was appointed Chair of SAC, a position she continued to hold through the end of 2019 when her term on the Council ended. Additionally, Esther is a past board director of The International Breastfeeding Centre in Toronto.
Esther shares her knowledge through article/blog contributions, media interviews, and lectures/workshops on 'Senior Living Options' and related topics at different venues including retirement homes, community agencies, and private organizations. Always an educator, she has been a social work student placement supervisor several times and has taught at the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies. Currently, Esther is a part-time faculty member at Seneca College where she teaches the course The Retirement Home Industry - Overview and Skills in the Social Service Worker Gerontology Program.
In 2019, Esther partnered with Paul Cutajar. With a shared vision of how to build on the unique services each of them offered the senior sector and those who work in it, they incorporated Lifestyle 55+ Network, Inc. and now offer a new level of service to professionals and consumers, through multiple unique platforms and programs.
Paul worked for 15 years as a REALTOR® and was the recipient of many top sales achievements. After acquiring the Accredited Senior Agent™ designation, Paul chose to focus his energies on working with seniors in transition and sought out opportunities to expand his knowledge and education, so he could specialize in working with, and consulting for, the older adult population. His quest for knowledge and specialist status led him to work on advanced education for the ASA™ brand, and to become Canada’s first MASTER Accredited Senior Agent™. Paul and his associates integrated many of the courses and programs relating to seniors in transitions into a business venture called Pivotal Aging Innovations Inc. This venture would see an inclusion of service programs and networking. Eventually, Paul obtained the program that ‘started it all’ and took over the provision of training at both the ASA™ and Master ASA™ levels under his brand and company.
With a focus on being person-centred, in addition to obtaining and offering the Accredited Senior Agent™/Master Training Programs to Canadian REALTORS®, Pivotal also provided an opportunity for other professionals to learn how to work with older adults; it developed the W.R.A.F.T. program (Wounds Restraints, Abuse, Falls, Training); and supported seniors with memory loss through, and trained consultants to use, The Ashby Memory Method™. Paul is instrumental in seeking out and partnering with resources that empower care providers and older adults.
2019 was a turning point for both Esther and Paul. They were finally able to connect and use their experiences to bring their unique business ideas and shared vision to life through the launch of their business, Lifestyle 55+ Network, Inc., and the www.SeniorCareAccess.com platform. In 2022 they advanced the ASA training into the Lifestyle 55+ Affiliate Program expanding the educational offering to any professional working with seniors.