Susan had been feeling increasingly overwhelmed lately. She was getting older and with no family to turn to, she felt like all the decisions regarding her care were solely on her. The nurse at her doctor’s office mentioned that she might like to talk to a geriatric care manager, but Susan wasn’t sure what would be involved. After a few days of debating, Susan decided to take the plunge and she reached out for help.
When I received her call, we chatted about how it is to be what we call a solo ager, those who have no family to help them age or make care decisions for them if needed. We set a time to meet at her home and we had a delightful visit. We discussed medical care needs, her thoughts on how she wanted to live her life, and even end-of-life planning. It was a lot to take in, but Susan said she felt better knowing that there was someone who could help manage things when needed.
I helped connect Susan with an elder law attorney who assisted her with the right planning documents to have in place to make sure that her wishes were met. The attorney was able to help her find someone trusted who could be her power of attorney in both medical and financial needs should she need someone to stand in for her for decision making. The documents outlined our name and contact information as she made it clear that she wanted a care manager to help the decision-maker to know the options available for care.
Susan wanted to make some healthy living changes so we discussed how she could do so in a safe way, and she was happy to be enjoying morning yoga and daily walks. She started walking in the local mall and met other seniors there who turned into good friends. The social aspects were part of the healthy routine. She would tell me about the breakfasts they would occasionally go to after walking and the fun they had sharing life stories. She really glowed when talking and I knew she was no longer lonely.
We worked together for several years. Susan did have to surrender some decision making to her power of attorney and they worked with us when she needed additional memory care. We were able to help her find a place to live that gave her quality of life and supported her as her cognitive functions changed. I visited her once a week and made sure that her care was high quality and I remained in conversation with the assisted living staff about her needs and wants.
It was an honor to help Susan manage her decisions and know that we carried out exactly what she wanted. I’m glad that we met her early in the process, so we had time to help her with her current and long-term plan of care.
If you’re aging alone and want to be sure that your needs and wants are met, please reach out, we are happy to help you determine those requirements and document them so your wishes are followed. I can be reached at Lily.Hotaling@AnswersforSeniorCare.com.