Ever since I was very young, I was taught to 'respect my elders.' With this in mind throughout my life, I contemplated 'respect' and it's meaning. This word is what defines me.
As people age, ironically, respect for the person they are, may decline. Living independently, making good decisions, and planning can become increasingly difficult. As a Professional* Geriatric Care Manager, I listen to the client and guide them through the challenges. Oh, the client may be a family member who is worried about a loved one; a friend of an elder who is alone; a healthcare advocate, or any person seeking assistance.
While I will assist with a variety of 'challenges', I communicate particularly well with those struggling with dementia. I believe that even though a person cannot fully express their thoughts, there is a spirit within that understands a warm smile.
Another very important matter that will always be discussed is how a person wants their life 'played out'. Yes, I discuss that taboo topic of death. My experience has brought me to a strong belief that a person's wishes when facing a life threatening illness must be known and understood. I am certified as a POLST(Physician Ordered Life Sustaining Treatment) facilitator. This is the process in Illinois to discuss what a person's wishes are in the event of a health crisis. It is more than just, 'pull the plug.' It is critical that this discussion take place, although too often families are unable to have the discussion. That is when a professional is needed.
My goal is to provide peace of mind for all those I work with so at the end of the day, a crisis has been averted and the elder has been respected.
Elder Guide, LTD