health advocate By Jill Poser, Director of Life Care Planning
I began working with seniors back in 2008 when I chose to become certified as an ‘Aging-in-Place’ Specialist. I knew this was what I wanted as soon as I read about this certification. The theory was great. Help people remain in their homes safely and independently as long as possible. After all, most people want to remain in their homes and view it as staying in control of their own lives.

As Dorothy so aptly said, “There’s no place like home!” Only, wanting to stay at home is just a piece in the puzzle. It does not account for issues that may crop up along the way; increased health issues for one spouse, the other spouse serving as caregiver, the caregiver no longer able to care for the loved one, death of a spouse, homes that may not be senior-friendly, changing finances and children far away.

Sounds overwhelming? It truly can be.

The pervasive issue that I recognize throughout; the theme if you will, for people hoping to age in place, is that most of us live in what I call ‘Peter Pan’ houses. Our houses are designed and built for people who will never grow old. Beyond that, most of us cannot possibly imagine being sick, let alone unable to care for ourselves.

Let’s be real, most of us are mothers, fathers, have worked for years and shouldered many responsibilities. Of course we will be equipped to handle our affairs throughout. Often time health issues are the game changer and suddenly the day comes when it is just too much. You or your far away children realize that you need a guide, a supporter or defender. That’s right, an advocate!

What is an advocate, otherwise known as a care manager? Simply, it is a professional who assists us in our dealings with doctors, nurses, hospitals, dentists, other health care professionals and services along the way. With the increased cost and complexity of the medical care system, comes the increased need to be vigilant in ensuring that our health care needs are being met. Many of us, for a variety of reasons, need or want someone to help.

A care manager can serve that very important need; the keeper of the gate, if you will. He or she serves as a conduit between you and the health care system, and advocates on your behalf. Most often your care manager provides a sense of relief; you are no longer alone in dealing with significant issues.

Care managers provide research, referrals and reminders to clients or their loved ones in partnership with medical professionals. Most importantly, care managers care. It surely is not a sign of weakness that we may need help. In fact, hiring a care manager can be looked at as a gift we give ourselves or our loved ones. Sometime in our lives we are all entitled to need help and be helped.

Thanks for visiting Advocare of South Florida. Advocare helps families create and implement a plan of care to promote healthy aging or address illness in loved ones. We do this by Assessing the client, advising the family, and consistently advocating for optimal health and well being. Call us today to learn more about Home Care Management at 561-266-3489.