Prior to becoming an eldercare professional I was in medical group administration for thirty-three years, twenty of those as the CEO of a large geriatric group.

The only certainty about life is that life is uncertain!


One minute we are safe, healthy and happy and possibly in the next instant we find ourselves thrown headfirst into complete chaos.


Life’s tragedies include terminal illness, the loss of a spouse, mother and/or father, mental illness, a severe accident resulting in total dependency, or finding yourself in isolation due to environmental or medical circumstances.


I realize I have two ways of looking at the chaos that has been part of my life. It can be seen as either as baggage or as a toolbox. I have selected the toolbox analogy.  I’ve been assembling this tremendous toolbox of knowledge over many years dealing with patients’ needs. I truly find helping others in need to be my calling.


I come from a very small family consisting of mother, father, and one sibling. Caring for my parents at the end of their lives was solely my responsibility.  Not an easy feat as my folks lived in Texas while I resided in Florida.  Making these critical decisions was made more difficult as my family did not speak to each other for over twenty-three years.


One day I got that dreaded call from my father announcing that he had stage four lung cancer and his physician told him to get his affairs in order.  When I arrived in Texas, I realized that my mother had end stage COPD and was on oxygen.  She also displayed evidence of suffering moderate to severe cognitive decline. Additionally, they had very limited finances.


I would eventually sit with my father while he took his last breath.  I then packed my mother’s limited belongings and moved her to Florida so I could provide for her.


No sooner had I moved my mother she then fell and broke her hip. She would require surgery and extensive rehab.  The physicians told me that I had to get her into an assisted living facility because she required help with the activities of daily living. Additionally, she was not able to deal effectively with her oxygen or daily medication management.


I am very familiar with hospitals, assisted living and nursing facilities as I dealt with them on a regular basis for our geriatric group patients.


I also had a dear friend in her early nineties who was like a mother to me.  One day she called crying that she had been scammed out of $50,000.00 by someone who had been threatening her by phone. She was so terribly embarrassed that she never wanted to tell me, but the loss

-2-


eliminated 25% of her savings so she knew she had to tell me.  My friend was geographically isolated from her family as they all lived in Canada and Europe. I reported the scam to the Florida Office of Inspector General. I then began looking at my friend’s legal documents.  She requested that I become her durable power of attorney for financial and economic affairs. I was already her medical durable power of attorney.  We then made an appointment with an eldercare attorney.


Later during a business dinner I attended with my CPA and tax attorney I would learn the United States may not honor a trustee from outside the US depending on that country’s reciprocity.  Well that was a very frightening thought to me as I my friend had selected her niece from British Columbia to be the trustee of her trust.  My friend then asked me to be her trustee. Unfortunately, I had a problem with that responsibility. Although I knew the niece very well, I did not know any of the other European family members and I knew absolutely nothing about their tax or trust laws.  My proposal was to keep the niece as a co-trustee and the Florida eldercare attorney as the other co-trustee. This solution worked out very well. Everyone was satisfied, and I knew my friend was going to have her final wishes delivered in a legally protected manner.


Every day I utilize this toolbox of experience with my clients. It has been and continues to be very rewarding!