In the spring of 2000, my dad underwent lung reduction surgery to remove half of a severely diseased lung from emphysema. His $45,000 surgery wasn’t covered by insurance, and I became his advocate, and one of his caregivers. My mom was his main caregiver. In March 2003, my dad’s condition worsened, and my mom was exhausted and needed help. I had since relocated to Nevada with my family, and took a leave of absence from my job, temporarily left my children and husband to help care for my dad. When he was hospitalized, I remained at the hospital almost every day and night as his advocate. When it was obvious that he was dying, I researched hospice options. Three days after arriving at the hospice, he passed away. I helped plan the funeral service and put together his burial needs at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. I helped my mom pack her home, and move to Nevada to be close to me and my family.
Fast-forward a few years to sitting in a doctor’s office with my mom and hearing the news from her doctor that she had dementia. Even though I expected the diagnosis my worst fears were realized. I joined an Alzheimer support group and learned all that I could to help myself and others cope with the disease. After researching the Veteran’s Administration I discovered that she was covered for several programs that significantly saved her money. Nothing prepared me for the countless phone calls that she made during my work day, and how disrupted my life was trying to help her with doctor’s appointments, and her day to day needs, all while trying to juggle the needs of my family and work obligations. Ultimately I resigned from my full time management position to help her, and keep her safe. When it became obvious that she could no longer remain in her home, I researched many options and came up with an assisted living that met her needs.
Through the years I learned which rehab facilities worked best for her needs, which doctors worked well with seniors, and how to navigate the insurance maze, as well as how to choose hospice care.
The Senior Sage came about to help seniors and their families who lack the time or experience to navigate multiple support systems.
I shared what I knew with others in similar situations. In the process I found that a new passion was born – helping seniors and their families.