By Brenda Deschner, Certified Concierge Care Advisor

I often talk about my client’s needs, wants, and desires.  All while helping them figure that out.  Since it is November and many of us begin thinking about all we are grateful for, I decided to reverse the roles a little and explain why I love what I do.

Nine years ago, on the evening before Thanksgiving, I received a call from Pennsylvania. My mother was being rushed to the hospital and I needed to get there as soon as possible. They suspected a major stroke and didn’t expect her to make it.  I called back hours later with my flight information.  One hour before my flight I got another call.  They told me that my mother’s situation had changed and that when I arrive, there will be a panel of seven Doctors waiting to meet with me.  I was told that my mother was in End Stage Metastatic Lung Cancer and that they projected a two week life expectancy.  I was informed that her brain tumor was causing the stroke-like symptoms.  They went on to tell me that while I’m traveling, I should think about where I want her to do her hospice.

At this time I did not work in the Senior Industry.  My mother wasn’t even a senior; she was 64 and not old enough to get on Medicare.  She had no savings and all I knew was that hospice was for when you are passing away.  I was overwhelmed, scared and exhausted by the time I arrived.  She had no living will, no money saved, and I had no clue what to do. Was I supposed to sign a DNR?  What is a good nursing home?  I didn’t know about Adult Family Homes then.  It was almost surreal.  How was I supposed to make decisions when I knew nothing, or only knew what my friends and families had experienced?

This is exactly why I love what I do now.  Every time I meet a family that needs my help, I remember how panicked I was and how I wished someone could help me.  I didn’t want to make a wrong decision.

I have six very packed years of experience in the Senior Industry now.  I look forward to being the person who walks in and helps put your worries about what to do to rest.  It’s an emotional time and I love being an advocate through the entire process. I’m usually the woman who helps families figure out their needs and what they can afford.  I help them find a safe home where their loved one will not be asked to leave for financial reasons, and I give them resources.  Then poof, just like that I’m forgotten.  It’s ok, it’s part of my role in their lives!

Every now and then I work with a family for a longer period of time.  I get “adopted” so to speak.  I receive updates from the family, thank you’s, and at times, I am even invited to funeral services when they pass.

I’m so grateful for my client’s trusting me with their loved ones and for the kindness shown during the most trying times.  Mostly I’m grateful that they are helping me heal too.  It still helps me through the holidays, when I can help someone else.