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I have been acquainted with Mrs. Debbie Gitner for several years.  Approximately 1 year ago I mentioned to Debbie’s husband that I was going down to Maryland to visit my Mother.  He asked me about her and I stated that she had been living independently for more than 40 years, having gone through a divorce and prolonged illness and death of her second husband.  I mentioned that my Mother, Julia, is still living on her own at the age of 85, doing all of her own food shopping, and managing her own financial affairs.  I discovered that Debbie was a partner in a company that professionally advises families concerning the needs of their elder relatives and that I might want to consult with her concerning my Mother.

Shortly thereafter, I went to Baltimore to visit my Mother.    When I reached down to pick up something in her kitchen I noticed that the tile floor was quite dirty.  I asked Mom how long it had been since the floor was cleaned and she stated that she did not remember.

After my return to Framingham, I called Debbie at Eldercare Resource Services and for the first time considered the possibility that things were not as had appeared with my Mother. Debbie advised me during that first consultation to get a Power of Attorney and put it away if it is not needed at the present time.  She told me that the changes that may result in an elderly parent’s inability to handle their own affairs or take care of themselves can occur quickly without warning and that it is important to be prepared.

That conversation took place approximately 1 year ago.  My Mother has now been in a nursing home for 3 months in Massachusetts.  During the twelve months between that first advice I received from Debbie Gitner of Eldercare Resource Services and today, my Mother has lost most of her short term memory, had to give up driving, is in constant pain from Arthritis, has no recollection of having lived the past 50 years in Baltimore, and remembers none of her friends. I also discovered that one of her neighbors embezzled more than $15,000 from her bank account.

My Mother is now safe and being well taken care of.  I owe this completely to Debbie Gitner and Eldercare Resource Services, who from that first conversation one year ago, has given me professional counseling on rules and regulations concerning nursing home eligibility, living wills, lawyers specializing in the rights and protection of senior citizens, Medicaid regulations, burial accounts, funeral preparations for the future, etc.

These are unpleasant subjects, things that most of us cannot even begin to imagine when it comes to our parents.  Afterall, we all know that our parents are alert, strong, self sufficient, and their role is to take care of us!  Whether you realize it or not, preparation for these inevitable times is most probably beyond your ability to handle without competent, caring, professional advice.  It is not about your intelligence or educational background.  When it comes to your parents, you will find that emotionally, these upcoming years will challenge your heads and your hearts.  My Mother would be in terrible shape and I would have a crisis on my hands today were it not for the advice of a professional Geriatric Care Manager.

I am extremely grateful to Eldercare Resource Services for their expertise and compassion and I would strongly and without reservation recommend Debbie and Linda to anyone planning for the future welfare of aging relatives.

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Last modified: 09/28/08