An advocate is your helping hand.

Traditionally defined, an advocate is someone who speaks or acts on in support or defense of a person or cause. At Elder Advocates, the dignity and care of our aging family members is our cause. We work on behalf of families and caregivers who are not experts in the field of elder care.

When the time comes to determine the best course of action for an elderly relative, the healthcare system can be extremely daunting and confusing. We have years of experience and training in the field of elder care, as well as personal contacts with the many organizations and individuals available to assist the elderly.

The experience we have gained over the years can be your helping hand. We can discuss your options, help you outline a plan of action and recommend a comfortable timeline based on your specific needs. Our trained experts can support you through the health care maze, or help you navigate the decision process within your family. With every step, at every stage, we can help you through.

A team committed to caring.

Elder Advocates is a team of medically trained and certified experts with extensive experience in the field of elder care. We are committed to helping families and caregivers determine the best course of action for the care of aging loved ones. Our team can help navigate the complicated health care system and discover appropriate resources available. Because of our vast experience in this field, we have contacts with the many organizations and individuals available to assist the elderly. We can help you understand your options and guide you toward affordable solutions for your unique situation. We are compassionate, caring and dedicated to helping you and your loved one through the most difficult stages of life.

Our Mission
To celebrate people! To ensure that our customers have a clear understanding of their elderly loved one’s needs and are connected to the appropriate elder-care resources. To help our customers maneuver through our complex health care system and ease the burden of caring for an aging loved one.

Meet the Team

Carolyn Pointer Neil
Chief Executive Officer

Carolyn is a Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed Nursing Home Administrator (NHA) with 28 years of experience in leading health care teams and organizations.

Neil founded Elder Advocates to guide elders and their families/caregivers through the most difficult stages of life and help them successfully navigate our complex health care system. The company connects families to appropriate elder care resources and eases the burden of care for families of aging loved ones.

Read extended bio here

Mindy Cox

Mindy is a certified occupational therapist with an associate degree in business management. Her areas of elder care specialty include home safety and therapy. She has more than eight years of experience in home health and skilled nursing facilities.

Mindy is married to Timothy Cox, and the couple have a daughter, Ava. Mindy enjoys spending time with her family, church activities and singing. The Cox family resides in Maynardville.

Wanda Headrick

Wanda is a registered nurse certified as a Gerontological Nurse through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, as well as a licensed nursing home administrator. She has more than 25 years of experience in long-term care as a registered nurse manager and nursing home administrator. Her areas of specialty include gerontology, nursing home administration, dementia evaluation and environmental safety evaluation.

Wanda lives in West Knoxville and volunteers as a board member for the Director of Nurses Association and takes part in church activities and fundraising for Alzheimer’s Tennessee.

Sharon Jennings
Volunteer Assistant

Sharon attended Knoxville Business College and has more than 25 years of health care administrative experience. She worked as an administrative assistant at the University of Tennessee Medical Center and UT Home Health until her retirement in June 2013.

She and husband Richard live in Tazewell, and have a daughter, Andra, and a grandson, Andrew. She enjoys sports and spending time with her grandson.

Melissa Rickard

Melissa is a licensed practical nurse with 15 years of experience in geriatrics, long-term care management and short-term rehabilitation. She studied at Tennessee Technology Center at Knoxville and is a member of the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses.

Melissa is married to Douglas Rickard and lives in North Knoxville. An animal lover, she volunteers for Young-Williams Animal Center and also enjoys gardening, swimming and antique/distressed furniture.

Linda L. Smith

Linda is a certified assisted living administrator and certified Eden Associate. She specializes in elder care, specifically Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Linda has more than 30 years of experience working with elders in the Knoxville-area and surrounding counties. Her experience includes home health care administration, director of Senior Citizens Information & Referral Service, assisted living director and director of development for Tennessee Home Care and Assisted Living. Linda’s volunteer and board service includes Project Help, Senior Companions, Knox County Elder Watch, senior resource networks of Anderson, Blount and Knox counties and benefits for Alzheimer’s Tennessee.

Linda lives in North Knoxville and enjoys spending time with her daughters, Karen and Jennifer, and her three grandsons.

Board of Advisors

  • Eugene Pickett
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Preferred Partners

To see a list of our preferred partners, click here.