Making the Move

As I was sifting through my stack of interesting articles and newspaper clippings, I came across one from June 2014 in the Knoxville News Sentinel. It was written by Michelle Singletary discussing the difficult choices she faced with her aging mother. Both Michelle and her sister lived away from their mother who had suffered from a stroke, and they wanted her to come live with one of them. Though her mother realized that she needed help, she refused to leave her home, and independence.

I see this so often as an Elder Advocate. Families see that their aging loved one is struggling to live alone, and fear for their safety, while that loved one fights to stay in the home that they know. To move, or not to move?  That is, many times, one of the most difficult decisions a caregiver/ family must make.

How do you initiate the “moving” conversation?

  1. I believe that it is important to put yourself in “their shoes”. Remember that they are not children. They were once completely independent, and have taken care of themselves for years. It would be difficult for most anyone to give up that independence no matter the situation. It is also important to consider the environment changes that you are asking them to make. How difficult would it be to live in a home for years, by yourself, and then move to a facility, surrounded by people you don’t know, possibly sharing a room with someon? Try to understand how this might make them feel.
  2. Be prepared. You must have an idea of your loved one’s needs and options surrounding those needs. If you are considering an assisted living, indipendent living, or skilled nursing facility, take a tour of those facilities. Know what services they offer, and have an understanding of their pricing scale. If you are considering moving them in with you, or another family member, know what home caregiver agencies are available.
  3. Don’t do it alone. It is always a good idea to have someone act as a “mediator” to insure that both parties are able to hear and understand one another. Be careful to chose someone who will be objective, so that neither party feels that they are being “ganged up on”.

While this is a difficult conversation to have with our aging loved one, it is important. Don’t wait for something extreme to happen before you take action.

Leave a Comment January 26, 2015

Elder Advocates Can Assist You!

Trying to navigate the healthcare system and end of life planning can be very complicated to most individuals. As we and/or our loved ones age, we are thrown into this sea of situations that we have never dealt with before. Elder Advocates, Inc. was formed to provide trained experts in the field of elder care to help families determine the best course of action, and then guide the family to the extent that they desire. While many families may only have one or two issues that they need guidance with, other families have need of a more long term relationship. In this type of situation an Elder Advocates team member becomes, almost, a part of the family. This is the case with the Lewis/ Walker family.


Carolyn Pointer Neil, Owner/ Advocate, met the Lewis family a couple of years ago when she moved into the house across the street. When she noticed that the newspapers were piling up in the driveway, she knew that something was wrong. “She took action and got the neighbors together to help.” Stated Barbara Lewis Walker (Sister) “I don’t know what we would have done without her. She is like an extended daughter.” Carolyn assisted the family in facility placement, connecting them to legal and financial groups, end of life/ funeral planning, and continues to help them with estate resolution.

When I asked Mrs. Walker how she felt about Elder Advocates and the services that they had provided for her and her family, she stated, “I couldn’t have survived without them.” She expressed how that this company was so needful. “I would recommend them to anyone who is going through this. Carolyn has been indispensable to me.”

Taking care of loved ones should not become a burden. Families should be able to enjoy their time together and not have to worry about “What comes next?” Elder Advocates can help to take the stress and frustration off of your shoulders, allowing you to relish the time that you have with your loved ones.


Barbara Lewis Walker and Carolyn Pointer Neil


Mindy Cox

Leave a Comment April 23, 2014

Depression and the Elderly

Depression is a very common occurance in the elderly population. As we age, we face many changes in our lives, such as, retirement, medical problems, death of loved ones, and health issues, just to name a few. There are many signs and symptoms of depression. These signs include saddness, weight loss, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and withdrawing from the world around you. While some may experience all of these symptoms, others may only experience two or three of them. No one is immune to becoming depressed, and I dare to say, that most of us will experience symptoms of depression at some point in time. That is just part of being human. However, that doesn’t mean that we should just give up. Depression can be treated with exercise, socialization, and learning to balance your life. If you are unable to do these things on your own, it’s ok to ask for someone’s help, whether it be a friend, family mamber, or a doctor.  Family and friends, pay attention to your loved ones. Have you seen a change in their behavior or routine? They May not want or be willing to recognize that there is an issue. Some things that you can do to help include, talking about it, planning activities, encouragement, and making sure that medications are taken as directed, if needed. Depression does not have to take over our lives. You can help make a difference in the life of your elderly loved ones.

1 Comment March 11, 2014

The things we don’t want to discuss….

It’s time to have that dreaded conversation with your aging loved ones.

Continue Leave a Comment January 14, 2014

The things we don’t want to discuss…..

Leave a Comment January 14, 2014

Traveling with loved ones who have Dementia.

It can be very difficult to travel with loved ones who have dementia, whether it’s just to a doctor’s appointment or taking a trip out of town. Those who have dementia need familiarity. A change in routine and environment can cause them great distress.

Alzheimer’s Tennessee has posted a very informative article:

“Travel Guidelines for People with Memory Disorder”

Admitting that your mom, dad, husband, or wife just can’t “do” or “go” like they used to is one of the most difficult things we face in life. We have always seen them as being strong individuals, and to see them age and become more dependent is extremely difficult.

At Elder Advocates and the Center for Memory Management, we have an extremely knowledgible staff who specialize in dementia and other memory disorders. We are here to answer your questions and guide you through the decision making process. We can help you with facility placement, insurance questions, clinical treatment, etc. We would like to take the stress and worry out of taking care of your loved one so that you can enjoy your time together.

Leave a Comment January 2, 2014

Medicare Information Seminar

At Elder Advocates and the Center for Memory Management, we are constantly receiving questions regarding Medicare. Questions such as, How do I sign up?, What should I sign up for?, What plan would be best for me?. We turn 65 and are thrown into this maze of options and have no idea which direction to go. This is the time in our life when we should be able to slow down and relax. Instead, we have to deal with the burden of switching to Medicare, and how to go about it.  On November 17, 2013 Carolyn P. Neil, President of Elder Advocates, held a free Medicare Information Seminar. In this seminar she explained the basics of Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D. She also answered questions and provided professional guidance to those in attendance. We received wonderful feedback about this Seminar, and hope to provide the public with similar seminars in the future.

Leave a Comment December 19, 2013

Elder advocates’ Neil shares story of mother’s organ donation

I recently lost my mother, unexpectedly. While I am relieved to know that she died peacefully and apparently without pain or suffering, the sudden loss is devastating. I am a nurse. I deal with death often. I deal with illness, dementia, and almost every situation you might imagine as a professional. Now, the loss is mine. And my family’s. And my father’s, who was married to this beautiful person for 61 years. (more…)

3 Comments August 16, 2013

7 resources for individuals considering organ donation

The need for organ donors is urgent. While the modern miracle of organ transplants saves countless lives each year, the medical community faces an astounding shortage of donors each year. Because of this, over 100,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for organ donors each year. Over those, 6,000 die waiting for what would have been life-saving surgeries. (more…)

Leave a Comment August 16, 2013

Bobbye Lynn Watts Pointer obituary

On the evening of July 31, 2013, Bobbye passed away at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville after suffering complications from a fall in her home the day before. She was being comforted by her family at the time of her passing. Bobbye was 78 years old.

Continue 1 Comment August 16, 2013

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