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What It Means to Be an Advocate

Darleen is in her early 80s, and like many her age, the passage of time has started to take its toll. While mentally as sharp as ever, Darleen’s frailties have made it difficult to do some of the tasks she had never previously thought about. As Darleen has aged, the house she and her husband raised a family in has aged with her. Fred, her husband, passed years ago, and with his passing has gone the handyman Darleen relied upon to keep the house in “ship shape,” as she often put it when recalling the time and attention Fred put into their home. Now alone, Darleen’s son and daughter worry about their mother, but work and their own families have taken them away from the home they grew up in.

Darleen’s daughter is often worried about her mother. How was she getting to doctor appointments? Was she eating well? Was the home safe? Was she happy? Being halfway across the country, all she ever heard from her mother was “everything’s fine” when they spoke by phone several times each week.

Darleen’s situation is not uncommon. Fortunately, for Darleen and her family, Darleen has an IKOR Advocate watching out for her. Her IKOR Advocate makes sure not only are her needs met, but her wishes and preferences are honored. For Darleen, aging in place is of the utmost importance. With the help of IKOR, our Registered Nurse Advocate is helping to ensure Darleen can age safely in place. We started with a visit to see Darleen in her home and assess her physical and cognitive capabilities. Following the assessment, the IKOR Managing Director presented Darleen and her family with recommendations designed to ensure she could continue to live safely and comfortably at home.

During the assessment, it was discovered Darleen isn’t always the most prompt at paying her bills. “I’ve got better things to do,” Darleen said. One of our recommendations was to use IKOR’s simple bill pay service. Darleen was happy not to have to worry about her bills, and her family had peace of mind knowing the lights wouldn’t be turned off on their mother. From simple bill pay to helping coordinate home repairs and yard maintenance, Darleen’s Personal Needs Coordinator has made sure her finances are in order and the home remains in “ship shape,” just the way Fred would have done.

An Advocate is a special person. They are intensely focused on achieving the best outcomes for their clients. An advocate has a deep network of professionals and can connect their client to the resources they need to live a happy and fulfilled life. IKOR Advocates have received special training and take time to get to know each client. During a visit to Darleen’s home, Stacy, an IKOR Advocate, learned that Darleen loved to quilt but had quit attending her quilting group a few months ago because she no longer felt safe driving that long distance. Working with a carefully screened in-home care company, Stacy arranged weekly transportation so Darleen could once again spend time with her friends and quilt.

For us, advocacy is about giving a voice to those who might not want to speak up for themselves because they don’t want to be a burden to their family. It is about making sure those who are vulnerable are protected. Advocacy is about listening closely and discovering the subtleties in our clients’ lives to ensure that every day is the best day it can be no matter what challenges our clients are facing. Advocacy is about using our deep knowledge and expertise gained over a lifetime of experience to improve the lives of our clients.

At IKOR, advocacy is what we do and is central to our identity. We invite you to contact your local IKOR office today to learn how IKOR Advocates can help you.