By Kenneth Books
Transitioning to an assisted living facility can be traumatic, an onerous chore that no one really wants to undertake. It can be expensive, time-consuming and, sometimes, dangerous.
But where to turn for advice, help and protection?
“We help steer our clients to resources to help pay for assisted living,” said Cynthia Gilley, 57, a Senior Care Consultant with CarePatrol, an organization with some 150 outlets around the country, serving more than 20,000 communities. It was founded in 1993 by a social worker who observed the personal trauma experienced by a family whose loved one had been placed in the wrong type of facility. “I’ve been in the field caring for people pretty much most of my career,” she said. She has spent 35 years in caring for people, mainly older adults and those with cognitive difficulties, last two of which were spent working for CarePatrol.
Gilley’s compassion is home-grown. Her father suffered with Alzheimer’s Disease for 13 years before dying, and caring for him was an ordeal for all concerned.
CarePatrol not only finds financing for those destined for assisted living, it helps find facilities, as well as home health care, for its clients. And the service is completely free for the client. “We have contacts within the community which pay for the service,” the Fort Walton Beach native said. “We’ve contracted with probably 95 percent of the communities. They see this as a benefit to them.”
Gilley said she “tours clients around like a Realtor. We evaluate a facility’s violations, which can include lack of maintenance, state regulation violations, insufficient staff, medical errors, abuse and neglect.”
Among the criteria Gilley examines in order to serve her clients are location (“They want to be close to family”), finances and the needs of the client. Not all facilities can handle certain medical issues, she said. And, if a client wishes to remain in his home, she finds resources to provide whatever help he needs to retain a reasonable quality of life.
“The hardest thing is trying to find affordable memory care,” she said. “There’s a huge lack in that area.”
Gilley has a passion for her work and her company. “I can’t think of anything I don’t like,” she said. “My boss is great, my co-workers are wonderful. They share a common passion with me. There’s a cohesiveness.”
The most interesting aspect of her job, Gilley said, is “being able to place Alzheimer’s clients. Alzheimer’s is my passion because of my father having it. I know how hard it is on the families.”
To reach CarePatrol, call (850) 898-1401 or email email@example.com.