Our Thoughts

From Serving Iowa Elders for Over 20 Years


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Planning our Blog Topics Together: What do we know that would be worth your time?

We are writing this blog together riding in a car on I-80E returning to Des Moines, IA on a Saturday in January in 2015 discussing our ideas for our blogs. After 20 years of case managing many elders, some of who are still on our case load 20 years later, we think we have knowledge that we should share. Mary Alice has started some drafts on ethical issues and Pamela is thinking about various definitions of being a senior.

Why do we think we know anything? What makes our thoughts worth your time to read?

We think we do a pretty good job at what we do but most everyone thinks they do a good job. We hear our clients and their families tell us we do a good job but due to confidentiality we can’t give you specific names of our “happy customers.” We both have masters degrees in social work and have been working in the field of social work for over 20 years but many other social workers can state this. Our business, Elder Concerns, L.C. has been around for over 20 years but many businesses have longevity. We bend over backwards to give assist our clients in living well but again due to confidentiality we can’t give you details.

So what can we tell you to “prove our worth.” We think the above paragraph almost says it all. We are highly educated in our field our business has been around a long time doing the same type of work, we have worked specifically for over 20 yeas and we have successfully helped many elders and their families over this time. We are licensed in Iowa at the highest level for social workers and we continue to stay abreast on elder issues.

We frequently get phone calls from seniors and/or family asking, “What do you do?”
This is a difficult question to answer. Our working theory model of business is to listen to what our client wants, look at the situation (assessment), and then assist the client to sort out what’s important and how to make it happen.

But that still doesn’t give you any particulars. When our inquiring callers ask, “So what do you do? We say, “We do what the client needs.” “We think of ourselves as geriatric problem-solvers.” The caller then asks what problems do you solve? What client needs do you do address?

We really don’t intend to be evasive or frustrating. We tend to prefer to start a conversation of their specific situation and concerns.

So we will try in this blog to give examples of various activities that we have done over the years to help our clients. These activities do not limit us in anyway from carrying out different activities in the future for others.

We’ve done something different for every client we’ve had. The list of our possible job duties is as long as there are variations in our clients and their needs.

Now we believe you are thinking, “Quit the mumbo jumbo you two and give us readers specifics.”

We have:

*helped doctors listen to the patient
*coordinated moves
*arranged, transported and accompanied people to the Mayo Clinic, Creighton University Clinics, and the University of Iowa Clinics for second opinions
*relayed data between medical care providers
*facilitated the patient’s ability to comply with medical instructions
*set mousetraps
*explained and/or remind clients why they are doing what the doctor ordered
*helped clients understand their medical conditions
*helped clients understand their choices and options
*helped clients keep bills paid
*kept track of client’s appointments
*transported clients to routine appointments and contributed to the appointment discussion if needed
*helped clients send birthday cards to family and friends
*helped clients sort mail
*communicated with the client’s family with client’s permission.
*assisted clients in managing their businesses
*assisted clients in organizing investments
*assisted clients in describing symptoms and providing clues to medical providers in order to get the most accurate diagnosis
*planned funerals
*celebrated birthdays
*helped people plan and understand placement options
*helped hospital and nursing home patients understand their rights
*assisted clients in understanding their insurance benefits
*helped clients find medical providers

Some people request a formal assessment report. Whether we draft a report or not, our thought processes cover all the areas of a formal interdisciplinary assessment, including but not limited to:
*emotional health
*spiritual health
*environmental
*financial
*legal
*medical health
*physical health
*mental health
*family and social relationships
*activities of daily living
*general quality of life
*specific care needs

So, here we go…..attempting to share our experiences and ideas with you, our readers, in our upcoming blogs. Please feel free to comment, question, or disagree with our “wisdom.”

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An Introduction to Elder Concerns, L.C. Blogging Styles and Formats

As any reader will soon notice, Mary Alice and I (Pamela) have different opinions, writing styles, reading habits, and movie and television watching norms.  Our strengths and weaknesses are different and we feel that we work together and complement each other well.  Our likes and dislikes in the work environment are also very different.  All of these differences will show up as we begin to really put time and energy into this blog site.  Hopefully you as the reader will like seeing the differences between us and our unique perspectives on the world in which we live and how that impacts our lives as we grow older.  We enjoy working with each other and with the clients that we serve.  We also enjoy other activities in life and will share those enjoyments with you in these posts.  I also predict that you will be able to read about our disappointments in the services, systems, and opportunities available to seniors and how we hope that these negative aspects of being a senior can be changed for the better.  Stay tuned for our blogs as we hope to be informative, uplifting, and/or thought-provoking about life as a senior in Iowa.


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Elder Concerns, L.C. Presents elderinterests.wordpress.com

Elder Concerns, L.C. is a small, private, geriatric care agency located in Des Moines, IA which has provided master’s level social work case management of Iowa seniors for 20 years.  Elder Concerns, L.C. is owned an operated by a single individual, Mary Alice Butler, a master’s level licensed social worker who has dedicated the last 20 years of her life to making life better for Iowa seniors.  She also employs another master’s level social worker, Pamela Nelson-Grotrian who has worked with her approximately 16 years of the 20 years she has been operating Elder Concerns, L.C.

To celebrate our 20 years in business, we are attempting to utilize digital media to help seniors and their families navigate the myriad of needs, concerns, interests, and services that confront them for the first time in their lives.  Being a senior can be wonderful.  It can also, like any other life stage, be a bit overwhelming.  It is too bad that there is no road map to life’s questions.  We would all like to feel like we know where we are going throughout life.  But, needless to say, life is not that easily figured out.  Being an elder is the same as any other “stage” in life.  As you’ve never been there before, everything is new, nothing is familiar, and the choices either seem endless or appear as if you have entered a dead end street.  We at Elder Concerns, L.C. haven’t entered the stage of life called “elderly,” “senior,” or “aged” but we have traveled along the paths of some remarkable seniors in our 20 years of business serving the elderly and we would like to share our thoughts, feelings, knowledge, and insights with you.  We feel that we have much to share with today’s seniors, their friends, and their families and we hope that you, our readers, get some tidbit of knowledge or slice or wisdom (or just laugh at our screw-ups) from our experiences and opinions.

We are planning to have this blog contain many different types of articles.  We want to share concrete services that we know exist.  We want to share advice about searching for help and services for seniors.  We want to state that being a senior does not need to be all “concerns and worries” and as such will share ideas about activities and opportunities unique to elders.  We plan to share our favorite books and movies.  We plan to talk about opportunities for personal growth as a senior and how best to watch for scams of all types.  We are excited about this blog and hope that you become “interested” in elder topics and join us regularly.

We also want to say that this is our first time blogging online; that even as we are experienced working with seniors, this is the first time that we’ve ventured into web development.  We have a website that has remained static for years.  We plan to link this blog page to our website and begin to shape our website into something that reflects the current ability of computer media to talk about our business.  Thus, we hope that you forgive our technological blunders as we attempt to get our views to you.

For those interested in who we are and what our business is..our website is www.elderconcerns.com