Bridging the Elder Care Gap

By Robin Lacrimosa

I’ve worked for decades in the senior care industry in Georgia. I got my start in the early 1990s when I hired on as an activity assistant in a memory care unit right after graduating from college. I fell in love with the work and haven’t looked back. Since then, I’ve made a career in the elder care field. I led organizations charged with administering federal grants that fund services for older adults. I worked as a patient affairs coordinator for a local hospital. I served as the director of adult daycare centers.

I’ve spent years observing the elder care industry from different perspectives, yet I always felt like something was missing. Elder care in our culture may seem like a “system,” but I see it as more like a patchwork of solutions that don’t necessarily fit together easily. As a result, there are many gaps. I’ve never felt entirely comfortable about those gaps.

After decades working with older adults, I can say without hesitation that older adults are an underserved population that nobody thinks about. Here are these older adults who have worked their whole life to basically make our world what it is, good and bad, and then they're completely forgotten. I saw the effects of this every day. It was such a privilege getting to know the older adults I had the opportunity to meet. They were cool, wise people with such interesting life experiences. Yes, I was helping them, but they were also helping me. I was learning from them during every interaction. It hurt my heart that these people were so overlooked, yet so deserving of care. I wanted to help them, yet I knew that my efforts were just one part of that patchwork solution.

I saw the effects every day. Older adults would come in the emergency room after some sort of health event, and their family caregivers would look to me for guidance. When I worked at the adult day center, I would get calls from frantic wives, husbands, sons, and daughters—all looking for answers to questions they didn’t know to ask. Something had just happened to their elderly loved one and they had no idea what to do. Most were completely overwhelmed.

Many of these older adults were already in crisis, meaning that they couldn’t return home from the hospital or rehab center. Where would they live? How would they pay for long-term care? Families had so many questions, yet there was no FAQ line, no single place where they could get all their questions answered. I saw the frustration and desperation on their faces every day.

Elder care is so much harder than it has to be. Some people fall through the cracks.

When I heard about Life Care Planning and the opening for a Life Care Coordinator at an elder law firm in my city, I was instantly intrigued. Could this be the missing piece in the elder care puzzle? After just one conversation with William H. (Kim) Kimbrough, Jr., the firm’s founder, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

One thing he said really resonated with me. “I wanted to do Life Care Planning because I got tired of telling people I couldn’t help them,” I remember him saying. I found myself nodding in agreement. I felt the same way. Thankfully, Life Care Planning Law Firms are configured so that folks can come to one place and have everything done at one time.

When I became a Life Care Coordinator, I knew I was on to something. Life Care Planning bridges all the gaps I’ve seen in America’s elder care system. It addresses all those unmet needs I’ve seen over the years in a way that nothing else does. That’s why I jumped right in. And I haven’t looked back.

Robin Lacrimosa is a Life Care Coordinator at Kimbrough Law, a Life Care Planning Law Firm with offices in Athens and Gainesville, Georgia.