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Monday, December 31, 2012

Meet our December CSA Spotlight, Mack DeLeon

Everybody knows somebody with an inspiring story to tell. Eleven year CSA, Mac DeLeon, certainly fit the bill. The following is Mac’s 2011 nomination story for the Life Moving Forward - National Mobility Awareness Month award. The program was conceived by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association to recognize every day heroes to the mobility challenged.

Who is a hero caregiver? Is it a person who gives care or a person who really CARES and exhibits true compassion for the mobility-impaired, legally blind, or stroke-induced dementia victim? Mack DeLeon is all of this and more!

In January 2009, Mack’s mother Bea began dialysis three times a week. Kidney failure itself wouldn't have been an obstacle to overcome but Bea also suffered from neuropathy, which left her unable to walk. Plagued with congestive heart failure and diabetes she was required to undergo frequent testing. Mack was left with the task of arranging transportation to get his mother to and from the dialysis center. Prior to making these arrangements, Mack did everything he could to get his mother in and out of his own car to take her to doctor's appointments and dialysis treatments. In addition, he was handling all of her home maintenance issues. The day-to-day "incidentals", which we often give little accord (including picking up prescriptions, managing and navigating the health private-public sector plans, healthcare services system, etc.) were another story altogether. Mack lost countless hours of production from his own business waiting for the transport...which would, at times, take up to four hours.

Five months prior to his mother starting dialysis, Mack's sister was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer and was hospitalized. She slipped into a coma and remained in the hospital for three months. Mack visited every day, dealing with the doctors and nurses. Because of the cancer, she was forced to close her business, a large task that Mack also managed to complete for her. Since she was unable to handle the details, including associated paperwork, Mack served as her power of attorney. As a result of the chemotherapy she received, his sister remains legally blind, relying on a walker for mobility.

In 1999, Mack had his first encounter with caregiving when Ruth Roe, an 85-year-old female stroke victim, required daily lifting, transfers and feeding. While "Ruthie" would respond to no one else, she did accept food from Mack. Ruthie was Mack's inspiration for obtaining his nationally accredited professional designation, Certified Senior Advisor® , enhancing his senior advisory services business – Senior Financial – Resources – Benefit Services.

Mack is a truly compassionate, understanding, and kind individual. Name any situation he has encountered and he has tackled it, and if humanly possible, he has solved it. When others are unable to assist, they know they can count on Mack to handle it. And he does, and he will continue to do so because that's the kind of person Mack DeLeon is!

Here is what Mack has to say about his CSA designation…

“The CSA designation has been welcomed with great respect and I believe has assisted me to successfully manage and navigate the complex health care environment be it in the private or public sectors and also provides seniors with avenues to serve senior issues with trusted resources. The society's training, education, and resources have equipped me to address questions about senior issues as they arise. I would like to express my appreciation to the Society of Certified Senior Advisors® for enhancing the credibility and professionalism of my business.”

Contact Mack DeLeon, CSA

If you would like to nominate someone you know for the Life Moving Forward - National Mobility Awareness Month Award, Click here!

Monday, December 10, 2012

A New Trend - Vigiling so No One Dies Alone (NODA)

Unfortunately, many patients are going to end up dying alone in the hospital, either because they have outlived the rest of their family or because they are private people who don’t have any friends or family. I don’t know if you have heard of this but hospices across the country are providing a wonderful service called No One Dies Alone (NODA).

NODA services are provided by hospice programs that send volunteers into local hospitals to sit vigil with patients who are dying alone.

As much as nurses try very hard to be present with the dying, they have too many patients to care for and can’t stay just in one room. So NODA volunteers sit in shifts and stay with and comfort the person as he or she dies. Of course, these volunteers are highly trained and work cooperatively with the doctors and nurses. This program was founded by Sandra Clarke, an ICU nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon.

I think it would be wonderful if a similar service was provided for skilled nursing facilities and assisted livings. Medical hospices do an amazing job of caring for the needs of the dying in care communities, but they can’t stay with the patient 24/7. This leaves many of our seniors dying alone.

Maybe you would like to develop a program like this in the hospitals and facilities in your community or maybe you already have. If so, we’d love to hear about it. Please share your comments with us below.

About NODA:

Starting your own NODA program:


Viki Kind is a clinical bioethicist, educator and hospice volunteer. Her award winning book, “The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices for Those Who Can't,” guides families and professionals through the difficult process of making decisions for those who have lost capacity.