Moving Family Member Not Always Viable Option
Thank you for your support. We do appreciate you. We have given up traveling, and if you were not in Denver, we would have to move my sister-in-law to be near us. The logistics alone would be overwhelming, and I believe that the consequences would be very detrimental to her.
Extraordinary Advocate for Senior With Out-of-State Family
Alissa Schramm is extraordinary. She will serve as the primary contact to be called in an emergency anytime of the day or night. She will sit in on patient conferences with a critical eye and exhibit no hesitation in speaking up in the interest of the patient. This is particularly important for relatives living far away. The caregiving process is complicated. One thing I learned along the way is elder care facilities' protocol is not always in the interest of the patient. They need an advocate on the spot. Alissa knows the hospitals, specialists outside facilities, even lawyers if legal forms have been neglected.
In my brother's case, she ferried him to appointments and communicated vital information to medical providers. Equipped with his medical history, she always trailed him to the hospital to ensure he was not admitted for a minor problem. Her presence not only avoided duplication of tests but decreased my brother's anxiety and confusion.
You can count on her popping in to check supplies, room condition and, if need be, running out to buy clothing or even furniture. Taping instructions on electronics and reminders on the door were just a few of the many thoughtful touches.
Compass is the way to go. Everything will be done with competence, good grace, humor and true caring. Alissa was my brother's advocate through and through, a blessing for us both.
Upper Saddle River, NJ
Tops in Integrity and Communication
We greatly appreciated the compassionate service that Alissa provided my uncle. I especially appreciated her integrity and the thoroughness of her communication, always keeping me in the loop about what was going on.
Direction for All Circumstances
How do you convince your 90-year-old widowed mother, who has lived independently for many years, that she should no longer drive a car?
How do you advise her to move from a large house to a smaller apartment at an independent/assisted living facility?
When she breaks her hip, how do you find appropriate rehabilitation therapy to help her walk again? What do you do when a facility refuses dementia patients?
How do you deal with the myriad of medical and care arrangements as dementia progresses? How do you learn to relate to a loved one whose personality and reality are transformed by dementia?
These are but a few of the many difficult situations in which Alissa Schramm has assisted our family over the last several years. We feel blessed with Alissa's professional and caring counseling, as we have dealt with the many, many issues of a loved one whose life transitioned from complete independence to total reliance in just a very short time.
The decisions you make are not always easy. You never have all of the information. You second guess yourself by asking, "It this really the right thing to do?" Sometimes, you have to make immediate decisions. Most families do not have the familiarity with senior care to make well-informed decisions. Alissa has always been there to listen, evaluate and advise us through the many mazes of retirement and assisted living, hospital and rehabilitation centers, medical services and Medicare, senior transportation services, memory care facilities and all of the regulations, documentation and attention necessary to providing for loved ones who can no longer manage their own affairs.
Alissa has been by our side through many emergencies and calamities. We have relied on her guidance and assistance more times that I can remember. As a result, the crises have been navigated and our mother is now attended by a caring staff at a memory care facility. We know there will be new concerns and events in the future, but we can at least enjoy the good moments we have with our mother. Our family has the peace of mind that we have made sound decisions because we have relied on Alissa for her compassionate care and superior abilities as a geriatric care manager.
My sister began working with Alissa in December 2011 while being released from a hospital after mental health issues. She is now independent, extremely high functioning and delightful to be with. After many years, I have my sister back!
I attribute her remarkable recovery to the excellent ongoing care she received from Alissa. Alissa was an outstanding advocate for my sister when it came to doctor's visits, correct medication, arranging transportation and as a companion. I am forever grateful to Alissa for saving my sister's life.
Alissa entered our lives when my husband's parents needed professional care in Denver. Because we live in Oregon, the logistics of gathering information and responding quickly to changes in Mom and Dad's needs were frustrating and often frightening. From the very beginning, Alissa worked to keep Mom and Dad in facilities that gave them as much time together as possible yet met their different medical and emotional challenges.
When emergencies arose, we could count on Alissa to contact us immediately and frequently through the crisis, even though it meant she spent nights at their side in the emergency room or hospital. One very important thing: Alissa listened carefully to my husband's desires for the medical care of his parents, and she communicated that clearly to professionals on our behalf.
Alissa's very personal attention to Mom and Dad's needs were communicated through gentle emails, indicating that Mom could use some soft, cozy garments or a special kind of slippers. When Dad died, Alissa guided us on the best way to communicate this to Mom—advice we would have been lost without. Over the past nearly six years, Alissa has done loving things that a daughter-in-law would have done, like taking Mom to the botanical gardens for her birthday because she loves flowers so much.
We have peace knowing that Alissa loves Mom and gives her the smiles and hugs that we can't be there to do. I don't know what we would do without her.
Richard and Kathy B.
Days Creek, Oregon
For someone living out of state with responsibility for an impaired relative, I have found my most valuable resource is a local presence who will deal with the full range of issues that arise in these situations. Alissa is the complete professional care manager. As a single point of contact, she manages everything including medical care, living accommodations, personal needs, transportation and emergencies.
A great communicator, Alissa always keeps me informed with detailed reports, explains all of the available options and provides sound recommendations. Apart from just not being close enough to personally deal with routine needs, dementia patients present a new set of problems that for the inexperienced don't have ready solutions. Alissa has that experience and will light the way for you. You never know what is going to come up next, but I have the peace of mind that Alissa will take care of it.
Competent and Compassionate
Living in NYC with an aged mother in Denver is fraught with anxiety, guilt and concern.
Finding a thoughtful, prudent and reliable person to assist my independent mother was
daunting until we met Alissa Schramm. Over the next
three years, she worked with my mother on a wide range of needs, from doctor’s
appointments to identifying other support services. She became our eyes and ears and
alerted us to needs and concerns in making my mother maintain her independence in a safe
and healthy way. Alissa is the careful observer, the gentle reminder and the competent,
compassionate manager. Her valuable contribution served us well and allowed my mother
to maintain her independence with dignity. We recommend her without reservation.
New York, New York
I became my mother's guardian and conservator in April 2011. Exercising these functions at a distance created significant difficulties. I quickly located Alissa, who went to see my mom the day after I found her. She was immediately able to deal with a dental problem, getting mom an appointment with a geriatric dentist within a day.
She always saw my mom as an individual, and she found people my mom could enjoy (a companion, a senior fitness trainer, a wonderful massage therapist) who suited my mom's interests and needs. Should you be lucky enough to engage Alissa, she will provide you with a measure of security that your parent is well cared for, and that their needs are met in an extremely timely fashion. She quite simply preserved my sanity!
St. Paul, Minnesota
Broad Base of Knowledge
During the final weeks of a very difficult and confusing illness, Alissa helped me navigate home care, nursing home care and hospice care for my widowed mother. I live in western Pennsylvania and my mother lived on her own in Denver. As an only child, I was the sole bearer of responsibility for my 90-year-old mom.
I turned to Alissa initially to help me sort out what kind of care my rapidly deteriorating mother needed. Alissa identified assisted living possibilities for me to visit, then when my mom was suddenly hospitalized, she checked on her medical care at the hospital and later at the nursing home. She gave me much needed reassurances as to the nursing home that was chosen and the care my mother was receiving.
Alissa has a broad base of knowledge from home care to medications to assisted living and nursing homes to hospice care in the Denver area. She was known and highly regarded by several of the agencies that provided care for my mom.
In this highly emotional time, it was important for me to have someone like Alissa with a broad professional background to turn to as I made what turned out to be end-of-life decisions for my mom.
Thoughtful and Meticulous
The first step is the biggest one.
I contacted Alissa in 2009 when I noticed my mom becoming overwhelmed with caring for my father, who has Alzheimer's. While my brothers and I offered help when we could, my mom did the majority of the caretaking. Her health was starting to be affected.
Alissa wrote a very thorough and detailed outline of my dad's health issues, recommendations for short and long term implementation, and even an immediate care plan. She listed several facilities for each of my parents along with financial info that was very beneficial. Having this report really helped inform others members of the family about the progression of my dad's illness.
I have referenced the report many times. I am glad to say my dad is now living at one of the communities recommended by Alissa. His Alzheimer's has progressed, but he is in a safe and caring environment. Last August, my mom moved to a community recommended for her by Alissa. She seems very happy there.
Alissa definitely was very thoughtful and meticulous in her evaluation. I appreciate Alissa's advice and assisting our family in helping care for my parents.