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Re: Introducing Myself to Amanda Singleton

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Very nice to meet you, Donald, and thank you for your long-term counsel to your community.  Although you can't locate the original post that you were looking for, this may be a good opportunity to open up a conversation on the Caregiving forum regarding those seniors who do not have family/friend caregivers and advocates.   I'd like to hear from those on this forum who are in that situation, expect to be in that situation in future years, or who know others who have not had their needs met or been victims of exploitation/neglect.  

 

As a fellow life-care and estate planner, this topic is one that clients do not expect to spend so much time discussing.  But it is critical.  With the upcoming care gap (3 people needing care to 1 person to provide it), taking measures to plan for independent living as well as possible assistance and care needs should be a consideration for us all.   If you are reading this post and can relate or have discussed this with your family, friends, or advisors, it may be helpful for others if you share your thoughts on the subject.   Thanks, all!

Amanda Singleton, J.D.
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Re: Introducing Myself to Amanda Singleton

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Dear Amanda,

 

I was searching for a member who posted a request for a private fiduciary who would take care of all of his needs since he had no relatives or friends who could/would serve in that role.  I don't know where he resides, so I don't know how to help him, and I thought that contacting you would be a step in the right direction as the needs he expressed are so common to the elderly, and without assistance, the results can be disastrous.

Like you, I am an **bleep** attorney who has devoted much of my practice to wills, trusts, estate planning, probate and trust administration and combating elder abuse and financial exploitation.  I have been doing this for more than 25 years, and have been frustrated by seniors who refuse to plan ahead for all the possible events that can and do occur.  They end up spending a fortune when disaster strikes, rather than taking action now, which is at a low cost.

I have introduced a new practice, whereby I am willing to serve as a private advocate for a client, not as their attorney.  The client keeps their own attorney, CPA, financial advisor, etc., or I work with whomever they select, but I am there to protect them from abuse and exploitation, speak on their behalf, avoid or help resolve disputes and make sure that their wishes are carried out, even if they are incapacitated or pass away.

I am always interested in educating the public, and particularly seniors, about the need for planning, the risk they face if they fail to plan and the benefits they will receive and enjoy by taking action now.

Please contact me so that we can discuss how I might support what you are doing, and benefit all of the AARP members like me.

Donald Scher  (edited to remove phone #)

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Re: Introducing Myself: Amanda Singleton (Caregiver Advocate and AARP speaker)

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Welcome, Amanda,

And... lord have mercy...

Your story is really something. A tale of perseverence, fortitude, and love. Survivorship, and terrible timing. So much loss in so short a time. And now you are dedicated yourself to helping caregivers, and rearing a beautiful child with your husband. My hat is off to you.

    I'm a social worker and have worked with caregivers in various capacities for over 30 years. All of us on the caregiving team have skills that complement each other. It's terrific to work as a team on this topic since caregivers are in such desperate need. I look forward to reading your posts and to all the dialogue we can muster. 

     Jane Lincoln, LCSW

     rural Oregon

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Re: Introducing Myself: Amanda Singleton (Caregiver Advocate and AARP speaker)

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Thank you so much for the warm welcome, @agoyer! It was such a pleasure to meet you and hear you speak at the Florida Caregiver Conference last year.  My little one and I had a sweet afternoon working on the coloring pages from your book; thank you for sharing it with us!  Take care, hope all is well.  Amanda

Amanda Singleton, J.D.
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Re: Introducing Myself: Amanda Singleton (Caregiver Advocate and AARP speaker)

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@AmandaSingleton Hi Amanda! Welcome to the world of AARP! Glad to have your legal expertise here in the community! 

 

Folks - I've met Amanda and she's a great resource! 

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and

Color Your Way Content When Caring for Loved Ones

 

 

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Introducing Myself: Amanda Singleton (Caregiver Advocate and AARP speaker)

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Hello everyone: It’s nice to meet you all. My name is Amanda Singleton. I’m an attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida, and I am devoted to assisting unpaid family caregivers. In the coming months, I will be speaking at AARP events and active in the online community on caregiving issues, particularly those revolving around financial and legal needs.  

 

I’d like to use this post to introduce myself, relate some of my caregiving story, and hear about caregiving topics that are important to you so we can cover them in future events and posts.

 

Here is my story: I’m not quite the age that people traditionally thought of when they used to think of AARP. But caregiving has no age ceiling and not much of a floor. I’m 38 today and caregiving has completely defined my life.

 

My whole world turned upside-down when my mother was suddenly diagnosed with cancer at the age of 60. I became her 24-hour-a-day caregiver. My mom was everything to me and to see her lose her independence and eventually, her life, broke my heart. On top of that grief, the stress and burdens of caregiving were incomprehensible. The “business of caregiving” was maddening and there were little resources to assist in our area. I lost my job when my FMLA expired, taking away the primary income source in my household. By the end of taking care of my mom, I was spent physically, emotionally, financially, and mentally.

 

There wasn’t much time to recover, as my father took his life the following year. He had estranged himself and was suffering from mental illness. How much and how far he had declined in a period of a few short years, I couldn’t have known until I received the phone call with the news.

 

In the meantime, a friend passed away from end-stage renal failure. He was a closet alcoholic. His family and partner were at odds. At his partner’s request, I got involved to assist with his transition after his discharge from the hospital and help mediate with his relatives. Those final days were a scramble to get his affairs in order, to get a plan. At the age of 34, he hadn’t expected to need a plan for his passing.

 

When life felt like it was at its darkest, out of nowhere, my husband and I conceived a child. A little girl. Caring for our baby, for a new life in the world instead of a life on its way out of the world, completely brought me back to living with joy and purpose.

 

In her short life, however, we have had continued losses. My husband’s father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April of 2016. It took months to receive his full diagnosis and he endured many procedures and hospitalizations.   We spent every available minute with the family to help out as-needed. This felt very important as my in-laws had a special needs adult son who needed a caregiver with him at all times. As we marched through my father-in-law’s cancer journey, it was a complete shock when my brother-in-law, the special needs adult, fell and broke his back. After weeks in the hospital, he was able to go home. Heartbreakingly, he passed shortly after.

 

The toll on the family was great. Perhaps related to the stress, perhaps not, my husband suffered an injury a few months later that left him bedbound. Although he was unable to stand or walk, as soon as he could get out of bed, he managed by getting around on his arms (like an octopus) and in a wheelchair. Caregiving for him at home, for our two-year-old child, for my one-year-old business, and spending every available minute with my parents-in-law was a marathon. But one I am proud to have completed. It took a while, but my husband physically recovered, and life regained a bit of its balance in our home.

 

Sadly, on the one-year anniversary of the day my brother-in-law passed, my father-in-law followed. We now are working through the grief and emotions that go along with such a long run of losses and devotion of life to the care and wellbeing of others.  

 

Today as I write this post, I am not in an active caregiving role. However, I serve caregivers every day through my work and am advocating for laws and policy change that will benefit the caregivers of the future. I can relate to how **bleep** hard caregiving can be, particularly if you don’t have a plan for it. My vision is to change the way caregivers are supported in our country and to make the road a little bit easier for others.

 

I want to know what you need as a present caregiver or what you remember needing as a past caregiver that could have made your life easier. So, please introduce yourself and share your story. And if there are any conversations you’d like to have about caregiving issues (especially related to financial and legal needs), drop me a line with your ideas.

 

Also, if you are a working caregiver, or know someone who is, please join me for this two-part AARP Webinar Juggling it All: Tips for Working Caregivers. You can register through these links:

Part 1:

https://onlinexperiences.com/Launch/QReg/ShowKey=50673&LangLocaleID=1033

 

Part 2:

https://onlinexperiences.com/Launch/QReg/ShowKey=50674&LangLocaleID=1033

 

Thank you!

Amanda

Amanda Singleton, J.D.
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