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Ask the Expert: Wendy Miller, Senior Life Care Specialist

As family members age, there are often many decisions that need to be made around housing, transportation, medical care, bill paying, and other activities of daily life. Recently, I had the chance to sit down with Wendy Miller, an Aging Life Care Specialist, and ask how her services can help. Wendy is the Principal of Annapolis Senior Care Solutions. She has sixteen years of experience as a clinical social worker in various medical and residential settings. Read on to hear what she has to say...

  • What are your general services? The first thing I do is a comprehensive in-home assessment. I have a set of questions that I ask to determine the kinds of care that may be needed.  I also look at the home environment in terms of meeting the client’s needs now and in the future.  From there I develop a plan of care, or a to-do list, that states what we need to do right now and what we need to think about longer term to maximize their quality of life.

  • How involved are you in implementing the to-do list? When the family is very involved, I mainly just help by making the list so they can run with it. Within the family there are often a lot of emotions about what’s happening, so it’s helpful to have someone who is objective when creating the plan of action.

    Other people don’t have that family support or don’t know how to navigate the health care system, so they want more help along the way.

    When I started my practice, I thought it would be all families needing help with their elderly relatives, but it turned out that many of my clients are looking for help planning their own care.  There may have been a riff in the family or their family members live out of state. These clients look to me to help them manage everything.

  • What would that help look like? It could be as simple as setting up a home care service that comes in a couple of times a week. If I feel like they need to think about moving to a higher level of care, I will recommend facilities for them to tour. I can also be involved in that process. I don’t have any contracts for referrals, so my guidance towards the facility is unbiased. But, I often have relationships with those facilities and can help make the process easier.

    I’ll also go to doctors’ appointments because a lot of people don’t know the right questions to ask. Sometimes I call ahead to the doctor to talk about the family’s concerns, or I prepare the family with questions they need to clarify.

  • What does it cost? I charge hourly, $100 per hour. Most other senior life care professionals also charge hourly.  

    My help saves clients a lot of time. You could spend days, hours, or months trying to figure out things I can tell you in a couple hours of time. When you make decisions without professional advice, you may go through a lot of trial and error. I help clients avoid those mistakes.  

Are you starting to think about planning for yourself or a loved one? Join us for our upcoming Lunch and Learn. We will provide lunch while Wendy explains more about her services and answers all of your questions.