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Advocate wants seniors treated with dignity

Many older adults need government assistance, medical help, or financial advice, but are too independent-minded to go to a senior center to find out how to go about getting the help they need, according to Annette Fisher, a certified senior advisor.

Fisher has found a way to get older people the assistance they need while at the same time respecting their need for privacy and their desire to live out their remaining years with dignity. She is the founder of the group People Empowering Senior’s Independence and Dignity, or PESID.

“Senior centers offer great resource help. But there are some seniors who won’t go to a senior center, Fisher said. "They think senior centers are like nursing homes. That’s not true, but it’s hard to convince people that their idea is wrong."
PESID is a private networking group operated by Golden Maturity, an advertising agency owned by Fisher. It is is composed of 200 members including senior citizens, business owners, and representatives of health care agencies, financial firms, and law offices who met once a month to share information and ideas on services for older adults.

The seniors gain the information they need and the professionals get a chance to network.

“I like to think of it as a neutral zone,” Fisher said. “The idea is to bring seniors together with people who know about the services and can answer questions. Seniors could come and ask questions without feeling obligated to sign up for a particular service. They aren’t pressured.”

Fisher, director of community outreach for the TLC Reverse Mortgage Department at the Ford Funding Corp., said her members are extremely knowledgeable about all matters of interest to senior citizens. “If a senior has a question about Section 8 housing, or Medicare, someone in the group knows who to call. We have representatives of law firms that specialize in estate planning. If seniors have questions about that, they can help,” she said.

“We also have patient advocates. A lot of people get nervous talking to a doctor. It’s good to have somebody helping you and advocating on your behalf,” Fisher said.

PESID is also a networking tool for professionals who work with seniors, she said. “I felt people needed a way to connect with other professionals."

Fisher said she is passionate about helping senior citizens remain living in their homes in comfortable surroundings in their later years. PESID members who are experts in home safety are available to come to the home of an older adult and assess whether there are trip hazards or other dangers.

When PESID was founded in March, 2010, “we had just a couple of people,” Fisher said. “But now it has grown.”

Fisher is also co-author of an informational book for older adults called, “Seniors Get Your Ducks In A Row.” The book, which will be published in 2013, is a group effort by Fisher and her co-authors Marie Sayour, Mary Maroney, Dr. Marla Loughran, Robert Howe, Mary Kae Higgins, and Debra Gross.
September 7, 2012 - 4:19pm


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