Tips from Mandy

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Struggling with how to take care of your aging family member?

Need help with a question? 

Mandy Merkel – Senior Resource Consulting

I haven’t always worked with seniors. In fact, when I first got started in this arena just over 25 years ago, I wasn’t even sure if it was something that would suit me, and I considered turning down the opportunity. Thankfully, fate intervened, leading me on a wonderful journey where I’ve been able to use my skills and passions to help seniors and their families in all aspects of aging. But let’s start at the beginning.

MORE ABOUT MANDY

When it was time for me to go to college, I really had my heart set on a medical degree. However, for a variety of different reasons, that was not something I could do. But, I could focus my energy on a career in a medical setting, so I earned a BA Honors degree in Speech Therapy and Audiology from University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and went directly to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia to earn my MMS in Speech Pathology.

 

After a Fellowship at the VA Hospital in Atlanta, I began working as a speech pathologist in a rehab unit in North Fulton Medical Center working with patients with traumatic brain injury and stroke, eventually becoming the Director of Outpatient Services. 

 

While there, a good friend informed me about a job with Sundance Rehabilitation,a company that provided rehabilitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This was not my idea of a dream job. I mistakenly believed that working with seniors would be very depressing. Nothing has been further from the truth! 

 

It was with this job that I learned how rewarding it was to work with people who had seen things I hadn’t seen, done things I hadn’t done, and been places I hadn’t been. But, it was with this job that I also learned that these amazing individuals often needed more than rehab services. Unfortunately, many seniors and their families had no idea where to go to get the needed help, and I often found myself going beyond my role as Director of Operations to help families find appropriate resources. 

 

After a few twists and turns in the road, I finally realized that my true passion was working directly with seniors and their families, so I founded my own business, Senior Resource Consulting. This is a service that bridges the communication gap between seniors, families, and facility personnel through such activities as: in home assessment, analysis and determination of appropriate level of needed care, facility placement options, information about provider agencies and community resources, and ongoing care management. 

 

In this capacity, I built a network of resources to help seniors and their families transition to a new normal based on the issues of aging by working with such organizations as 

Georgia Gerontology Society, The Alzheimer’s Association, The Georgia HealthCare Association, The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, The Georgia Eldercare Network, and Second Wind Dreams among others.

 

To enhance my services, I became a certified Aging Lifecare Specialist (aginglifecare.org) in 2004 and also earned a certificate as an Elder Mediator. As an Aging Lifecare Specialist, or, as I like to call myself, a professional daughter, I have been able to use all of my professional training and industry knowledge to help seniors and their families in all aspects of aging. 

 

I strongly believe that everyone can benefit by having a guide to help them navigate the often challenging aging journey. I’ve agonized with seniors as they struggle against losing their independence or feeling like a burden on their family. I’ve comforted adult children who struggle to make the right decisions among a myriad of choices, not really knowing which one they should choose – all while grieving the loss of what their parent once was.

 

In all instances, I know that I have been able to make a difference in someone’s life, even if that difference is at the end. I can focus on the positives of aging rather than some of the depressing circumstances that come as our bodies wear out. I love that I simply find joy in who the senior is now rather than feeling a sense of loss for who they once were. I can’t imagine anything more fulfilling than being the person on the other end of the phone that can offer solutions to what might otherwise be heart wrenching issues.

 

I don’t have anything to sell so I don’t push any particular solution. Instead, I work with families to help them find unique outcomes that match their unique challenges. And I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always have all the answers. But I can promise you this: I offer a high degree of involvement and long-term trust because I truly care about those I serve. If I don’t have the answers, I will work to find them, and if I’m not the right solution for your family, I will guide you to someone who is. My only agenda is to help seniors live out the remainder of their lives comfortably and safely and help families feel good about the difficult choices they must make. 

 

When I’m not working with seniors and their families, I spend time with my husband, and grown sons when I get the opportunity. Chances are, I’m listening to Brazillian music because it makes me happy. I think I may have been Brazillian in a former life. You might also catch me exercising, reading, dancing, or playing with my dogs.

mandym1122@gmail.com

(404) 786-7789

6865 Brandon Mill Road 

Atlanta, GA 30328