Dr. Marion On Tour #24: Drake University/Luther Park

July 27, 2011


Early in the morning of July 27th, in Des Moines, Iowa, I gave a talk to some Long Term Care insurance personnel on the grounds of Drake University, a college of business and public administration. This gathering was coordinated by The National Benefit Corp. The setting was beautiful and the grounds were in full bloom. Those who gathered were enthusiastic and full of questions as to how to better serve the population they are reaching out to. We discussed communication skills, being patient at all times, and knowing the individual you are talking to, in order to find out the need, from their perspective. All of this takes time, especially if you are working with an older population. But no matter what our profession is, I always strive for a win-win for everyone. As a guide, I used the ten steps from my book, Elder Care Made Easier, and my “Elder Care A – Z” guide for caregivers. These basic concepts cover my 40-plus years of working in the geriatric field as an elder expert and advisor.

As always, I derive much satisfaction from the time after a lecture or talk, when people speak to me on a more personal level, discussing their own situation at home or with an elder in their own families. I like to know that not only are the professional needs of my audience satisfied, but that if they have individual concerns, this time to be with them and give them some guidance makes me feel that the lectures are more successful, on a personal level.

Later in the same day, we drove to Luther Park Retirement Campus with many levels of care as well as the Luther Care Services, an Alzheimer’s Facility. Upon my arrival I was given a beautiful Rose Calendar, which was especially exciting because I used to grow roses when I lived in New York City. I was greeted by the administration and given a tour of the facility. I was able to interact with the residents who live there and I could see that they are well cared for. I spoke to a gathering of the staff in the facility lounge and later interacted with Rev. Peter C. Wegner of the Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church. It is always heartwarming to speak with people who care for the elderly in a devoted and caring manner.

When I visit these facilities, I am reminded that from 1990 to 2020, the population from ages 65 to 74 will increase by 75% (Source: US Census Bureau). We hardly have enough facilities to take care of the aging population we are experiencing now. My question is: how are we going to house those who have special needs in the not-so-distant future?

--Dr. Marion


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