Colleen Stieper (second from left), an avid card player, enjoys a game with daughter Kristine Levesque (left) and son Nelson Stieper.
DEARBORN — When people need legal counsel and expert advice, they typically seek attorneys in specialized practice areas related to their concerns.
Attorney Nelson Stieper, a longtime Dearborn resident and family law and estate planning attorney, will tell you it is also becoming more common for attorneys to recommend the services of geriatric care specialists to clients, who are seniors or caregivers to seniors.
In Stieper’s case, he followed his own recommendation to ensure that his mom Colleen Stieper, 97, remains safe in her home of more than 60 years with family.
“My sister and I agreed that we needed some expert advice to make sure we’re doing everything we can for our mom to make things easier for living at home,” Nelson Stieper said. “Mom was also very open to the idea.”
Stieper scheduled an appointment with Marcia Filek, Geriatric Care manager for Senior Care Solutions by Oakwood, to conduct a geriatric care assessment at his mom’s home. Together, Stieper, his mom and sister, Kristine Levesque, went through a detailed interview which is the first step of the assessment.
“My mom answered most of the questions by herself and only needed a little prompting from us about specific details,” said Stieper, who said his mom is still very alert and creates amazing greeting cards that she sends to friends and family with their pictures and humorous notes.
During the second phase of the home interview, Stieper and his sister left so Filek and his mom could have a private conversation.
“My private talk with the senior during a care assessment ensures that the senior’s wishes are being followed,” Filek said. “It also gives me the opportunity to ask questions and have the senior demonstrate his or her daily routine such as dressing, preparing food, and taking medications.”
Following the interview, Filek prepared a lengthy report and arranged to meet again with Stieper, his sister and mom to go over the analysis and provide recommendations.
“Her ultimate advice was that it is OK for our mom to stay in her home,” Stieper said. “She also gave us some excellent pointers of things we could do around the house that would make it safer and easier for mom to get around.”
Stieper said they received a copy of the thorough report which can be used as a reference going forward.
“It’s a tremendous benefit to have an independent assessment that’s coming from an expert,” Stieper said. “If anything changes in her needs, I wouldn’t hesitate to do this again in a heartbeat.”
“Not all situations are as easy as the Stiepers,” Filek said. “Where additional care is needed in the home or staying at home is no longer an option for the senior, we recommend and help manage a variety of resources that are readily available.”
Senior Care Solutions, in Allen Park, provides services throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe and Washtenaw counties. Personal care services are also available within a 30-mile radius of Detroit.