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Sharp Health News

A Q&A with the people of a Sharp Senior Resource Center

June 30, 2022

Natalie Ford, Ryan Purdy, Lorraine Broglie and Dan McNamara of the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Senior Resource Center

Meet the welcoming faces of the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Senior Resource Center (left to right): Natalie Ford, Ryan Purdy, Lorraine Broglie and Dan McNamara.

Meet Lorraine Broglie, Natalie Ford and Dan McNamara. They are the welcoming faces you’ll meet when stepping through the door of the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Senior Resource Center.

One of two Sharp HealthCare Senior Resource Centers, the center at Sharp Grossmont is a comfortable space for older adults and their caregivers to connect with other like-minded individuals and learn about the positive aspects of aging. The center provides various health education classes, health screenings, community-based flu shots, and referrals to other health services and specialties.

Broglie, Ford and McNamara share their thoughts on engaging with the community through the Senior Resource Center:

  1. What motivates you to work with the Senior Resource Center

    Dan McNamara, program coordinator: What motivates me is my drive to connect people with resources. San Diego County offers a multitude of resources for our elders, and we’ve made it our job to stay at the center of it all. Our team collects, reviews and offers tailored resources to those who call us with a need. If anything, that connection motivates me above all else.

    Natalie Ford, senior programs representative: Unfortunately, this is a “forgotten” generation that is not recognized as assets or contributing members of society. I feel, however, that they are precious gems that should be cared for. We are all growing older. Why not learn from the older adults in our lives who lived through and survived all of the things that life has to offer?

    We can do this while also showing our appreciation for the paths that they have paved for us. This is where my motivation comes from: to never stop learning and use that knowledge to help those around me.
     
  2. How does the Senior Resource Center support older adults and their caregivers?

    Lorraine Broglie, clerical assistant: We recognize that hospitalized patients are not the only people who need care. Our staff keeps up to date with relevant information on the issues of older adults and their caregivers. We are available to provide resources and referrals to supportive services or just lend a listening ear.

    One goal of the Senior Resource Center is to reassure people that they are not alone and to remind them that health care does not begin or end in the hospital or doctor’s office. It also extends into the community.
     
  3. What do you feel are some of the center’s standout services?

    Broglie: Our standout services include a friendly employee answering the phone; personalized attention; and empathy and support for the older adults, caregivers and families. Most often, folks enjoy us listening to them and helping in any way we can.

    Ford: I believe that our regularly scheduled in-person classes and seminars are standouts. Now that the community is opening up again, this allows people to interact with each other. It also gives people something to look forward to on a regular basis.

    The classes, although geared toward educating seniors, are beneficial to everyone. As I said earlier, we are all growing older — we should all pay attention to topics that will inevitably affect us.

    McNamara: The daily telephone reassurance call is a standout service that we offer for free. We call it “Sharp Grossmont Checks In.” Realizing that many seniors want to stay home and remain independent, we offer a safety net to ensure that they can do so without fear of being forgotten. These automated calls function seven days a week and allow seniors to stay connected.
     
  4. What can an individual expect when using your services, and how can they get started?

    Broglie: Folks can call our office, send an email or come by our office Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. They can expect to be warmly greeted and asked what we can help them with. Some folks like to come in and browse our collateral wall and review our information topic list, which shows the many different subjects we have resources for.
     
  5. What advice would you give to someone caring for an aging adult?

    McNamara: Remember who you are to that person and make it a priority to maintain that identity. Are you a child? Grandchild? Close family friend? Spouse or partner? Make sure to keep that as your primary identity when caring for an older adult.

    Being a caregiver is what you do and not necessarily what you are. You might be an adult child who is caring for an aging parent. But if you weren’t their child, you may not necessarily be caregiving for them. Always remember your first connection or identity to that person and make sure you keep that because you are important to them, just like they are important to you.

    Broglie: Take care of yourself first. You can’t be a good caregiver if you aren’t taking good care of yourself. Ask for help, be it from family members, friends or neighbors.

    No one person can do everything by themselves, nor should they. Be patient, kind and protective of the aging adult, and advocate when needed while also encouraging the aging adult to have a say in what is transpiring around them.
     
  6. What advice would you give to older adults to make the best of their golden years?

    Broglie: I would encourage older adults to have their estate plan, will and other paperwork done properly and updated. Spell out your wishes so that it’s clear to all involved as to what you want to have happen regarding your health care and also the assets you worked so hard for. Stay active, cultivate friendships and try new things.

    Ford: Doing what makes them happy is probably what most people want for themselves. Also, take care of your mental and physical health so that you can relax and enjoy these golden years you have worked hard for and deserve.

    McNamara: If you’re in a situation where you can choose to help yourself, do it. If you’re able to get out and stay connected, do so. My primary advice to you is to make the most out of life and enjoy all the gifts or blessings you have.

    Remember to smile and share your story. It may take time to do so but write down your story and share it with as many people as you can. Every life and story is worth remembering.

Learn more about Sharp HealthCare’s Senior Resource Centers.

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