NShore Patient Advocates, LLC
150 S. Wacker, Ste 2400, Chicago, IL 60606
info@northshorern.com  ·  312-788-2640

The NSPA Blog

SAGAS – Seniors Alone Guardianship & Advocacy Services

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Posted on November 19th, 2019 by Bettina Carlson, under Patient Advocacy, Senior Orphans, Something New

Finally! After having worked so hard on making this happen, having been so “itchy” to share this great news with you, and getting started, here we go. We have a new baby!!! 

We are so very excited to officially announce the launch of our nonprofit company, SAGAS: Seniors Alone Guardianship & Advocacy Services!

We love what we do at NShore Patient Advocates, and we are proud to say, we do it very well! Until we were unable able to serve more people of all walks of life; primarily, low-income senior citizens and disabled adults. While we have been able to help seniors with limited income through limited pro bono work, there was only so much we could do. This has been a thorn in our founder’s side for years. And as is typical for her, she went into problem solving mode and nurtured the thorn into a beautiful rose! And as is typically for her, she did it successfully. And today, let me repeat, we are very delighted and proud and excited to announce this rose.

Just a little side step here: I like the metaphor of the rose, because in the world of gardening, the rose is considered a symbol of multi layered beauty! It expresses promise, new beginnings, and hope. Its thorns represent defense, physicality, loss, thoughtlessness. We at SAGAS are looking forward to protect, honor and support our clients through their challenges in health and self-care to thriving in new improved beginnings. This service is bringing balance into an otherwise off-balanced care system.

You are becoming curious and want to learn more about SAGAS?! I’m happy you asked, and I’m excited to share more details with you.  You can also find the information shared below on the SAGAS website (https://seniorsalone.org).

ABOUT SAGAS

Seniors Alone Guardianship and Advocacy Services (SAGAS) was formed in September 2019 as a 501C3 charitable organization to provide patient advocacy and guardianship services to primarily two underserved market groups: low-income senior citizens and disabled adults.

Considering that one in every four senior citizens in Illinois are facing health challenges alone and making less than $20,000 a year, it is a huge group of individuals in need of support. 

We have established SAGAS to enable isolated seniors with limited financial resources to access high-quality medical care and enjoy safe living environments as they age. Healthcare today is fast paced and complex and it is simply too much for many to safely navigate alone.

SAGAS’ team of highly-skilled clinically experienced employees work together to protect the patient rights and ensure high quality care. The SAGAS team work collaboratively with health care providers, the courts and long-term care resources to achieve superior outcomes for each patient.

Here are SAGAS’ services in a nutshell. For more detailed information on these, please visit our website.

  • High level care management for medically complex clients 
  • Professional healthcare advocacy services, with 24/7 access
  • Medical Profile and Care Plan
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney
  • Guardianship services
  • Senior assistants for lesser skilled personal needs

The SAGAS Niche

There are other companies that do guardianship in the Chicagoland area, it is true. What sets SAGAS apart to the advantage of our clients is our team approach: nurses, social workers, an occupational therapist who is a dementia expert (yes, we offer dementia training now!) and highly experienced nonmedical care managers who all work collaboratively as a team to pool our wisdom and areas of expertise for the client’s benefit. A holistic approach that works best!

Many individuals today are suffering from complex co-morbidities at the same time: cognitive impairment, mental illness, heart disease, mobility problems, diabetes, just to name a few; and thus caregiving can become more than overwhelming for the most well intentioned family member. They not only have to navigate the physical and emotional challenges of caregiving, but they also have to navigate an ever increasingly complex and fragmented health care system. Family caregivers today are under great stress and many must quit their jobs to care for their disabled family members.

Our parent company, NShore Patient Advocates, has a less than one percent 30 day hospital readmission rate for our clients in the last eight years!! Yes, less than 1%. That is measurable success, and more importantly, it translates into many improved lives. We are THE experts in high level community complex care management! 

Just One Story 

A couple of years ago, there was this elderly woman in our community, who was getting picked-up by police wandering around town alone within a short time frame. The first two times, the police returned her to her home, where she was living alone. Her husband had passed away and they never had children. There was an elderly neighbor, who checked in on her occasionally. The third time, the police decided to drop her off at the ER to be examined because they realized, there possibly might be some mental health concern; and by now, the police had become aware that the elderly woman was living alone with no family to care for her. 

The elderly woman was examined, kept in the hospital for a few days for observation and eventually deemed medically stable to be discharged. Generally, hospitals are responsible for making sure that their patients are being discharged into a safe situation, either back to their homes or in a care facility; and generally, in cases like this elderly woman’s situation, the discharge staff is discussing the details of discharge with a family member or an authorized individual. However, in this case, with no family or otherwise authorized agent available, and therefore with no way of discussing this patient’s situation and hospital staff not making a home visit prior to patient’s discharge to assess the safety of their to-be-discharged patient, the hospital discharged the elderly woman without ensuring this safety check point. 

Unfortunately, the elderly woman not too long after her return home, fell and broke her hip and hit her head. Her neighbor was out of town during that time, but luckily the elderly lady was able to call 911 herself. She was admitted to the hospital for surgery, and from there was discharged to a nursing home, where she died not too long after. 

How do we know all this? After her fall, when the neighbor returned home, and noticed the elderly woman is “missing”, she notified the police, who updated her on the situation.  The neighbor then got in touch with the local church community, who in turn got in touch with us. And that is how we got involved. Unfortunately at that point, it was already too late to save her life. But we were able to be there for her during her last days. She didn’t leave this world alone. 

This is how Senior Orphans, can fall through the cracks and get hurt. In her case quite literally. Had there been a family member, or advocate, or had the hospital arranged a visit to the woman’s house before her discharge, red flags would have been observed: the many tripping hazards in her house, which then could have been remedied; and the piles of stuff everywhere, papers, plastic bags, mail, books, clothes, empty pill boxes, packing material, shoes, and more; usually signs of a mental illness or signs of being overwhelmed by living alone. 

With these observation about her living situation, shemay have been discharged into an Assisted Living facility; or if her house had been safety proven, and someone would have been available to regularly follow up with her at home, she would have been safely discharged into her home.

It does take team work and advocacy to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

How You can Help

Good intentions and hard work aside, these services need to be financed. If you wonder how SAGAS affords to financially support these low-income clients, this is a good question. If you wonder how you can help to provide this much needed service, this is also a good and much appreciated question. 

With the generous support of our sponsors and donors, patient service fees are assessed on a sliding scale basis. With financial partnership, we can work together to help seniors and disabled adults without support achieve positive health outcomes. It is easy to see, how our generous donors are the life-blood of our services to this at-risk population.

If you share our believe that all seniors and disabled adults deserve equal care, and should be protected, honored and supported through their challenges in health and self-care, you can make a difference in their lives with your financial support. We have various sponsorship and donor levels available. Please check our website for information. And thank your in advance for your thoughtful consideration and generosity during this holiday season. 

And may you all have a blessed Thanksgiving! 

Please visit and explore our new Website – https://seniorsalone.org

For a no-cost 30 minute initial consultation, please call 847-612-6684 or click here to fill out our online callback request form.