Tools to Save on Healthcare

It is no surprise that the cost of healthcare continues to rise.

According to a report from PricewaterhouseCooper’s Health Research Institute, health care costs are expected to grow 6.8 percent overall in 2015. While not all this growth will be passed on to consumers, it’s likely you’ll see some increases, particularly when it comes to your health insurance. Continue reading

My Mom Told Me Years Ago…

My mom told me years ago, “There is going to be a time when we need to move out of our house. We aren’t going to want to and won’t realize we need to. I expect you to tell us when it is time.”

That time came in 2006. Dad had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2003 and it was just getting to be too much for mom to take care of dad, and, the beautiful house they had built on the hill overlooking their farmland just north of Sioux City, Iowa. Continue reading

Have You Ever Had This Conversation With a Loved One?

How was your doctor appointment today? “Fine.” What did the doctor say? “Oh, nothing, really.” Did you ask the doctor about the side effects that you’re  having with your blood pressure medications?”  “Well, no.”  Why not? “The doctor seemed in a hurry, and I didn’t want to bother him.” But, you have been having dizzy spells, there are other medications they can try. If you don’t tell him how will he know?  “I’m sure the doctor knows best.” Continue reading

Is It Still Safe to Live in Your Home?

I was recently investigating some long term care facilities for a client and found some interesting information for seniors thinking of retiring in the Sioux Falls area.  This information may also be true in other areas, too.  In Sioux Falls the beds (rooms) for “nursing home, skilled care, long term care or rehabilitation” are very scarce.  These terms for this type of living arrangement are often interchangeable.  There are, however, quite a few facilities with availability for independent or even assisted living.  This leads to the point of this blog. Continue reading

Need Help with Medicare Choices?

SHIP Advice to the Rescue

Medicare Open Enrollment, which began October 15 and will run through December 7th, strikes fear into the hearts of many seniors and younger, disabled people who are eligible for Medicare.

Among the questions:  should I use original Medicare? or should I use a Medicare Advantage Plan?  Maybe original Medicare with a Medigap Plan?  What about my Part D coverage?


What many people don’t realize is that there are people – objective, knowledgeable, helpful people – who can help them walk through the possibilities, addressing their own individual insurance needs, finding the best plan for the best price for them…

For FREE! Continue reading

South Dakota Eye & Tissue Bank

I recently heard a speaker from the South Dakota Eye & Tissue Bank.  Since April is National Donate Life month, I thought corneal (eye) donations would be a good subject for a blog.  As a Healthcare Advocate, I work with both the donors or families of donors and the recipients of these donations.

For years, I have known that the Lions collect used glasses, but I hadn’t realized how much the South Dakota Lions Eye & Tissue Bank was involved in eye donation.  In 1925, Helen Keller addressed the Lions Clubs International Convention and challenged Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”  The Lions Clubs, at least the South Dakota Lions Club, have met and possibly surpassed that challenge. Continue reading

The Banquet

Today, I attended a meeting of the Coalition on Aging. Tamera Jerke-Liesinger, the Executive Director of The Banquet, was the guest speaker.  As a Healthcare Advocate, one of the services that I provide is helping my clients find opportunities or services that they may want or need.  The Banquet provides one of these services.

For those of you who don’t know, The Banquet is a mission in Sioux Falls that equips volunteers to provide food and fellowship to those in need.  They provide a safe place where people can gather, receive nourishment, and experience love in action.  This is how they state their mission. Their diverse group of volunteers is made up of people from local churches, businesses, service clubs, schools, and even individual families.  The Banquet is a wonderful asset to Sioux Falls.

Continue reading

Healthcare Advocacy – A Brief History

I want to start with a little story. There was a doctor who was known for his extraordinary treatment of arthritis. He had a waiting room full of people when a little old lady, almost bent over in half, shuffled in slowly, leaning on her cane. When her turn came, she went into the doctor’s office, and, amazingly, emerged within 5 minutes walking completely erect with her head held high. A woman in the waiting room who had seen all this rushed up to the old lady and said, “It’s a miracle! You walked in bent in half and now you’re walking erect. What did that doctor do?” The little old lady looked at her and replied, “He gave me a longer cane.”

Now, if all doctor visits or medical problems were that simple, we probably wouldn’t need independent healthcare advocates, but we all know that this is not the case. With the population and culture that we have today, healthcare technology is advancing at breakneck speeds, but the ability to access it and understand its complexities have not advanced with it. People are living longer, and therefore have more opportunity to develop a multitude of health challenges. Unfortunately, most people don’t have the background to understand their options or even understand what is going on with their diagnoses. This is particularly true with the seniors in our society, our parents and peers. Many of these people don’t have a support system or family to help them. If they do have a support system or family close, the family may not have the time it takes, due to work or other obligations, to get to a level of understanding to help with various medical problems. Continue reading

About Me


As my first blog entry, I thought I should tell you a little about myself and how I got started with healthcare advocacy. I grew up on a farm in Northwest Iowa. All through high school, I wanted to be a doctor until I realized that I didn’t want my career to be my whole life. At that time, being a doctor, especially when you’re a female, didn’t really allow much time to be a wife and mother. I wanted those things, too. Fortunately, that has changed and you can, more easily, do both now. But that’s the way it was back then.

I attended the University of Iowa and earned my Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN). I have worked as a nurse in both hospitals and nursing homes. I even taught health occupations in a vocational program. Most of my career has been in the pharmaceutical industry. My time in pharmaceuticals allowed me to have extensive training in many, many disease states. I was even a Neurology Specialist which gave me a better understanding of Stroke, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and a number of other neurological diseases. While in pharmaceuticals, I saw healthcare from many different perspectives. Through all of this, with nursing and my pharmaceutical experience, I naturally became a healthcare advocate for family and friends, starting 35 years ago with my grandmother. Continue reading