Over four years ago, attorney Jessica Greene and I met with Sentinel editor Naomi Creason to offer to write weekly articles. Whether or not Naomi really believed that we would be able to create fresh content weekly, she treated us seriously. We appreciate the opportunity.
We were excited to share information through The Sentinel that could help people with the frustrations and paradoxes of the long-term care system. As uncompensated contributors, we believed that Keystone Elder Law could benefit from a platform to promote an understanding and appreciation of our model of practice, which incorporates guidance about care options along with the legal issues of asset preservation. Our way of doing things is unique to this geographic area, but is patterned after the model of the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association.
Many of you have expressed gratitude, and your encouragement has fueled the discipline we require to create fresh content weekly. It inspires us to hear that you appreciate our efforts to be a community educator about long-term care issues. Occasionally, I have been asked if we employ a ghostwriter, and we never have.
In the early stage, writing articles was an opportunity to scratch the itch I had developed forty years earlier in the wake of Watergate, when I was one of many idealists who studied journalism and wrote for their college newspaper. As a weekly contributor to The Sentinel, I discovered that it is not easy to respond creatively to deadlines. Nothing about long-term care is easy; however, our collection of Sentinel articles now totals well over two hundred.
Just when I was beginning to wonder how long Keystone Elder Law could produce articles, Karen Kaslow joined our team as the Care Coordinator in the summer of 2013. Karen brought an insightful perspective from many years of employment as a Registered Nurse in various long-term care venues, as well as her personal experience as a caregiver for a grandparent. Karen inspired us and assumed responsibility to make sure that we have fresh content weekly, even if she has to write it herself, as she has done more often than not.
Karen’s non-legal voice is easier for some of you to hear. Many of her articles about caregiving or medical issues are generally useful, even across state lines. Several of her articles, and even a few from the attorneys, have received favorable attention from national authorities. A number of times, we received requests that we allow our articles to be linked to national websites, but so far we have made our articles available only on our website and Cumberlink.
At a time when many newspapers were no longer publishing daily, Gary Adkisson became The Sentinel’s publisher in December 2014. His leadership brought new ideas and change. He found a way to continue The Sentinel’s commitment to make a newsprint paper available for us to read six times a week. As a long-time lover of newspapers, whose clientele mostly prefers home delivery of newsprint instead of reading it on the internet. I hope you express your appreciation and support for The Sentinel by renewing your subscription. If you enjoy our articles, please tell that to The Sentinel when you renew!
Around a year ago, I began to echo the complimentary but challenging input from many readers who said: “Keystone’s articles should be assembled into a book!” Karen responded by recruiting her daughter, Lindsay, who was home on a holiday break from the University of Delaware. Lindsay sorted and edited our articles, which had previously been proofread by my wife, Marcia, who also serves as Keystone’s Client Services Director.
Part of the editing challenge was that, in contrast to the general relevance of articles about caregiving, articles about legal issues can have a narrower application. While the laws about long-term care are generally rooted at the federal level, every state is permitted to modify a federal program, as long as the result does not violate a citizen’s Constitutional rights by being more restrictive and less beneficial. Therefore, a number of Keystone’s articles about legal issues could have a core concept that applies across the country, but some specific points might apply only in Pennsylvania.
Once Lindsay and Karen had assembled the collection of articles, we found a consultant to help us format the collection of articles into a book. It quickly became apparent that appropriate graphics would improve the appearance and help to introduce the content. Our daughter-in-law, Allison, who has been studying and practicing animation and caricature art in Orlando, created the internal art and cover design.
What resulted is: Long Term Care Guide: Essential Tips For Solving The Elder Care Puzzle. Our new 305 page paperback is now available locally, exclusively at the Whistlestop Bookshop, 129 West High Street in Carlisle. It is also available on-line from Amazon.com (Google “Amazon Keystone Elder Law”), or electronically from Kindle, e-Books and Nook.
As a collection of more than seventy-five articles, our book can be read incrementally. It’s a perfect holiday gift for the aging parent who has everything. It’s also a great resource for a caregiver who needs encouragement.
No book about long-term care should be read as a do-it-yourself manual. Aging adults need support. The best caregiving occurs with teamwork.
We need to be careful about not creating the false impression that through our articles we are intending to provide legal advice to a person who is not our client. For many reasons, we cannot do that. When we get to know our clients individually, we are able to add value as an experienced and compassionate guide who can explain nuances of the long-term care system and help to gain access to the best and most affordable resources.
By Dave Nesbit, Attorney