“When elderly seniors attend doctor appointments alone, important information can fall through the gaps, and they can end up being unnecessarily hospitalized. That’s the fact on which ElderBridge SoCal is based. But to be honest, I started this service mid-2014 for me. I was the one who needed it most. I realized my mom died when she was just 11 years older than me, and I only had five to ten more productive years left to give back to the world. I wanted to make them the best they could be.
Not that life has been so bad. I’m still with my High School sweetheart and have two grown sons who make my heart swell with pride. My father is hearing-impaired, but at 89 is still living by himself on the farm I grew up on in the Central Valley of California. Life has been an interesting journey. Over the years I have been: a fruit packer, a Clerk in the Assessor’s office, a Legal Process Clerk at the Reedley-Dunlap Justice (now Superior) Court, a Certified Nursing Assistant, an RN, a Pastor and an RN again. But all of these were “jobs” that only used part of the skills that make me unique. They were hard work, and not all so rewarding.
What I’ve learned from my business coach Marianne Emma Jeff, is that there is almost nothing more rewarding than looking back at your week and remembering the moments where you felt totally, 100% you; when you engaged what you do well naturally, to make a real difference in someone’s life. That’s what I’ve done with ElderBridge SoCal. Rather than being a job, it’s a joy!
What drives and delights me is using my calm presence, compassion and adventurous spirit in combination with the active listening skills I’ve developed working as a nurse, pastor and even a Court Clerk, to encourage elders to be active decision-makers in their healthcare, and to challenge the healthcare system to treat elders as whole human beings. And I’m developing a team of Partners in Care who use their unique skills so together we can do even greater things.
Every client I’ve worked with has also been unique, and my services have been tailored to their needs. Hopefully my brochure says pretty well what ElderBridge SoCal is about: with thorough communication, patient advocacy and safe transportation, we are bridging gaps between seniors, their healthcare teams and their families, so seniors are empowered to live independently and families are gifted with peace of mind.”
For the Vibrant Health of our Elders,
Sharon Sparks, Retired R.N.