Senior Advisor Celebrates 20 Years of Service
In 1995, the director of Janet Goeske Foundation called Marilyn Lynch and asked her, “If you could come to work at the Center, what is it you would like to do?” Marilyn knew exactly what she wanted (and needed) to do to benefit the local senior community. She pitched her bold new idea and after a thorough review of the proposal, Marilyn was hired as the first and only “Senior Advisor” at the Janet Goeske Center.
“I wasn’t exactly sure my idea was going to float, but it did, and it’s done very well,” Marilyn says.
This was not a new idea for Marilyn, she had been cultivating the idea since the early 80’s when she was in charge of a home health service. “When I was interviewing and testing my RNs, LVNs, CNAs, etc. I learned what they were up against when they went into the homes of seniors. In talking to the seniors themselves, I learned what they needed and that there didn’t seem to be [at the time] a place where the seniors could go and really get some help,” she states. Often she would get calls from seniors who needed something entirely different, than what she and her service provided, but they were frustrated and desperate to speak with someone that could offer them a little help and guidance.
When Marilyn left the home health service, she decided to start her own business to help seniors in their homes. A few people supported her idea and referred her to clients but she couldn’t really get started until she had insurance. “Over the years I learned that it is never a wise decision to go into a client’s home without the proper insurance because they could accuse you of taking [or doing] something and I wasn’t willing to risk that,” she remembers, “At that time there was no such thing as a Geriatric Case Manager. I needed insurance but couldn’t get it because they didn’t know what to call me. So I dropped it and that’s where it laid.”
Instead Marilyn spent 16 years volunteering at Kaiser, 10 years at Parkview Community Hospital, and started the Candy Stripers (now student volunteer program) at Riverside Community Hospital. Her idea for helping seniors was always there but she didn’t get the chance to implement it until she was offered the opportunity at the Janet Goeske Center. “Janet [Goeske] really was the individual that was responsible for [any of the services] that we have for seniors today. She really was an advocate,” says Marilyn and she is proud to follow in this tradition.
Today approximately 700 people a year “Ask Marilyn” for help tackling a wide variety of societal challenges and changes that impact the senior community. The most common questions typically involve Alzheimer’s Social Security, Medi-Cal, Medicare, Trusts/Wills, Housing and Transportation but nothing is off-limits. “I don’t care what the problem is that a person might have,” Marilyn states, “they can ASK ME ANYTHING! I will tackle ANYTHING!”
According to Marilyn this is probably one of the biggest differences between herself and others (that and the fact that she is “an older person that they can relate to”). She prides herself on tackling any issue a senior might have and going above and beyond what a typical case manager might do. If she thinks of something after you have left your appointment, she will call you with the new information and/or guidance. She says, “One of the reasons, I honestly feel that this program is successful, is because I have many repeat clients that may return 3, 4, or 5 years later with a different problem. If I didn’t help them the first time, I don’t think they would be coming back to me again.”
Marilyn also wants to make sure that people know her appointment slots aren’t exclusively for seniors. “A lot of the time, I find adult children sitting in my office saying ‘I don’t know what to do with my parents’. They come to see me because they don’t know what to do with mom and dad, they don’t know how to handle mom and dad, and they don’t know what their options are.”
All Senior Advisor appointments with Marilyn are FREE but there is one catch . . . “with any suggestion that I give, with anyone that I refer you to, if you still have a problem – you get back to me and let me know. I will never leave anyone hanging out to dry. If you need more help you come back to me.”
Has Marilyn Helped YOU? Please join us at the Janet Goeske Center – 5257 Sierra St. Riverside, CA 92504 – on Wednesday, September 2nd at 2pm to say “Thank You” to Marilyn for 20 years of outstanding service!