Elder Law of Michigan (ELM) is proud to host the Joe D. Sutton Call to Justice Awards. The Call to Justice Awards honor those individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the fields of law and aging. Leading up to the awards, ELM will be sharing what our honorees have to say first-hand about their experiences in the fields of law and aging. Lynn Alexander, Vice President of Public Affairs, Presbyterian Villages of Michigan, and honoree at the Southeast Michigan Call to Justice Awards, shared with ELM why she got involved with helping the aging community.
A: “I grew up in a Caregiver household. My parents took care of all four of my grandparents over a 21 year period of time. However, I did not become involved in working with older adults until I was tapped by Governor John Engler to become a member of the State Commission on Aging. That experience transformed my career; and twenty years later I remain dedicated to working with seniors. Governor Engler knew before I did what my true calling was in life.”
Q: What do you find most rewarding about the work that you do?
A: “My work is always interesting and uplifting. To see the resilience and optimism of seniors is truly inspiring.”
Q: What is the hardest part about your job?
A: “To know that there are still so many seniors in need. And most importantly, to find out about horrific stories of abuse, neglect, and exploitation.”
Q: Do you have a memorable client story to share?
A: “When I interviewed a member of the Thome Rivertown PACE – SE Michigan Program (Program For All Inclusive Care for the Elderly), the woman I interviewed was dressed to the nines with lovely jewelry and her hair and makeup done beautifully. She had a look of joy on her face as she recounted her story. Before entering our program she was very ill and could hardly get out of bed. She thought she was going to die in her bed. With needed healthcare, nutrition, and exercise, along with social interaction, she turned her life around. And she said with pride that she was now the deejay for PACE events.”
Q: Why do you continue working in this field?
A: “Because it continues to inspire me. When I finished my tenure as the director of the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging, I debated as to whether to return to corporate America as a training consultant. It did not take me long to realize that I was where I belonged.”
Q: What do you think will be the biggest need for seniors in the next 10 years?
A: “With the aging of the population financial literacy will be key. Access to healthcare and needed services will also be important. Home and community based services so they can remain in their home if they would like. And affordable housing for those in need.”
Q: How does Elder Law of Michigan help in the work that you do?
A: “The advocacy which Elder Law of Michigan provides, help with legal and pension issues for seniors, and the important work they have done throughout Michigan to combat elder abuse.”
The Joe D. Sutton Call to Justice Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the fields of law and aging. This year, Elder Law of Michigan (ELM) is celebrating the contributions of our honorees across Michigan at three awards receptions in Southeast, West, and Mid-Michigan. Award receptions include a cocktail hour featuring hors d’oeuvres and cash bar, followed by an awards ceremony celebrating our distinguished honorees. Tickets can be purchased online at www.elderlawofmi.org/calltojustice. Net proceeds from the Call to Justice Awards will benefit ELM through the Access to Justice Fund. For more information about the Call to Justice Awards, including biographies of all of our honorees, please visit our website.