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Statement on the Passing of Michael Hickson

First and foremost, we express our deepest condolences to all who loved and cared for Michael Hickson.

Family Eldercare does not seek the responsibility of Guardianship, but we accept the responsibility when appointed by the Court to serve as Guardian of individuals that have been determined to be incapacitated adults.  As advocates for older adults and adults with disabilities, our primary goal is to help people thrive with independence and dignity.  End of life decisions when families are in disagreement can be especially difficult.

As court-appointed Guardian, we consulted with Mr. Hickson’s spouse, family, and the medical community on the medical complexity of his case.  As press reports have disclosed, Mr. Hickson’s spouse, family, and the medical community were in agreement with the decision not to intubate Mr. Hickson.  As Guardian, and in consultation with Mr. Hickson’s family and medical providers, we agreed to the recommendation for hospice care so that Mr. Hickson could receive end-of-life comfort, nutrition and medications, in a caring environment.

When tasked with this responsibility, we are guided by the client’s well-being, the guidance of the medical community, ethics committees and the Texas Guardianship code of ethics.  At end of life, we grieve alongside all who loved and cared for our clients.

Family Eldercare Statement on #BlackLivesMatter

Family Eldercare staff and leadership composed a public statement in support of #BlackLivesMatter.

As experts on the journey of aging, we are not only on the frontlines of aging, poverty, disability, homelessness, and racism, we are leaders in setting an industry standard. Our mission is to ensure that those whom we serve and represent have the ability to thrive with independence and dignity.  Combating racial and systemic injustice is at the forefront of that endeavor. Our agency is committed to the issues of older adults and adults with disabilities, and we must vocally acknowledge that racial and systemic injustice are leading issues for the people we serve.  Although we are late in articulating this publicly, we as an agency believe we must be unequivocal in our support for the Black Lives Matter movement.  Family Eldercare’s commitment to honor Black Lives Matter is a specific yet inclusive effort to uproot white supremacy, and we support actions to end violence against and the systematic targeting of Black lives and communities.

Our commitment to action includes:

 

  1. Investing in regular, on-going, highly skilled trainings and additional relevant resources, particularly those led by Black presenters, which address bias, racism, and systemic discrimination for all staff, leadership, and board members
  2. Diversifying our Leadership Team, Board of Directors, and staff to be representative of and include the lived experience of the communities we serve
  3. Utilizing the City of Austin Equity Office’s Equity Assessment Tool to baseline our organization and annually measure our progress
  4. Forming a Diversity Council to make on-going recommendations and explore solutions to the racial and economic injustices our staff and clients face

 

We also acknowledge that these actions are neither radical nor enough.  To be effective in our anti-racism, we must evaluate our behaviors, actions, and policies on an individual and organizational level with urgency and perseverance.  This is not an issue of the week, month, or year, and it must include and amplify the diverse voices of those we serve.  Family Eldercare is committed to a unified and collective effort to end systemic oppression.

CEO Message to Staff on Anti-Racism

 

Team,

The death of George Floyd is yet another tragic reminder of the bias and violence that exist in our society. This incident, and too many like it, is deeply troubling to those of us working on the front lines to ensure all people regardless of race are treated equally, fairly and with compassion. All of our work together is based on our commitment to the concept that every individual is entitled to participate in and have access to the benefits of our country and to the larger protections of social justice.

What we are seeing across the country is that people are sad and angry, and we are experiencing those feelings as well. We are already going through an incredibly difficult period with COVID-19. The physical distance from each other makes it harder to come together to support each other.  Furthermore, as individuals, we may be experiencing these events from different levels of pain and understanding.

During these difficult times, I urge us all to support each other. Reach out to your supervisors, your peers, friends and mentors. If you need support in your grief, please also make use of the resources that we offer through our employee assistance program.

As an organization, we also have a role to play in dismantling racist systems and structures.  I am proud of the work we do, and I know we can do more.  As we grieve for innocent lives lost, we need to strengthen our resolve to be part of the creation of a better world, a world in which reason and compassion prevail over ignorance and hatred.  As an organization, this means being intentional about our actions and impact, and I welcome your thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

I continue to be impressed by the perseverance and resilience of our team, and I am grateful for the support you provide our clients.  Please know you have the support of me, your supervisor, and your team if you need additional support at this time.

Please stay safe and well.

Kent Herring

Chief Executive Officer

Family Eldercare

If you would like to join us in reflection and are looking for a place to start, this resource is virtual and free to the general public.

Family Eldercare to offer advance care planning for lower income Texans

Family Eldercare’s Guardianship program is the proud recipient of 2020 funding from Texas Bar Foundation to support providing advance care planning services for lower income Texans at low to no cost.

Advance care planning can bring a sense of peace for individuals and their loved ones by providing guidance and direction in the event of a life-altering emergency or at the end of life. However, not everyone has the same access to information or legal services to help develop this important documentation.

Each year, Family Eldercare provides comprehensive Guardianship services for individuals who no longer have the capacity to care for themselves and who do not have a family member who can accept the responsibility to make their health and financial decisions. We accept these clients regardless of the size of their estate and their ability to pay. To help prevent the need for guardianship, Family Eldercare’s in-house experts are expanding their offering to provide advance care planning services to the community. These funds, along with support from the St. David’s Foundation, will allow Family Eldercare to launch the program this summer.

We are grateful to partner with so many legal organizations and philanthropically-minded individuals in the Travis, Williamson, and Hays counties to meet the extensive need for guardianship services, and we are pleased to expand our offering with advance care planning services with the support of Texas Bar Foundation. Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $21 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation.

 

About Family Eldercare:

Recognized experts in the field of aging, Family Eldercare is a community mission-based organization that has proudly served Central Texas since 1982.  Family Eldercare provides a continuum of services to more than 6,500 older individuals, adults with disabilities, veterans and their caregivers annually. 

 

We believe that all Texans, regardless of age or ability, should thrive with dignity and purpose. Family Eldercare services focus on maintaining safe, affordable, and stable housing in the least restrictive environment possible; preventing abuse, neglect, and exploitation; promoting health, well-being, and dignity; and supporting people living on a fixed income.

Prevent COVID-19 Fraud

Scams related to the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, are rapidly increasing as the public health emergency develops. Scammers are targeting older adults and those with serious long-term health conditions who appear to have a higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19.

Fraudsters are attempting to bill Medicare for sham tests or treatments related to the coronavirus and are targeting individuals to illegally obtain money or Medicare numbers.

 

What Can You Do to Stop COVID-19 Fraud?