Iveta Marston knows aging presents people with challenging decisions and unchartered territory.
When she hit a crossroads in her career in the health field, she discovered her passion was helping senior citizens navigate their unknowns.
Marston started a consulting business, All Taken Care Of, to help the aging community with every crossroad they may encounter.
“For me personally, the driving source behind my business was to truly bring some clarity and more organizational aspect to senior citizens, who are so often overwhelmed with these services,” Marston said. “There’s a strong practical aspect. The focus for me is to help people to remain not just independent but also to maintain their desires and wishes.”
A few years ago Marston started consulting clients by word of mouth about services available to the senior community, from house cleaning to retirement facilities, to financial and legal advisors people can trust. But now her services are available to the public, and she charges for them.
She feels she has the expertise. She’s lived in the Williamsburg area for 29 years and worked in the healthcare field for 25.
She was a registered nurse at Riverside Hospital and Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital, the director of education at a nursing home, director of independent living in a retirement community and a manager at a private healthcare facility in Williamsburg. She was also an account executive in the marketing department for hospice services at Gentiva Health Services.
“I feel blessed and fortunate enough to work with many of our local physicians or family practitioner groups, hospitals (and) all retirement communities,” Marton said. “ (At Gentiva) my focus was to establish a relationship with all the local health-related facilities, and doctors and doctors offices and hospitals and retirement communities and so forth and (the) general public, providing seminars and informational events.”
Not only did her experience allow her to establish important relationships, but it revealed a stark reality: Over 40 million Americans are unpaid caretakers and the number is growing. And a growing number of adults are childless — they are without any family support as they face the challenges of their future.
Diane Hartley, vice president of care coordination at the Peninsula Agency on Aging, said the number of seniors in the greater Williamsburg area is rapidly increasing, as is the number of caregivers.
“We know there are more and more seniors and they are becoming older and older seniors. So now the fastest growing demographic is in our greater Williamsburg area,” Hartley said. “We are seeing more and more people are becoming caregivers. You’ve heard the term the sandwich generation, it’s people who still have children but are also caring for parents.”
The Peninsula Agency on Aging is a nonprofit organization that provides information, referrals and assessments with a licensed social worker and a registered nurse, to seniors, often for free or on a sliding cost scale.
They offer transportation to doctor visits and work with organizations like the Legal Aid Society, Meals on Wheels and local churches to provide home-cooked meals or respite for caregivers.
There are a lot of resources for seniors in the Williamsburg area, Hartley said, such as Williamsburg Faith In Action and the Riverside Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health.
Marston wants to act as a window to these resources. When something happens people really need a core, she said, a phone number and a person to listen.
Nanci Bond, a retiree in Williamsburg, suddenly became a widow three years ago and found herself in need of guidance. With her family in California, she felt disorganized and overwhelmed. She knew Marston through a mutual friend and asked her for help.
“I was just so amazed at how she handles things. We’re going over my trust and realizing some of the things were not what I wanted,” Bond said. “I just get angry, I get frustrated, but Iveta just explains very calmly and concisely to the person that we’re dealing with what we need and then she calmly looked the woman in the eye and said, ‘And we’ll need that by 5 o’clock this afternoon, I’ll give you a phone call.’ And that’s how she proceeds. She’s very fair and straightforward, but she keeps track of things.”
Bond said Marston makes her feel secure. She knows Bond’s family, her financial advisor, trustee and attorney and Bond meets with Marston once a year to go over any changes.
“To have her to kind of hold your hand and be calm and know the ins and out of people’s families, relationships. She’s a good listener, she knows what it is you want to do and what you want to accomplish and she just helps to follow up and see that those kinds of things are taken care of,” Bond said. “For so many of us here, widows, widowers people who maybe don’t have kids, somebody's going to have to pick up the pieces.”
Marston believes people’s primary investment should be in their well-being and enjoyable aging, and the first step is a conversation.
“Most of the time I’m being asked from 65 years and up, ‘Where do I start? What do I need to know in order to maintain my independence?’,” Marston said. “It starts with a conversation. It starts with shining a light on the services that are available. Many people have an idea of what they’d like to do and what they wish to do but they don’t really know the steps toward it. I would like to help them step by step to build this independent future.”
Want to know more?
» Iveta Marston can be reached for consultation at 757-254-5654 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
» The Peninsula Agency on Aging has information on their services at 757-873-0541.
Martin can be reached at (757)-243-3685, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @SaraRoseMartin.