The adage that getting old isn’t for sissies is more than an amusing old saw.

Good medical care, advanced technology and healthier lifestyles all make it possible to live longer and stay active deep into our senior years — but old age comes with some big challenges.

A senior or a family caring for a senior will inevitably run up against a time when they need help. And it pays to be ready with a plan and a roadmap — before a crisis forces your hand.

Bend Senior Care management provides a range of services that help families navigate the challenges of dealing with medical and financial systems to maximize quality of life and peace of mind in the sunset years. They offer everything from medical patient advocacy to assessment of financial picture to life-enrichment activity and socialization.

“These people have done so much for our country,” said Jennifer Rogers, certified care manager with Bend Senior Care Management. “People are living so much longer, and they’re falling through the cracks of the system. We are their advocates.”

Rogers notes that it is much better to seek help when things are going relatively well. An aging care professional can do an assessment that covers medical and psychological needs and evaluate such questions as whether they have a trust and advance directive and who has power of attorney.

That said, Rogers knows that many times Bend Senior Care Management is going to get the call when things are dire.

“It’s so stressful to plan in a crisis situation, but it does happen,” she said. “The majority of times we are planning in a crisis situation.”

Caring for an older parent who may need to move into assisted living is challenging under any circumstances and nearly overwhelming if family members live a distance away. The goal for Rogers is to preserve the elder’s dignity in a situation where they may feel that so many things are being taken away from them.

“We try our best to let that person live with as much autonomy as possible,” Rogers said.

Rogers noted that Bend Senior Care Management recently helped a family in the Sisters area where there were issues with a home-care provider who was taking financial advantage of an elderly woman who lived alone locally. The relative with power of attorney lived elsewhere and sought help from Bend Senior Care Management.

Bend Senior Care Management notified authorities to investigate the caregiver, activated a long-term care policy the family had in place and got the woman moved into assisted living.

“About a month ago, we took her over to Eugene to the Hult Center to see the ‘Wicked’ production,” Rogers recalled.

Sadly, the woman fell and her health declined severely. Bend Senior Care Management coordinated hospice care and the woman recently died.

However, Rogers takes comfort in the knowledge that her last days were much better than they had been or might otherwise have been.

“She went out with such a better quality of life,” she said. “She was happy at the end.”

Such are the rewards that come with what can be a very challenging field.

“You have to have a connection with seniors,” Rogers said. “Some people are kid people and some are senior people.”

For herself, Rogers loves interacting with a generation of elders who contributed mightily to their world — and she is proud to act as their advocate.