Naomi Dreskin-Anderson has been an advocate for seniors for the past 40 years.
She originally worked in the county government sector, but almost 20 years ago she switched gears and became an elder law attorney.
“It’s been an incredibly fulfilling choice of career,” said Dreskin-Anderson.
“You get a lot of satisfaction when you are able to do something that improves somebody’s life.”
Dreskin-Anderson’s law practice is based in Napa.
1. How did you get into elder care?
Before college I volunteered at a nursing home in upstate New York, after the nursing home scandals in the 1960s came to light.
The federal nursing home protection act was being implemented as a result. The work was extremely challenging, but it was also very rewarding, personally.
2. What’s a common response you get when people find out you’re an elder law attorney?
“Wow, that’s really important these days with so many people getting older.”
We’re all kind of waking up to the fact that were in an aging society and that brings with it many issues. Everybody has experienced some of the challenges whether themselves or their parents or grandparents.
It impacts everybody.
3. What is the biggest challenge the elder care industry faces?
The assisted living and home care industries have exploded with the aging of the Baby Boomers—my generation.
But so have the problems faced by seniors, who find themselves increasingly vulnerable to being taken advantage of by unscrupulous individuals and uncaring institutions.
The challenge is to remain vigilant at a time when the needs of seniors can become conveniently invisible.
4. What’s on your to-do list?
At the top is to continue doing the important work of the Napa County Commission on Aging. I have served on the Commission for several years, but the unaddressed needs of our senior population are ongoing.
Not only is there a shortage of affordable housing for seniors, there is also a growing crisis for our elders who need both affordable housing AND health and personal care services.
At the same time, I am dedicated to providing quality legal services to my own clients in my law practice. The two jobs go hand-in-hand.
5. If you could change one thing about the elder care industry, what would it be?
Broader access to legal services for everyone.
6. Who do you most admire in the business world?
I most admire Patricia McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a nonprofit advocacy and consumer information agency.
I admire her passion, her dedication and her resilience.
7. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?
Travel to Israel.
8. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I was a singer and an actor, and I was pretty good. From my youth to young adulthood, I was a folk singer and I performed back in New York (in) community theater.
9. What job would you like to try/not try?
Try: Conductor of an orchestra.
Not try: Math teacher.
10. What was your childhood ambition?
I had two: to be a musical theater star on Broadway and to be a lawyer.