Your advocate is someone who is trying to convince someone else to do something that will be helpful to you.  For example, if your daughter calls the doctor to schedule or reschedule your appointment, she is advocating for you. An advocate has no legal obligation to help you.  They do it voluntarily. Sometimes a person will advocate for a whole group of people. For example, a lobbyist is an advocate for the group he or she represents. Many seniors have several advocates, ranging from family members to care providers.


A fiduciary is a person who has a legal obligation to put your financial wishes and well-being ahead of their own.  For example, if you have signed a health care or general power of attorney, your agent cannot use your money or property to benefit him or her self.  If you have a trust, the trustee must make good decisions that are consistent with the instructions in the trust. Your bank serves in a fiduciary role. They must make sure your money is safe and available for you when you want it back.


An agent is a person who has been given a specific task.  Most agents are also fiduciaries. When you sign a health care power of attorney or a general power of attorney, you are creating an agent.  The person you have named to carry out your wishes is the agent.


A substitute decision-maker is someone who has the legal authority to not just carry out tasks, but to actually make decisions for another person.  An agent under a health care power of attorney or a general power of attorney is a substitute decision-maker, even though the principal may have kept some rights to continue making his or her own decisions.   A guardian and conservator are also substitute decision-makers who have been appointed by a court. In that case, the law dictates what decisions they are allowed to make independently and what types of decisions they cannot make without getting permission from the court.


The principal is the person who has given someone else the authority to act on his or her behalf.  If you have signed a health care or durable power of attorney document, you are the principal.

Iowa Senior Advocates engages in many activities.

Participates in discussions and forums to help to formulate policies and laws that benefit and protect seniors, their caregivers, and their fiduciaries. Examples include membership in the Central Iowa Health Provider’s Network, Dallas County Health Provider’s Network, Iowa Health Care Association, and a representative member in the Iowa Bar Association Probate and Elder Law Sections.

Events will become available soon

Board of Directors:

Bethany Jeffries


Janice Koopman


David Letsch