Personalized Care Advisors for Mom and Dad
Photography provided by Tom Uhlman
“Thank you for the role you played in our father’s life last year,” writes a client’s family to Marian Riestenberg, RN, at Living Well Senior Solutions. “Your competency, compassion and respect for him made all the difference to him and our family.”
Knowing where to turn when an elderly parent needs assistance and extra care can be stressful and the source of much anxiety. That’s why, in 2008, Episcopal Retirement Homes started their Living Well Senior Solutions (LWSS) program.
“The priority is to identify problems specific to the situation, the possible solutions and coordinate appropriate services while keeping families informed,” says Peggy Slade-Sowders, director of LWSS. “We function as a local support, often for those living out of the area, which may help to avoid additional costly trips home to check on mom and dad.”
“We work with families who have challenges and don’t know what the right care for their parents should look like,” continues Slade-Sowders. “Our care managers become extended family members, helping out when the immediate family isn’t able or doesn’t know how to resolve the problem.”
Predominantly RNs, all of the LWSS Aging Life Care™ professionals are licensed and experienced experts in the area of eldercare.
“Our team knows the challenges older adults face,” explains Slade-Sowders. “And they know how to communicate with older adults effectively. LWSS care managers are knowledgeable about medical issues and they also know how to deal with situations that are unrelated to health.”
LWSS care managers will work to assess each client’s unique situation, goals and lifestyle in order to offer the best choices that fit that client’s particular needs. Recommendations and action items are prioritized which can reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed. By partnering with their clients and families they find the best solutions to complex problems.
“They know how to handle issues like housing, benefits, insurance, safety issues and the importance of socialization and staying connected.”
“Our care plan is proactive,” says Slade-Sowders “as we look for big red flags that may otherwise go unnoticed.”
By providing regular visits, the LWSS care managers ensure the safety and wellbeing of their clients in order to avoid hospitalization. These trusted eldercare specialists accompany clients to the doctor, communicate with medical professionals, monitor medication compliance, add safety equipment like ramps or shower chairs, take note of nutrition issues such as eating habits and weight fluctuation and help clients understand and use new technology.
“By being so proactive and observant,” says Slade-Sowders, “we prevented at least 10 hospitalizations last year. We are vigilant when it comes to preventative care, which is not only great for the client but also reduces the medical bills and insurance costs.”
LWSS care manager, Betsy Babb, RN, attributes her success in helping her client retain the independence of living at home by not only keeping close communication lines open with her client, the client’s family and the attending physicians – but by also managing the client’s care for multiple chronic conditions and physical challenges.
“I wish all of my patients had this level of follow-up,” noted the physician when Babb took her client for a recent office visit.
“Even though most of our staff are RNs,” says Slade-Sowders, “they know that social activities are just as important to clients as where they live and what medications they take.”
Slade-Sowders and her team have been able to get clients involved in their favorite hobbies again and provide opportunities for them to engage with others.
“We find things that are meaningful for them,” explains Slade-Sowders. “We’ve gotten people to participate in continuing-education programs, piano lessons, quilting, sculpting and knitting. We even help client’s travel across country and Europe.”
One family also needed to relocate their parent to Ohio from another state and called upon Slade-Sowders to find the right accommodations and services that fit the client’s needs and required levels of care. To help alleviate the stress that comes with moving, Slade-Sowders coordinated the visit, specialized transportation, the moving services and eased the transition for the clients when they arrived at their new home.
“I wish I could express what a superb job Peggy did,” writes a friend of the client. “She provided my dear friend with travel arrangements, transportation and a list of options for her to consider. Peggy carved the decision-making down to size and I saw the look of relief in my friend’s eyes and I was so grateful.
“Peggy’s high level of professionalism is matched by her knowledge, compassion, humanity and genuine warmth.”
Living Well Senior Solutions is a service of Episcopal Retirement Homes. For more information contact the Aging Life Care™ professionals team at 513.561.0222 or visit www.livingwellseniorsolutions or read our blog at tinyurl.com/LWSS-Care-Team.