Where to Find Help for Seniors and Caregivers — services to help seniors stay at home
Part I of a continuing story by Susan LeDoux
In my work as a community health nurse for Monroe County, NY, I quickly learned caregivers and their care receivers are inseparable. Helping one helps the other.
I also learned Monroe County is rich in resources for the elderly. So much so, that G.R.A.P.E. (Greater Rochester Partnership for the Elderly) came about because, with all those resources out there, no one knew who was doing what. Two social workers started G.R.A.P.E to change that. I re-joined G.R.A.P.E so I could share those many resources with you.
This blog is Part I of many to follow under the recurring title “Where to Find Help for the Elderly and Caregivers.” (If you have an immediate need, visit the GRAPE website and at the bottom of the page, click through to Elder Pages for information on resources.)
Virginia Clark, Associate Director, Aging and Adult Services at Catholic Family Center, graciously shared the latest information about CFC’s elder services for this blog series. If you never heard of Catholic Family Center, their description says it best.
“Catholic Family Center (CFC) is Greater Rochester’s largest provider of comprehensive family services. Each year, we assist tens of thousands of our neighbors, relatives and friends as they work to remain or become healthy, productive, participating members of our community. We serve all people — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, ability or gender. Our programs work together to address the many issues of human need across all stages of life.”
EISEP (Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly Program)
Consider the elderly woman who can no longer do basic daily living tasks such as safely getting in and out of the tub, or doing her laundry. She may let those things go because she fears leaving her home for a more costly living arrangement. Perhaps her daughter recognizes her mom needs more help than she is able to give her.
EISEP is perfect for such a situation by providing non-medical assistance that helps people age 60 or older remain in their homes. If you meet the age requirement, live in Monroe County, and need help with activities of daily living, you may want to consider EISEP. (If you are eligible to receive similar services under Medicaid or another governmental program, you are not eligible for EISEP.) Every county in New York State has an EISEP program for its citizens.
- COST is often a barrier, but not with EISEP. Not everyone has that much money for home care and some may be in the process of applying for Medicaid. Catholic Family Center’s fees are on a sliding scale based on income, with many paying little to nothing. Even if your income would trigger a 100% fee, your services would be below market cost. However, case management is always free. (Trust me. As one who hired a case manager for her in-laws in Florida, I can tell you she was worth her weight in gold.)
- Case Management… Just what does a case manager do? A case manager performs a thorough assessment of the person’s situation in the home. Based on the results, the case manager will link the person to appropriate services. Catholic Family Center’s case managers have working relationships with many agencies. Once services are in place, the case manager monitors them and makes changes as needed. For example, they may help a person with the Medicaid application process if that becomes necessary. Most people’s situations are fluid, and the case manager helps the client and caregiver remain on top of things.
- ASIDE FROM CASE MANAGEMENT, WHAT OTHER SERVICES DOES EISEP PROVIDE?
* Housekeeping tasks
* Meal preparation or setting up to receive Meals on Wheels (MOWS)
* Help with personal care like bathing, dressing, grooming
* Access to social day care where the person gets out of the house for a few hours for social interaction (music, games, activities) and a nutritious meal. (This helps maintain mental/emotional status because it utilizes social skills, which people retain longer.) Additionally, social day care provides several hours of respite for caregivers.
* Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) — the “help I fell and I can’t get up button.” Actually, it is useful for other emergencies too. (One of my clients drove a knife wielding intruder out of her apartment when she pressed her PERS button.)
NOTE ABOUT AIDE SERVICE IN MONROE COUNTY… I wish I could tell you that you will get a wonderful aide within a day or two of requesting one. A good Personal Care Aide is a godsend, but there are too few of them. Unfortunately, they can make more money flipping burgers at McDonalds. The aide agencies have a lot of overhead and regulations that preclude paying their people what they would like. One aide coordinator said the best aides are the ones who are in it to help people and not for the money. (Read more about the growing home care worker shortage in this report from CNN.)
The home care agencies that provide the aide service through EISEP contract with CFC. The agencies train the aides and perform background checks. If a person receiving aide service has a concern about the aide, he should contact his EISEP Case Manager, who will take it from there.
That being said, aide service is available, but you may need to wait a bit. Meanwhile, all the other services listed above are immediately available.
It is possible to by-pass the aide agency and employ family or friends to give personal care. This puts you in control, and falls under Consumer Directed Care Program (CDPAP — which I will cover in depth in another blog). EISEP provides a fiscal intermediary to be “employer of record” to handle payroll and workers’ comp for you under Consumer Directed Care.
In Part II, I will cover CFC’s STAR (Support to Aging Residents), Eldersource Care Coordination, and SORP (Services to Older Refugees Program). If you wish to contact Catholic Family Center call (585) 262–7060 and its website is www.cfcrochester.org
Learn more about Susan LeDoux and read more blog stories at www.susanledoux.com