As a result of a Community Focus Group held in November 2012, there was a call from participants for a follow-up meeting to begin to address the issues that came up during the initial focus group and consider possible solutions.
On Jan. 16 the Community Action Group, composed of a small group of committed volunteers, met to review the initial findings and developed recommendations that it feels would be helpful to anyone in this community who is providing care for an older adult.
The following recommendations were made to help further identify and resolve the issues:
Issue 1: “Silos” of Care (public agencies, nonprofits, for profit business) that hinder the accessibility of all information and resources available to assist the consumer that is seeking assistance with care provision. How can we affect the social policy of these agencies/organizations/business to encourage overall collaboration and transparency for the good of the community and consumers at large? Community residents need to know all the resources available to them.
Issue 2: One Stop Shop i.e., Sacramento Planning Council (211) where information and referral to all available resources are available with a phone call or e-mail. El Dorado County has resources but knowing where to seek help can be difficult. Individuals providing care and seeking the help have limited time and resources to make multiple phone calls or spend scarce time on the Internet to see what’s available, who can qualify, how much it costs, if it is a good resource, etc. There is no universal recognition of a one-stop place as the “go to expert” on all older adult issues.
Note: Older Adult Resource directory with a comprehensive list of resources is available at elderoptionsca.com.
Issue 3: Interpersonal relationship issues around the care of an older adult to include:
a. Understanding, acceptance and resolution of conflicts within support system of adult children, siblings, spouse, etc.
b. Financial collaboration and support by support system and financial/legal advisors.
Supports in this area are limited, not well known and may be nonexistent for some families. Families should know the resources when they need them and not hear of them six months after the care recipient’s death or placement.
Issue 4: Caregivers need an experienced ear to listen, vent and provide advice with reminders for self-care as well. People don’t know choices or who to ask.
A good referral, a knowledgeable person to talk with, a forum to learn and understand. Where do individuals providing care turn to when they need someone who understands?
Issue 5: Housing. Remaining in the home setting “aging in place” is not possible for everyone. There needs to be a greater awareness among planning and housing experts of the number of aging adults who wish to remain in the community but need a housing alternative. Due to individual needs, wait lists and limited selections, older adults and their families seek placement opportunities in Folsom, Sacramento or Roseville due to limited selection in El Dorado County.
How can El Dorado County look forward to the increasing housing needs for this population and allow the individuals to remain close to family and friends in their own community?
Issue 6: Planning for the future. What to expect. Having the tenacity to persevere. How to know what to do. Having exposure to newest technologies, newest research, best durable medical equipment to help support continued living at home.
What scenario can be developed to assist individuals with chronic disease i.e., Parkinson’s or mild cognitive impairment plan for the future?
Issue 7: Community education around issues of older adults. Some workshops open to the public that included respite care for the care recipient was spoken of highly but ongoing continued education seems to be lacking. Education from and through the healthcare providers is needed with good honest communication around diagnosis, prognosis and recommendations for community resources and support.
How can the education community collaborate to assist with overall education and training to assist individuals caring for family members so there are ongoing classes available at no cost or nominal fee for all?
For more information contact Carol S. Heape, executive director/CEO at Elder Options Inc. at 530-626-6939.