Resources for Clients on the Move
by Felicia Juntunen, CMC, ECM Director of Care Management
In our work at Elder Care Management, we often encounter older adults on the precipice of making a move –either because their current home has become too much to manage, or because declining health makes the current home no longer safe. Common obstacles to accomplishing a move include a lack of information about available options, or ideas of overwhelm about organizing a move. For those who have spent years in the same home, this can seem an insurmountable task. It’s not unusual for an older adult to know someone who has made a move to a senior housing community which may influence their decision for their own move. In our role as care managers, we seek to educate our clients and their families about housing options and steer them toward resources so they can make the best possible decision when the time for a move arrives. We also connect clients with services that will support the logistics of a move.
Senior placement agents are professionals who understand the different levels of care available for older adults and know which licensed senior communities deliver that care. They develop familiarity with local communities, large and small, monitor licensing issues, costs, what services are included, and other factors which influence the “best fit” of a community. A skilled placement agent will take into consideration a client’s budget, and just as importantly will assess the client (or work closely with the client’s care manager) to understand what the care needs of that individual include. Geographic location is sometimes a factor, and the size of the community is also important in proposing choices that will best suit the older adult. A placement agent can also assist people with advance planning, to help tour communities before a move is necessary. As care managers, we are familiar with all levels of care and many communities where we have clients residing. However, we look to local placement agents to assist us and our clients in finding appropriate settings. Placement agents have a special role in our work supporting clients and we continually count on their expertise.
After locating the right community, the next step in planning a move is rallying the necessary support to make it happen. Elder Care Management refers clients to senior move specialists who can handle the details of a move to varying degrees. A move specialist can work with the client to plan which furnishings to take and will create a floor plan for the new setting. They can arrange for and handle all the packing, moving, unpacking, and placement of furnishings and belongings. Move specialists are skilled at helping set up the new home environment so it feels familiar to the client and helps them adapt more easily to their new setting.
Elder Care Management care managers regularly assist and support clients and their families through every phase of a move –networking with placement agents and move specialists to accomplish the job of getting the client settled and comfortable in an appropriate setting. Likewise, these professionals will at times refer to Elder Care Management to support their clients who need additional resources once their services are concluded. We are grateful to these partners for their assistance during what is often a challenging time in our clients’ lives.