JF&CS News Winter 2013

mother and daughterYour widowed 85-year-old mother lives in Chicago – should you move her closer to you? Your grandfather broke his hip and is getting out of the hospital next Tuesday – what kind of care will he need? Am I eligible for subsidized housing? What's the difference between a nursing home and assisted living?

These are the kinds of questions the staff of CJP SeniorDirect get every day. In fact, experienced social workers Candice Gould, LCSW, LMHC and Marjorie Raskin, LICSW receive almost 1,000 calls a year from seniors, their families, social workers, physicians, clergy, and others in Massachusetts and across the country.

CJP SeniorDirect is a free information and resource service funded by Combined Jewish Philanthropies and staffed by JF&CS eldercare professionals who take the time to understand questions and connect families with the resources and expert advice they need. Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Candy and Marjorie answer questions and help figure out needs, direct callers to appropriate resources, and help navigate the complex and often confusing elder care system. They are knowledgeable about the issues older adults face and well-versed with the full range of Boston's eldercare services and government-subsidized programs and benefits.

CJP SeniorDirect was launched in 2005 to help members of the community gain access to resources and to meet a growing need. Nearly one-quarter of US households include a family caregiver for someone 50 or older. These families have a wide range of needs, from insurance questions, housing eligibility, social programs, and transportation to medication management and mental health.

"Some callers are in the middle of a crisis. Their parents need to make a transition soon. Others are planning for the future and wondering what their role would be as a caregiver," said Marjorie.

She recalled a woman who called looking for housing for her mother. She didn't know if she could afford an assisted living facility or what her other options were. As Marjorie and the caller spoke, she realized that there were a number of day-to-day issues related to her mother's health and safety that needed to be addressed before her housing changed.

Marjorie recommended the steps the woman could take right away to keep her mother safe including home care services, a medication management evaluation, communication with her mother's primary care physician, and Visiting Nurse Association services, including physical therapy.

"We provide education to caregivers about the ways they can help, how to know what their abilities and limitations are, and how to set priorities. I helped this loving daughter understand what control she had over the situation," said Marjorie. "We meet callers where they are."

To find out more about resources available to help you or a senior in your life, call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 800-980-1982. We look forward to helping you!

For more information, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or email your questions via our contact us page.