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Partnering with a Care Manager

By Rona S. Bartelstone, LCSW, BCD, CMC

(Page 3 of 3)

The care manager also worked with Brian to help him understand how the long term care policy would work and how to allocate its use so that the pool of funds would not be depleted too quickly.  This was a particular concern for Mr. C because he was healthy and could live with his dementing illness for many years.  If he used all of his benefits early on in the disease process, this would leave him without support in the later stages of the illness when he would need more help, not less.

The care manager was able to work with this family to bring Mrs. C home after her rehab stay.  They were able to be alone for 14 hours each day with the ERS in place.  Gradually, as Mrs. C became more frail and Mr. C more forgetful, they had to again have 24 hour care.  Mr. C, however, was able to continue in day care so that the aide would not be overwhelmed with the care of both of them every day.

Eighteen months later, when Mrs. C died, the care manager helped the family support Mr. C through his grief and eventually move him to an Alzheimer’s specific assisted living facility.  After a brief adjustment period, Mr. C began to flourish in the new residence.  He began participating in social activities, he made many friends and he once again seemed content.

Brian and the rest of the family were grateful to the care manager who helped them navigate a complex, fragmented system of health and social services for his parents.  Because of his lack of knowledge of these systems and the particular illnesses that his parents had, he felt that he would not have been able to handle his parents’ care as well as he had.  He was also relieved that although they spent their own resources to pay for their care, there was still an estate that would help him with his children’s college education.  Finally, as a result of the education he received through this wrenching experience, Brian began to work on his own financial, insurance and legal planning for the potentiality of his own disability.  He did not want his children to be left without guidance, as he had by his own parents.

Rona S. Bartelstone, LCSW, BCD, CMC, C-ASWCM, is Senior Vice President of Care Management at Senior Bridge.  She has worked in eldercare for more than 35 years. During this time, she had her own care management and homecare company, Rona Bartelstone Associates, from 1981–2008. Rona has taught at Nova University in their Masters Degree Gerontology Program, and at FL International University, Graduate School of Social Work on Geriatric Care Management. Rona is a also family caregiver for members of her immediate family across three generations.

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