MARK, STATIONED AT FORT CARSON, COMES INTO THE AREA AGENCY ON AGING with concerns about his mother, Brenda, who has just relocated to Colorado to be nearer to Mark and his family. Brenda, 78, has been under a great deal of stress, associated with her recent move to a new community. Mark isn’t able to manage all of Brenda’s needs and finds that he needs some support himself, as he tries to learn about resources in the community for his mother and himself.
Mark and Brenda are directed by friends to talk to the team at the Area Agency on Aging, whose focus is serving seniors and their family members. Brenda and Mark start with the PPACG Family Caregiver Support Center, where the case manager meets with them one-on-one for over an hour, listening to them both share their concerns and asking follow-up questions that will allow him to make the best referrals possible. The case manager recommends that Mark attend one of the classes for caregivers offered by the center. This class will help Mark better help Brenda, and therefore relieve some of the stress of being a caregiver for a family member.
As part of the conversation, it becomes clear that Brenda needs some extra help at home but has limited income. She may qualify for assistance through Medicaid. A center case manager from the PPACG Information & Assistance Center joins the conversation and agrees to meet with Brenda at a later date, to help her with completing a Medicaid application. The case manager tell Brenda and Mark that if they are ever interested in local assisted living residences, they can talk to the PPACG Ombudsman team and learn about what is available in the community. The case manager also provides Brenda with a Yellow Book, which has over 800 agency and business listings that serve seniors. To Mark, the case manager recommends the on-line resource of www.pikespeak.co.networkofcare.org/aging.
Brenda also needs to see a doctor and receive new prescriptions for the insulin she takes daily to treat her diabetes. She has Medicare and needs to find a doctor that will accept Medicare as payment for her appointments. A counselor from the PPACG Senior Insurance Assistance office is invited to join the conversation. She is able to provide Mark and Brenda with a list of doctors in the Pikes Peak region who accept Medicare. The PPACG Senior Insurance Assistance counselor also helps Brenda choose a new Medicare prescription plan, one that provides good overage for the medications that she takes to treat her diabetes and has the least out of pocket cost to her.
Brenda and Mark leave the PPACG Area Agency on Aging feeling well-informed and supported. They feel as if they have just joined a team, and that everyone is working together to help them to help themselves.
Editor’s note: Article submitted by Gretchen Bricker of Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging. She may be reached at 719-471-2096, x 143