As I work to listen more and more with those on the journey of caregiving, I am learning of new and better ways I can engage with those that need help. At Engage Care Partners, our goal is to make the journey gentler and help wherever we can - meeting you wherever you are in the services you need.
There are three key areas where we see the greatest need: Advanced Planning, Care Navigation, and Doula Support Services.
Administrative tasks such as putting together the proper paperwork to ensure wishes are honored by naming Powers of Attorney or Health Care Proxies and implementing Advanced Directives can be overwhelming. So often we start this process too late, when there is a need after a hospitalization or after our loved one can no longer voice their concerns or manage their affairs--making an already stressful and emotional season even more chaotic. We always meant to have those conversations, but we put them off because they are uncomfortable or we trust our loved ones will have our best interest at heart and make the best calls for us. We think we know what's best, but we find ourselves second-guessing our choices and wish we had true confirmation of what mom or dad wanted. We think we can wing it - but soon learn we wish we had planned better.
When it comes to caregiving, some of the biggest burdens are scheduling, coordinating, and feeling confident in our choices when it comes to choosing additional care services. We don't know what we don't know until we find ourselves in it. And while there is a plethora of resources available to us, it can almost become overwhelming as we research and need to make a quick decision. When participating in listening sessions and support groups - the greatest needs of those on the caregiving journey with a loved one that has a chronic illness stated that care navigation is where they need the most help. They want to work with someone that has lived through these challenges themselves to know the best resources, tools, solutions, products and services that can affordably make their jobs and selection easier. They want to work with someone locally that has built the relationships and network to know how to help them navigate it. And they want someone that is compassionate and truly has their best interest at heart.
Most caregivers are well beyond burnout mode when they finally conclude they need help, only to find out that they must wait for approvals or add their names to long waiting lists to receive the additional services they need -- creating even more exhaustion and burnout. Having a long-term care plan in place can help ease those transitions, and having an advocate negotiate on your behalf with a connected relationship can help increase success in placement and minimize the disruption of services.
Doula Support Services
When it comes to hospice and home health, even community and facility care, we find there are gaps and administrative tasks that can become quite overwhelming. We make assumptions that the services will provide more than they do - and those service providers generally anticipate and assume we know more about caregiving than we do, especially in more advanced stages. We may be met with insurance denials we must fight and appeal, or find ourselves advocating for our loved one's care when we discover neglectful areas. Having a guide through it all as one single point of contact to act on your family's behalf helps set appropriate expectations and reduce overall burdens when it comes to coordinating care and end-of-life services, as well as filling critical emotional and spiritual gaps sometimes missing throughout the hospice process.
We think we know what boxes need to be checked, but we get blindsided. There is so much to do, so many moving parts and pieces, so many people to work with - the need to streamline the approach is one of the greatest needs reported by more than 80% of the people at listening sessions sponsored by the Adira Foundation - a non-profit organization supporting the primary neurodegenerative conditions impacting us today. Most agree, it just shouldn't be so hard.
We live in a very different, distracted, and socially isolating world despite technological advances compared to our ancestors. Navigating care is much more difficult. Generations ago, families were taught caregiving. They didn't call 911 - they were 911. Parents instilled caregiving training into their children to help with their aging parents because they lived together in multi-generational households. They were driven by instinct and developed nurturing capabilities to care for their families and neighbors simply because they had no other choice. They accepted their circumstances and didn't fear death nearly as much as we do today - they understood it to be a part of life whereas we are always hoping for a medical miracle and the next big save.
So many of us feel lost when it comes to caregiving. Not just making sure we are taking care of our loved ones well, but trying to navigate the paperwork, insurance approvals, constant therapy services, and medication. At a time when we should be focused on spending meaningful moments with our loved ones, we are constantly distracted by the administrative tasks impacting our cherished time. But, you can choose a simpler approach by tapping into geriatric care management, care navigation and coordination, or doula support services.
At Engage Care Partners - we want to be your consultant to help you streamline these services. We can help you navigate the financial, medical, and legal items you need to document and prepare for seamless transitions. We support the caregiver -whether choosing home or at a community - to host a safe and supportive environment for aging in place. We can be there from diagnosis through end-of-life to be your voice, advocate, and partner in caring for those you love. We purposefully keep our client base small so that we can fully engage with those partnering with us for their care so that your wishes are honored, and your comfort is supported. Whether you are an individual who needs support or are surrounded by family, we work to engage in your care for a gentle approach.