For many of us, asking for help is extremely difficult. We are independent individuals who have taken care of ourselves, raised families, managed careers, and contributed to our communities.
However, sometimes we may struggle to do all we once were able to do for ourselves. The assistance we need may be as simple as a ride to a medical appointment, or it may involve long-term care for a chronic disability.
Oftentimes, families I meet with have found themselves in a situation where there is an immediate need for assistance. This can occur when there is a major medical event or when someone has been struggling in silence for an extended period, and the family is just becoming aware of the magnitude of the problem.
Of course, knowing your options and developing a plan before you need the help will provide the best safety net.
Asking for assistance is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it is an indication you care enough to ensure your needs are being met.
Where to Turn for Help
Many people turn to their families for assistance when the need arises. Pay close attention to your loved ones, as they often ask for help non-verbally in ways easily overlooked.
But what about those of us whose family is not a viable option? There are several resources available, from your local community senior center such as The Senior Source, your county’s Agency on Aging, and faith-based organizations such as Catholic Charities and Jewish Family Services.
Another available option is a private Care Manager.
Care Managers are professional facilitators of personal services. They have broad knowledge of the various options for care and assistance in your area, as well as the quality and pricing of such services.
Care Managers can provide customized recommendations and information, helping their clients make the best care decisions for their needs. They can generally handle everything from arranging transportation to helping a client transition to a senior living community.
While there are several national and franchised organizations that can offer referrals for housing and other care options, you are likely to get more personalized service and deeper insights by using a local private Care Manager. The Aging Life Care Association provides educational resources and a nationwide search feature to help you locate local certified Care Managers specializing in aging life care.
Choosing the Right Care to Provide the Help You Need
Sheryl Radman, owner of Dallas-based Radman Aging Life Strategies, sees herself primarily in the roles of strategist and advocate. As a strategist, she is tasked with understanding her clients’ concerns and issues, devising an actionable plan to address them, and then executing that plan. As an advocate, she ensures each of her clients receives the care they need at the level they need it. Being the eyes and ears of her clients — and ensuring they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve — is her primary focus.
In choosing a Care Manager, Radman advises that various backgrounds are represented in the industry. Some Care Managers have a background in social work or nursing. Some offer services such as guardianship and power of attorney agent. Others focus solely on the physical needs of clients.
Finding the right Care Manager depends on the needs of each individual. Radman suggests asking prospective Care Managers about the breadth of the services they offer to ensure they are well-positioned to meet your needs. She cautions that, while it’s nice to ask friends and colleagues for referrals, you should never base this decision solely on the opinions of others.
Whether you rely on family, community resources, a private Care Manager, or a combination thereof, it is important that you receive the assistance you need.
And the critical element in ensuring you are well cared-for is asking for help when you need it.