Over 24 years ago, we at Care Service Options established our local senior care placement agency based on principles and ethics that we envisioned would endure the test of time. Having come from a strong ministerial background as well as a strong community-based Oregonian upbringing, coupled with a high-tech employee-based Tektronix type philosophy, we worked hard to provide seniors and their families with a senior care placement service that would help match seniors with quality and appropriate senior care providers. We looked for caring-spirited and responsive team-focused employees, while demanding the same from ourselves. We were, and are, teamplayers with local medical and community-based senior related professionals.
In 1986, Senior Care in Oregon was developing as a model for the rest of the nation. Assisted Living as a concept was beginning to take shape with small locally-owned companies; options for senior care began to include care in family environments and homes referred to as Adult Foster Care; placement agencies, such as Care Service Options, were few in number and locally owned. Within the senior care community, there was a genuine spirit of working together within the local community to help enrich the life of seniors needing quality care.
Although today the Senior Care landscape has changed, your opinion and your spirit still matter and can help chart the course for the next generation. As we have seen in political events throughout the world when people decide that their voice needs to be heard, they can and do affect the outcome. As large national Assisted Living corporations continue to expand, as the term “Adult Foster Care” has evolved to now focus more on large private rooms with private baths, rather than family-oriented enviroments, and as new nationally francised-based senior placement agencies seem to burst upon the local scene almost monthly, it is imperative that your voice be heard. In the weeks and months ahead, we will be seeking to hear your concerns and your hopes. In a series of blogs we will address various areas of senior care.
In Part 1 of this blog series, let’s start first with you expectations of a Senior Care Placement Agency.
Last week we received a call from a new senior care placement national franchise soon coming to the Portland area, but headquartered in Arizona. The franchise owner requested our help with a senior placement issue since their new franchize purchaser was not quite set up yet to start business and was not yet familiar with the senior care options available in the local area needed. (Yes, their is a difference between “Assisted Living” & “Adult Foster Care” in Oregon) This agency had been discovered and contacted online by a family seeking help. A family member filled out a short online form which was forward to the out-of-state agency. Although we respect this budding agency’s insight in reaching out to our local company with a desire to utilitize our knowledge and experience, their call also raised some important questions we now ask of you.
What are your expectations of those you turn to for help when you or a family member need senior care? What are your expectations of a Senior Care Consultant? Do you expect that their recommendations will be made from their personal visitation and experienced-based knowledge of the care setting and care providers? Is it important to you that they have met the care provider in an Adult Care Home?
Does it matter to you the years of experience of the senior care consultant or their background? Online certification as a “Senior Advisor” comes easily and may indicate the person’s desire to move into a new career path, but does their wealth of time and years of actual service representing seniors and their families matter to you? Is their past experience as a marketing representive in a care facility, or their experience as a nursing assistant in a nursing home hold as much value to you as their reputation and years of responsiveness within the local senior medical community of doctors and social workers?
Many of the nationally-based franchised Senior Placement Agencies ask you to first provide your information online. They then either forward that information to a local representative or they blanketly forward or fax your information to what they consider appropriate care settings. The marketing department of the faxed facility is then requested to contact you. In those situations you can then expect numerous calls from facility marketing staff hoping to convince you of the quality of care they provide. These calls can be persistent and frequent, even after you’ve chosen another facility or care environment. Is this approach really helpful to you?
Would it be more helpful to you to be able to personally talk with, (either via phone, in a coffee shop, in your home, or at the hospital or care facility) the senior care consultant? What are your views regarding the desire and willingness of a consultant to meet the senior needing placement? Do you feel this personal visit can be helpful in making a more appropriate placement? Is it important to you that the senior consultant you speak with has you and the senior’s best interest in mind ( not a facility’s)? Are they to be representing you, or the facility?
Besides the above questions, there is also the question for some about the value of utilizing a locally-owned and operated placement consultant. Does local ownership and committment matter or hold value to you? Some contend that locally owned agencies are able to more easily work cooperatively and build trusting relationships with local social workers, hospital discharge planners, doctors, and other senior health care professionals. This locally focused health care team approach may result in more appropriate senior care placement for the senior. Does this local health care team approach hold value for you?
Senior Care in Oregon became a model and responded well to the needs of seniors and their families because of it’s dedicated and senior-focused and caring people. As together we advance ahead, your voice is critical. When you are faced with the tough decisions of quality care for your mom or dad, or a loved one, you need more than ever to be able to trust and depend on those you call upon for help. Together we can continue to develop senior care models that are effective, helpful, caring and responsive to seniors.
Make your opinion known. If you email us, your opinions will be shared only if you give us permission to share your insights. Appropriate opinions are also encouraged in the “leave a comment” section below.