Care Connections program receives national recognition
Senior Resources of West Michigan's Care Connections In-Home Personalized Companion Care program was recognized with a 2018 Aging Achievement Award at the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) conference in Chicago.
Each year, a select few organizations are recognized for their innovation, positive impact on older adults and people with disabilities, and their risk in new approaches to doing business.
Senior Resources' Care Connections program is a personalized non-medical companion care program that provides participants with activities, support, and companionship needed to maintain independence.
The concept came through a strategic planning session, according to CEO Pam Curtis. "As we were identifying gaps in services, it was noted that while our provider network addressed personal care, homemaking and respite services, it was all in the form of hands-on care using personal care aides. There were no programsthat specifically addressed social isolation, social activity and the need for companionship. Staff recognized that many older adults were experiencing a decline in health that appeared to directly correlate with the fact that they were isolated."
This often held true for their caregivers as well, Curtis noted. In addition to social engagement, care companions could also monitor other keys to healthy aging like: hydration, nutrition, movement, medications, and reports on sleep patterns, which can all have effects on someone's physical and/or cognitive ability to stay in their home.
The companion care program has averted nursing home placement, for at least one participant, and has been reliable for another caregiver, allowing him to take his father to dialysis while leaving his mother, who has dementia, with a companion care provider.