A major benefit of PACE healthcare is access to a social worker. Center for Elders’ Independence employs close to 20 social workers and assistants to help participants get the services and support they need. Their work is vital to connect seniors with those services within CEI and within the community. They are knowledgeable about many critical services ranging from housing to home care, from meal delivery to caregiver education
Christina Taylor is a Functional Manager for Social Workers. She support the team and guides them through challenges plus provides additional training and education. “We spend a lot of our time calling and visiting participants and their families wherever they are, whether they are at home, in the center, in a skilled nursing facility or at a hospital. It’s essential we go to them to remove barriers and make access as easy and simple as possible.”
Family Education Services
Social workers do a great deal of education with family members and advocate for caregiver resources. “As situations change, say with a major medical event, being there for a family as they navigate a new normal is vital. We help them understand these new changes, learn what resources are available to them and address their questions and concerns. It’s a huge service we provide,” continued Christina.
Social workers have regular contact with participants to ensure their needs are being addressed and are met within a timely manner. Any identified concerns or issues are brought to the entire care team for further discussion and evaluation of services and/or support. It’s all part of the wrap-around care PACE offers.
March is National Social Worker Month, and we honor all social workers for the important and vital work they do every day.
Dedication & Hard Work Pays Off
Christina emphasizes that the entire social worker team is very hard working and dedicated to seniors and their families. Feuy Saechao is a lead social worker at CEI for the past 7.5 years. She shares an example of that dedication.
“When Mr. C came to us, he was very depressed, suicidal and in a family abusive situation. As we learned more about his dysfunctional circumstances, it was apparent that we needed to find him a separate home, provide him with mental health therapy and help him make big decisions. We were able to find him an apartment close to the PACE Berkeley center, connect him with a great therapist and provide him with a safe place to rebuild friendships. Several years later, now when we see him, he is smiling, healthy and thriving. The family situation has improved as well although Mr. C continues living separately.”
Finding housing is a big job as seniors are unable to increase their income to pay market prices. Many seniors would benefit greatly from PACE if they had stable housing. It’s a gigantic puzzle piece that our government officials and housing developers need to address. Sadly, seniors are the largest population of first-time unhoused people. Without the ability to earn a living, it’s incredibly difficult to secure stable housing. The social worker team works continuously to redefine what a home is so they can help these older adults live a healthier, safe life.