Care management is best understood from a client’s perspective. Melanie Mattingly created Preferred Living Solutions Care Management after navigating a fragmented path of finding, selecting and supervising reliable support for her own aging family members. Melanie knew she wanted to share the knowledge she had gained through her own experience. Her goal, shared by the four professional care managers that work with Melanie at Preferred Living, is to provide a service that respects individual and family preferences while securing the most meaningful, purposeful life possible for older adults and people with disabilities.
What better way to describe the multiple benefits that our care managers offer to clients than to share a daughter’s personal journey with her aging mother and father. By sharing Jennifer’s reasons why she chose Preferred Living Care Management to help during her mom’s and dad’s health crises, and why she continues to work with our care managers, the short-term solutions and longer-term close partnership approach between care manager and client are highlighted.
As adult children of retired parents Jennifer and her siblings stayed in regular contact with their mom and dad. However, like most aging families, because Jennifer and her brothers did not live in the same city (and because aging parents tend not to share details about medical problems and declining abilities to manage day-to-day personal and household tasks) they could not have known that health crises were looming. When Jennifer received a call from her parents’ neighbor about mail and newspapers piling up and no signs of coming and going from their house, she quickly made a trip home. She found her dad in acute kidney failure and her mom unable to care for herself or for him. Trips to the doctor and to the hospital confirmed Jennifer’s worries that her parents could not continue to live safely in their home.
While helping her dad through his hospitalization and rehabilitation and her mom through her own medical issues, Jennifer realized that this time of life would be a marathon, not a sprint. She needed to relocate her parents closer to her home so that she could be their primary caregiver while also continuing to manage her own home and work. She had her husband’s support and some assistance from siblings. Even so, Jennifer’s friend encouraged her to talk with a professional care manager that she knew and had hired to help coordinate her care following knee replacement surgery (connecting her to reputable in-home care, transportation to follow-up appointments, and other needs).
Good friends are a godsend. They recognize the signs of exhaustion, anxiety and stress. When a friend recommends a professional service or expert, it is usually well-received. People tend to choose referrals from friends and acquaintances they “know, like and trust”. Jennifer contacted Melanie at Preferred Living Solutions to advise and help her with the balls she was juggling all at once: finding a new, safe place for her parents to live, engaging an attorney for Power of Attorney documents, ongoing monitoring of her parents care, understanding multiple medical diagnoses, taking care of herself, managing family dynamics, and more.
Jennifer partnered with Preferred Living care management years ago to help plan, implement and monitor her parents’ care. She is reassured that today her parents’ care managers continue to help her problem-solve with a full-spectrum, personalized, family-driven approach. Jennifer recognizes that “it is important to have another set of eyes and ears that care but are not as emotional as family members”. Like most daughters, Jennifer has always worked hard to make informed decisions about her parents care and well-being. With care managers on her team, she knows that her mom and dad have additional advocates helping to watch over their living environment, their daily personal care, their nutrition, their medical care and that they are treated with respect and dignity. When emergencies happen and her parents are separated (medical appointments, EMS calls/transport, hospitalizations) or if Jennifer is sick, the care manager steps to the plate, up to date on medications, medical conditions, siblings’ contact information, and copies of essential documents in hand, there to help with the overwhelm.