By LOIS KINDLE
If you know any aging seniors who need help with their daily needs or are a family member, friend or neighbor who feels overwhelmed in trying to help them, a new initiative called the Wraparound could be the answer to your prayers.
It’s a process that literally wraps an entire support team of caring professionals, experts and volunteers around a senior-in-need and connects that senior to the resources he or she requires.
“People need to have a comprehensive plan when they are faced with overwhelming complications in their lives,” said Karen Fredricks, a retired social worker, caregiver and member of the SouthShore Coalition for Mental Health and Aging. “We can help them in a very specific way with a support team of people who actually create that comprehensive coordinated plan.”
For example, Mary, an elderly woman with diabetes, goes to the hospital with a broken arm for treatment. Upon discharge, she may have other needs, including coordination of transportation, nutritional support, follow-up visits and medication management or help with pet care, cooking and household chores. Based on Mary’s financial resources, some services could be provided at no cost to her.
A certified wraparound facilitator from the South Shore Coalition for Mental Health and Aging office will call Mary to provide emotional support and quickly gather information on her strengths and needs.
The facilitator will then develop a support team based on that information. “The team could consist of family members, friends, neighbors, church or synagogue members, home health professionals or other medical personnel,” said Debbie Caneen, Coalition for Mental Health and Aging president. “It could also include services like Meals on Wheels, in-home companion providers, pet sitters and more.”
Spearheaded by the South Shore Coalition for Mental Health and Aging and Seniors in Service and supported by numerous community organizations like the Sun City Center Emergency Squad, the Wraparound will begin in Sun City Center as soon as funding is available.
The process is being designed to establish a support team to address an aging elder’s ongoing and increasing needs, simplify and expedite care and reduce costs by reducing crisis. Ultimately, the goal is to get the process covered by Medicare.
“Finding and coordinating resources can be formidable, a monumental task that elders and their families often cannot handle alone,” said Robin Ingles, CEO of Seniors in Service. “Wraparound provides support through care coordination that families are desperate for.”
The goals of the process are to help elders live independently and with dignity; improve their lives by linking them to the resources and services they need; and to facilitate family involvement.
If you’d like more information on the Wraparound or would like to become part of this community initiative, please call the South Shore Coalition for Mental Health and Aging at 813-419-4902 and leave a message.