By Cassie Lucas-Moore, Marketing & Outreach Coordinator
I was recently invited to participate in a health fair for a local employer. I spent time talking to people who are currently working and not yet in the “aging” population. However, what this group does need is resources as they begin to care for aging loved ones.
I heard a story of someone whose mom recently began dealing with reduced ability to walk due to complications from surgery and needed supports in the home, but they didn’t know who to call. Another person who wants to move his mother out of the facility she’s in and into his home, yet he is still working full time and needs additional supports to bring mom home. And even another person who needed help with caring for his father out of state.
These folks were stressed about finding the resources they needed to care for their parents or loved ones, but did not know where to turn. Many of them were not aware of CareWell Services Southwest or our services. If you’re like these individuals, I am here to help you find the resources and supports you need or don’t even know you need yet!
CareWell Services Southwest is the Region 3B Area Agency on Aging. There is an Area Agency on Aging (AAA) that covers every county in every state across the United States. CareWell Services is a non-profit that has support from The Older Americans Act (federal), the Older Michiganians Act (state), Medicaid, local county governments, and grants to provide funding for services, programs, and supports to help older adults, caregivers and individuals with disabilities 18 and over maintain their health and remain independent in their homes and communities.
As an AAA, our core services include connecting the community with Information and Assistance, providing Care Management, offering programs to support healthy aging, and helping individuals navigate Medicare and Medicaid through benefits counseling. Let’s take a closer look at these services.
Information and assistance. Specially trained resource specialists are available to provide information and assistance on thousands of services and resources available for older adults (60+), persons with disabilities, and family caregivers.
We can also connect people to agencies and services in other areas of Michigan and throughout the United States. Areas of assistance include housing, eligibility and availability of government-funded long term care programs, transportation, Medicaid/Medicare assistance, personal care, respite care, nutrition programs, home health care, and many other services. Depending on the information requested, a listing of the various services and resources, tip sheets and other materials can be provided to the caller or referral source.
You can call CareWell Services’ Information & Assistance line at (269) 441-0930.
MI Choice Waiver Program and Care Management. MI Choice is a state-wide Medicaid program that enables older adults and adults with disabilities to function safely in their own homes with services, avoiding or postponing institutional placement. This can work in conjunction with an existing caregiver or independently.
Services can include personal care, homemaking, respite, adult day care, home-delivered meals, transportation, private duty nursing, personal emergency response systems, chore services, counseling, specialized medical equipment and supplies, caregiver training, nursing home transition services, community living supports and home modifications.
MI Choice uses an approach that is person-centered, meaning clients are in control and make the decisions about their own care. MI Choice also gives clients the option of directing their own care and hiring their own helpers. CareWell Services administers the MI Choice Waiver program in Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren Counties.
Care Management/Health Navigation & Care Coaching. For those who do not financially qualify for MI Choice Waiver, Care Management is still available through other funding options. The same services and supports are provided as with MI Choice Waiver. Our intake team will review the options as part of the qualifying process.
Healthy Aging Programs. AAAs have a variety of evidenced-based programs available to promote healthy aging. Programs that support those with chronic diseases or chronic pain through the Personal Action Towards Health (PATH) program; fall prevention through A Matter of Balance; caregiver education and support through Powerful Tools for Caregivers and Dealing with Dementia; exercise coaching support through Active Choices; and many others are available. Staff receive specialized training in these evidenced-based models.
There are also informative workshops available including the Aging Mastery Program which consists of Memory Matters, Exercise and You, Advance Planning, Healthy Relationships, Aspirations/Bucket Lists, Rightsizing Your Life, Medication Management, Communicating with your Doctor, and many more topics! Lunch and Learn events are open to the public to learn about different topics and services available in the area from local groups and companies.
You can learn more about CareWell Services’ healthy aging programs by visiting our website at www.carewellservices.org.
Benefits Counseling. Benefits counseling provides education and counseling assistance to Michigan’s Medicare beneficiaries and their families or representatives to identify resources for prescription drug assistance, explain Medicare health plan options, understand doctor bills, hospital bills and Medicare Summary Notices.
Counselors help individuals understand Medicare/Medicaid eligibility, enrollment, coverage, claims and appeals, as well as assist in enrolling in Medicare Savings Programs, reviewing Medicare supplemental (“Medigap”) insurance needs, comparing policies and pursuing claims and refunds. Benefits counselors can also help explore long-term care financing options, including long-term care insurance, identify and report Medicare/Medicaid fraud and abuse. The program is available in every county in Michigan by calling 1-800-803-7174.
CareWell Services’ benefits counseling is available through our Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP).
In short, your local Area Agency on Aging is available to support you in finding the services and help that you need. Call CareWell Services today for assistance with your unique situation. We are able to help adults over 60 or adults with disabilities over 18. We are who you call when you don’t know who to call.