If you are a senior adult who is hospitalized following a fall or an illness, who do you turn to for help when it’s time to go home? Your family or friends? What if none are available? At Advent Christian Village (ACV) the answer is easy — you call your Service Coordinator. Or better yet, the hospital discharge coordinator calls the Service Coordinator with the details of the kind of care you will need after your discharge. From there, the Service Coordinator sets up any necessary services, like delivered meals, housekeeping, or home care. They even see to it that prescriptions are filled and that you have transportation to follow-up medical appointments and specialists. This is just one of the facets of the Service Coordinator’s role.
Advent Christian Village’s Service Coordinators are part of the social services team. Together, they are tasked with seeing to it that each of the over 500 independent living members of ACV have all of the services that they require to attain their highest quality of life. (Those living at Dacier Manor and Good Samaritan Center have separate social services teams.) They assist with a vast array of other issues as well — everything from helping new members acclimate to the community to keeping on top of changes in Medicare law.
Service Coordinators are there to link members to the services that will allow them to live independently as long as it is feasible. They are a key part of an interdisciplinary team that meets weekly at Advent Christian Village to collaborate the best approach to a member’s care as they go through changes. When the coordinators observe that it is becoming unsafe for someone to remain in their current situation, they make recommendations about support services or a more advanced level of care, as it becomes appropriate. Each member has the right to make their own choices, and the final decision is up to them and their family, as long as they are not endangering themselves or others.
Service Coordinators also alert members to programs for which they may be eligible. For example, those who are having difficulty paying for their prescriptions may be eligible for free medications through the pharmaceutical manufacturer. Low-income senior adults may qualify for Medicaid.
Each member of ACV is assigned a Service Coordinator when they first arrive at the Village as one of the benefits of being a member. While many members may not need much service coordination, they still meet with their Service Coordinators periodically so they may get to know the members and to observe how they live. Then, they are in a position to offer the best solution to any needs that arise along the way. When the need for increased support occurs, it is of great benefit that the Service Coordinator knows the member and vice versa. Members can make transitions more easily because they feel they have a trusted ally along the way.
An ACV member remarked, “Service coordination is one of the best features of Advent Christian Village. To me, one of the major services the Service Coordinators provide is being a buffer between aging parents and their children. Out of concern, children want their parents to limit themselves so they don’t run into trouble. Parents often feel that their children are just being overprotective. The Village, on the other hand, encourages us to be as active as we can be. It’s quite a different message that we get from the two sources.”
He continued, “The Service Coordinator is in a position to say, ‘Your kids are right. It’s not a good idea for you to do that,’ and I know it’s not overprotectiveness — it’s good advice. He is also in the position to tell my children that there are a hundred other people my age here doing exactly what I am doing and I’m fine. They are a neutral party that offers their experience for our benefit.”
Clearly, Service Coordinators are a valuable resource to ACV members and their families.