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People deserve to live independently, with integrity

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Friday, June 1, 2018 7:48 PM
Chapman

Harry is an 85-year-old senior living alone in his home with neighbors checking in on him now and then. His children and grandchildren live out of state and express concerns about his ability to manage basic tasks in his home. They’re worried he might fall and not be found for days.

Harry doesn’t want to move out of his home or to another state to live with his children. He enjoys his independence and doesn’t want to be a burden. He is no longer able to drive and appears to be unhappy and isolated since the death of his wife five years ago.

Does this sound familiar? Scenarios like this are happening more often as family members move further away from extended family for employment and life pursuits. Few realize the options available to their aging loved ones to support their goal of staying in their homes.

Jack is a 29-year-old paraplegic with a traumatic brain injury transitioning out of a rehabilitation center after a motorcycle accident. He is concerned about his care once he is discharged home. His home will be difficult to access as there are steps leading to his front door. Jack is overwhelmed with grief over his new challenges and changes in life.

Both of these hypothetical situations represent the population served through Options for Long Term Care or, Single Entry Point program through San Juan Basin Public Health.

The program serves more than 400 people in La Plata, Archuleta and San Juan counties.

SJBPH believes the elderly and people with disabilities deserve to maintain their independence and live with integrity. The Options for Long Term Care program helps people stay in their homes and out of nursing facilities, and by doing so, inspires well-being and creates a higher quality of life for the people served.

Options for Long Term Care is a Health First Colorado (Medicaid) program in collaboration with the Department of Social Services. People must first apply at their local county office for Long Term Care Medicaid, and qualifying income requirements and functional criteria must be met, as outlined by the state of Colorado.

A functional assessment is completed by a case manager, and areas of need are identified, as well as supports and services that can be provided through the program.

The supportive home-based services provided by Options for Long Term Care help people feel at ease in their own homes and in control of their life choices. This results in a higher quality of life for the people we serve, while promoting health and safety.

Some of the services Options for Long Term Care case managers provide include:

Homemaking: to clean, do laundry, grocery shop and prepare meals. Personal Care: to assist in bathing, dressing, skin care and hygiene. Skilled Care: A certified CNA or registered nurse attends to medical care and medications. Home Modifications: to create accessibility, wheelchair ramps, grab bars and roll-in showers. Electronic Monitoring: to provide emergency assistance for falls/medical emergencies or medication machines. Non-Medical Transportation: to engage in events and activities in the community. Care Coordination: to connect people to other viable resources within their community. SJBPH’s Options for Long Term Care wants to ensure that people like Harry can “age in place” and still receive the care and attention they need.

Additionally, the program strives to serve people like Jack to help maintain their independence and continue to live safely in their homes for as long as possible without having to use long-term care facilities.

Laura Chapman is the Options for Long Term Care program manager. For more information, visit sjbpublichealth.org/sep.

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