Rose was having a chat with a neighbor about 10 years ago when Pillars’ Adult Wrap Around Program came up in conversation. Both women were over 50, the minimum age requirement to be enrolled in the program, and in need of the type of support that family members who lived out-of-state could not provide. Since her neighbor first recommended the program, Rose has grown to love it.
“I can’t tell you enough how much the program has meant to me,” she said. “It’s important that you don’t feel alone.”
Rose lives alone in a brick ranch with her dog. Following an extended stay at a health-care facility, she’s determined to remain independent. Yet, she is willing to ask for help when she needs it.
“Being able to accept what you need help with and reach out requires certain strength,” explained Cori Robin, the Adult Wrap facilitator who works with Rose.
Asking for help may mean having a facilitator pick up a prescription, arrange doctor appointments, or just come by for companionship.
The Adult Wrap Program is different than just a weekly session at a therapist’s or social service office, because it involves a facilitator coming to a client’s home and addressing mental, emotional, social, physical, and even legal or financial needs. In other words, a facilitator becomes a part of a client’s life. A weekly visit from Robin, or another facilitator from the program, may involve going through bank statements, setting up a new computer, or just looking through old photographs over coffee. Robin described her job as helping clients learn to cope with their life experiences and their ages, all the while fulfilling the role of therapist, adopted family member and, most importantly to Rose, friend.
“Cory has been one of the very best. I just feel I can share everything with her – she’s like a daughter to me,” said Rose.
That level of trust is important, according to both women. The client needs to feel comfortable being open about his or her needs, otherwise the facilitator can’t do their job.
“People should reach out and be confident that the organization will help,” Rose said.
While the Adult Wrap Program may not be able to solve all problems or provide for all the needs of a client, facilitators also direct seniors to other programs within the community. When a senior is incapable of driving, for instance, a facilitator will direct a client to People Care, a volunteer-based program that provides transportation. If a senior is unable to do their grocery shopping, Adult Wrap determines eligibility for Meals on Wheels, or similar programs.
Right now, Rose has a weekly visit from Robin, but as her health improves she may only need to see Robin every other week. Robin explained that some clients need more frequent visits than others as problems range from more severe mental illness to clients who face emotional problems with aging.
“Ultimately,” Robin said as she brought Rose’s recycling bin from the curb to the garage, “they’re in the driver’s seat while we’re just in the passenger’s seat guiding them along.”
Editor’s note: “Rose” is a pseudonym used to keep confidential the identity of the woman involved in the Pillars program.