Irma first heard about Beach Cities Health District’s (BCHD) Care Management program more than five years ago. While reading the BCHD LiveWell magazine that’s mailed to homes in the Beach Cities, she came across a story highlighting services for older adults. She called BCHD to refer herself and her husband David to the Care Management program and was connected to Sherry, an MSW (Master of Social Work) Care Manager in BCHD’s Community Services department. Since 2018, Sherry has been providing care management to Irma and David, helping them to age successfully at home.
As a social worker, Sherry provides confidential in-home visits and assessments to develop a recommended care plan. Frequent follow-up calls and home visits help support her clients to live independently at home while staying connected to the community. She calls Irma and David monthly to ensure they have everything they need for daily living and does a home visit every six months at minimum.
Irma has Parkinson’s disease and is the primary caregiver for David, who has dementia, but both receive assistance from BCHD. Through the program’s Senior Health Fund, they receive in-home caregiving services, incontinence supplies and an emergency response service (ERS) unit for a subsidized rate (determined by their income). The Senior Health Fund offsets the private cost of such services and is an option for Care Management clients who meet federal poverty guidelines and are unable to sustainably pay for the services themselves. A caregiver from one of BCHD’s contracted vendors, Home Instead, will come to their home twice a week to help with homemaking and caregiving needs that David and Irma need assistance with, like laundry, dishwashing, light cleaning, preparing meals and giving medication reminders. If Irma or David fall or have a medical emergency, they can press the button on the ERS unit and someone will confirm what help they need and send family, neighbors or even paramedics immediately to their home. Having the ERS unit gives Irma peace of mind that help is just a click away if she ever needs it.
Thanks to the Care Management program, older adults like Irma and David can age in place and maintain a quality of life in their home. The program and its Care Managers are part of the continuum of care for older adults and adults with disabilities, often serving as a liaison between clients and care providers. Irma says “My husband and I would not be able to remain in our home and live independently without BCHD services. I recommend BCHD for everyone of all ages. They have great programs and services.”
Care for each client is tailored based on a thorough assessment, which include items like a review of insurance, income, health, cognition, social networks and the client’s report of what they need. Sherry explains that one of the wonderful parts of BCHD’s Care Management program is that there is no “one size fits all” approach. This was especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the height of the pandemic, Irma and David received weekly phone calls from Sherry or BCHD volunteers to help them stay socially connected. Sherry ensured they got free COVID-19 testing kits through the U.S. Postal Service and provided them information on when, how and where to get the vaccine when it first became available. Irma and David then received their second vaccine dose in their home through a partnership with BCHD and the Redondo Beach Fire Department. They also receive a holiday gift bag each year and appreciate all the practical and fun gifts that bring them cheer during the holiday season.
“I want to thank Beach Cities Health District for all the help over the years,” Irma said. “Sherry has always checked in on us to make sure we are doing okay, even during the pandemic. I am so grateful. That’s all I can say – I am just so grateful.”
Sherry echoes the appreciation for Irma and David recalling that she received a Christmas card from the couple last year. “They are such lovely people. We really have a special relationship.”
Beach Cities Health District provides services to improve the quality of life and maintain the independence of older adult residents and residents with disabilities within the Beach Cities. Care Management is a free service available for older adults (ages 60+) and adults with disabilities (ages 18-59) living in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach or Redondo Beach. For more information on older adult services including Care Management, please call our Assistance, Information & Referral line at (310) 374-3426, option 1.