Information and resources that support your role in caring for a loved one.
Need to speak to someone by phone about a caregiving issue? There are options to contact someone directly for help.
Each month in the Caregiving Chronicles, we will be showcasing a different BayPath program and how it helps serve our consumers and local communities.
In this month’s post, we start at the beginning with our Information and Referral Team, detailing what happens when a consumer calls BayPath with a request for information.
Providing the most up to date information on available services for older adults, persons with disabilities and care providers.
BayPath’s Information and Referral Services (I&R) offers you guidance in identifying support options that meet your specific needs. I&R is a free service through which callers can obtain information about community resources for consumers of all ages. When you call BayPath with an inquiry, an I&R Specialist will listen to your questions and then through conversation, assess your needs to guide you to the correct program or service that will support your well-being.
It is hard for many people to reach out and ask for help. It is even harder as an older adult, as you may feel like it is synonymous with admitting you are vulnerable. However, reaching out to inquire about and then arrange support services for yourself is a way for you to actually GAIN INDEPENDENCE.
There is no shame in needing assistance; we all do from time to time. BayPath I&R can point you to one of our services or to an outside program that will assist you in your day-to-day activities so that you are greater positioned to stay at home where you want to be. Help can include things like meals on wheels, care management, money management, help with domestic chores, activities that help you stay healthy, how to contact your local council on aging or your community’s senior center.
I&R Specialists also do continual community outreach, so that your local area knows about our services. Our I&R Specialists visit MetroWest pharmacies, senior centers, veterinary clinics, funeral homes and other establishments that are likely to encounter older adults who would benefit from our Information and Referral Services. We provide these businesses and support centers with a detailed overview of how we can help and provide them with brochures, which they can share with consumers.
The Caregiving Chronicles blog editor met with our I&R Specialists and learned that their role not only entails dispensing knowledge, but that it is driven first and foremost by an unwavering desire to show compassion and support to the individuals who reach out to them. They can take up to a few calls an hour and spend as much or as little time as each person desires. They strive to be intuitive with those who do not feel wholly comfortable talking about their limitations or think that they are most likely not eligible for help. After the initial conversation, they provide dedicated follow-up, completing referrals and connecting consumers with the applicable agency.
During this conversation, it became clear that they view each case individually; never losing sight that it is a person on the other end of the phone and not just another “case.” As the specialists were describing what they do throughout a typical day, the dialog was peppered with real-life stories about those they were successful in assisting. One of our I&R Specialists shared the following fulfilling story of how she was able to help someone on their caregiving journey in an unexpected way:
“One of our jobs at I&R is to also do outreach in the community. We talk about BPES services and leave brochures for them to put out for their customer’s. On one occasion, the person at the front desk said that she was not able to leave the brochures in the lobby but would put them in the employee’s lunch room because she knew of several co-workers needing help with a family member. She was so grateful to know there was help available.
While speaking with her, she mentioned her mother was helping her grandmother and was reluctant to ask for help. I explained that I also was a caregiver and wished I knew there was a company like BPES to help me and my family. She told me where her grandmother lived but it was outside BPES service area.
When I got back to the office, I looked up which ASAP handled that particular town. I called her back the same day with that information and she was so grateful. She planned to call them herself to make a Family Caregiver referral for her mother and make a HC referral for her grandmother.”
The Specialist went on to say that:
“As an I&R Specialist, our job is to give resources or make a referral on behalf of the consumer and we do not always see the “outcome” of the referral or if the resource was used or not. But it is very gratifying when we do get to see for ourselves how our information can positively impact the life of someone in need of support.”