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Your Health
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Senior Planning Services Launches ‘Safety Net’ Program to Provide Backup Support

Program aims to help seniors and their families in case of an unexpected event

For seniors living on their own, life’s daily challenges are manageable, but where can they turn in the event of a “life quake” — an unexpected occurrence that could impact their ability to manage independently? Ideally, assistance from a family member or friend would be just a phone call away, but for families living out of the area or juggling work schedules, immediate response isn’t always possible.

Senior Planning Services’ Safety Net program is designed to bridge that gap by providing a primary or backup support network for seniors and their families including regular check-ins, 24-hour access to expert guidance, disaster planning tools, and storage and retrieval of important information.

“The Safety Net program is meant to offer seniors and their family members peace of mind and security for the unexpected,” said Suzanne McNeely, founder and president of Senior Planning Services. “For example, if a senior loved one needs a medical procedure they hadn’t planned for and is out of their home for a period of time, they know they have support for the daily activities they would normally perform and advocacy for their best interests and preferences.”

With 20 years of experience providing professional home care and care management services for seniors and families on the Central Coast, Senior Planning Services has long-standing protocols in place to respond to situations affecting client families, such as medical emergencies and natural disasters. But during the past several years, McNeely noted an increasing need for seniors with families out of the local area, or with demanding schedules, to have a support network in place for their loved one’s well-being and the ability to cope with the unexpected. The idea of the Safety Net program came about to provide immediate support in case of urgent non-emergency situations.

“The program acts as a hub for family members to have a local resource to call and to check in with their parents, as well as coordinate caretaking for pets, bill payments, hospital discharge procedures and other support as needed,” McNeely said. “Typically, family can then arrange a support schedule as their senior gets back to normal, but if a situation does lead to the need for more assistance at home, we are also able to provide professional caregivers, and through Safety Net, have a head start getting to know the senior.”

Senior Planning Services’ Safety Net program includes collection and maintenance of significant information and documents, such as known medical conditions, important contacts and specific wishes and preferences. Safety Net helps families plan for and meet the needs of seniors rapidly in response to a sudden change in circumstance.

The program is ideal for seniors who are not in need of full-time assistance, but who could benefit from regular check-in calls, occasional assistance for community referrals, and a primary or back up contact and plan in case of emergencies. Should a situation require short-term home care, this advance information also adds to the criteria for Senior Planning Services to match a home care professional with skills and personality best suited to the situation — and the senior.

Monthly telephone check-ins and quarterly home visits give Senior Planning Services’ professional care manager a chance to assess any issues that families need to be aware of. The program is offered on a renewable annual basis.

The Safety Net program offers:

» Written summary of individual needs and wishes used to inform family, physicians or advisers

» Collection and maintenance of significant information and documents

» Monthly telephone check-ins

» Quarterly home visits with a professional care manager

» 24/7 access to expert guidance and support

» Assistance navigating health care and community resources systems

» Disaster planning information and template

— Candice Tang is a publicist.

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