HELPING OUR SENIORS
Helping You Decide What Might Be Helpful
Pamela B. Smith, Director, County's Aging & Independence Services
You might be surprised to know that many people who
contact the County’s Aging & Independence Services (AIS)
for assistance don’t know what they want. They know
there’s a problem, or that they’re not happy with their
situation, but they often don’t know what’s needed and have no clue what’s
If you were to listen to the AIS Call Center specialists as they answer the phones, you would hear them ask, “How long has this been happening?” or “Where is she living?” or “What have you tried before” and many other questions. One question can lead to more questions before there’s an answer. The deeper they explore a person’s circumstances, the better they can tailor their assistance.
I often tell the story of the woman who called asking where she could donate a pair of glasses. The Call Center specialist could have just steered her to a resource that recycles glasses, but after asking a couple more questions about the source of the glasses, the specialist discovered that the woman’s husband had just died. Those were his glasses. The woman was given more help than just a place for those glasses.
As technology creeps more and more into our lives, we realize the value of incorporating the assets of our Call Center into the pages and links of our Network of Care Web site. More people are using the Internet to get information since they can access it any time of the day, any day of the week. Many family members who assist their older or disabled relatives might not have time during the day to contact our Call Center, but after work, they can use the Network of Care to see what might be useful.
One of the new features of the Network of Care Web site resembles a Call Center specialist. It’s called the Long-Term Care Options Counselor or LTC Options Counselor, for short. You’ll find an icon for it on the left side of the Network of Care home page. Just like a Call Center specialist, it asks several questions, helping users to think through various aspects of their needs to narrow in on the right solution. The LTC Options Counselor can help people with today’s needs or to plan for future possibilities.
Another new icon on the Network of Care is Access to Independence (A2I), which links Web site users to local assistance for persons with disabilities. Along with this connection, the Network of Care has an updated listing of assistive devices that can make life easier.
For those of you with computer access, please visit our Network of Care: www.sandiego.networkofcare.org/aging. There are many new improvements, including the ability to Google search the Web site, which makes looking for specific information easier. We have a section about fall prevention, including reports and videos. There is material about abuse prevention,including a section for banks and credit unions, which are helping us in the fight against financial abuse. Our “In Focus” radio show is archived in the Network of Care; see the link on the right side of the home page.
The Web site’s library has so much material you can stay in there for hours. There’s a community calendar with several great events. And the “My Folder” section offers a secure and central location where people can create, update and store important health information.