What is Options Counseling?
In a confidential interview, we ask individual seniors questions about their life and lifestyle and help determine the areas in which they may need assistance as they age. These areas include medical, legal, financial, mental health, socialization, transportation, home maintenance, household chores, technology for communication and safety, home and community safety, and nutrition. Taken together, these aspects of living promote an individual’s health and wellbeing.
We ask which areas of their lives are most important and how confident they are that those areas will be taken care of in the future. We also ask focused questions about how they manage the daily tasks of life, difficulties they are currently experiencing, their resources – informational and financial – for meeting their own needs, and about the support system they may already have surrounding them.
After the interview, our trained experts help the senior identify priorities now and for the future. We match community resources – programmatic and financial – to meet needs in each area of life discussed in the interview. We then prepare binders containing material on each resource thought to be of value to the senior. On average, the binders contain 35-45 resources.
Our expert returns for a second meeting and, paging through the binder, explains in detail each resource and how to access it. If help is needed to follow up on a resource, we are glad to assist. The binder is left with the senior to be read and followed at his/her own pace. The senior is contacted periodically to check on progress accessing the resources, changes in status, and to offer assistance. Changes in circumstances trigger a new assessment and referral process.
Options counseling is not case management nor hands-on caregiving. But by working intensively with mostly-independent seniors to prioritize needs and access resources, we know from experience that seniors avoid or delay the necessity of moving to a nursing home or senior facility.