The average age of the United States’ population has been steadily increasing over the past several decades. As a result, the number of Americans entering a phase of their life that will require assistance is growing. In fact, according to the 2020 U.S. Census data, there are roughly 50 million Americans over the age of 65 and that number is expected to double by 2060.
The assistance that this population requires, whether it be financial, emotional, medical, or physical, is something that families and social work professionals are navigating more and more frequently. A variety of non-profit organizations, social workers, and government agencies have sprung up over to help increase the quality of life of these aging populations. This is the role of aging programs in our society.
Aging programs work to address the needs of senior citizens, typically 65 and older. Aging programs are run by community and non-profit organizations dedicated to helping their local elderly populations. The scope of these programs can vary but they typically provide a support system that can include:
Bettering the lives of the aging population is a noble goal and is one that must executed with care, attention to detail, and patience. With the United States, as well as many other countries across the globe, experiencing a rapidly growing elderly population, the demand for the services of aging programs is only expected to increase. Another factor playing into this increased demand for aging services is an ever-increasing average life expectancy which is requiring more years of care per person.
In fact, with the aging population expected to double in the next 40 years, the industry and funding that supports these organizations will have to grow in scale. More families will be seeking case management professionals to navigate this unfamiliar terrain.
A variety of scenarios exist in which families and senior adults may seek out the help of a senior care aging program. These situations are as numerous and nuanced as any combination of family structures, dynamics, and health histories. Some of the most common examples where an aging program case manager becomes involved in the care of a senior include:
There are varying degrees of support that can be provided. While some senior adults may only be seeking counseling for a specific area of their life, others may need a much more robust care plan that would include daily in-home visits, meal planning, and transportation. The good news is that there is help for any senior at any level of need.
Organizations that help the aging population and use government funds are responsible for a specific set of data and reports that assess their efficiency, progress, and their appropriate use of funds. As with many federal and state-funded programs, future funds, and the success of the organization, are often dependent upon the timely and accurate submission of a complicated data set. You could say there are strings attached to taxpayer money – and rightfully so.
The United States Administration for Community Living is one of the primary issuers of grants for aging programs. The administration outlines very specific qualifications for reporting on their website including, but not limited to, the format, font size, and specific sections that must be included. The guidelines even extend to what the table of contents should look like in the report. It is safe to say that these mandatory progress reports about the state of an organization’s efforts are taken quite seriously. The over-arching goal of these reports is to see how the grant that was issued has been applied thus building accountability.
Given the specificity in the report guidelines, aging program organizations must devote considerable resources to the development of these reports and ensure that they are submitted with a high degree of accuracy. Their very existence may rely on it!
These reports not only inform the federal and state agencies that are issuing the funds, but they also act as a check and balance mechanism for the agencies themselves. This helps to foster an environment where client care, efficiency, and attention to detail are highly valued qualities. In the end, if these qualities are central to the way an aging program operates, senior adult clients will have a happier and better quality of life.
So, what exactly do case management programs do for senior adults and their families? Generally speaking, they help to manage the care of these individuals so that seniors can live their lives to the fullest.
These case managers do important work that improves not only their client’s lives but also the lives of their family members. Senior care managers are often the primary advocate for the well-being of their clients. They give a voice to those who may not fully understand their situation, health status, or how to even articulate their needs. Many times, these case managers help to interpret the very tangled web of health care services, government assistance, and the mountain of physician information that is thrown their client’s way.
Senior care managers are special people who do some of the most important work in our society. Families and senior adults entrust them with the care of their loved ones. This is a tremendous responsibility.
Some of the more common projects that senior adult case managers perform are:
There are myriad tools available for non-profit and non-governmental organizations working with senior adults. A considerable amount of documentation is required in case management and the best tool for collecting, organizing, and accessing that information is a powerful case management program.
So what exactly can case management programs provide to non-profit organizations? In short, they provide efficiency and accuracy. These flexible and deep case management systems do away with time-consuming manual processes and automate common tasks for case managers so that they are able to spend more of their valuable time working with the senior adults who need their help each and every day.
The case management software that PlanStreet offers is uniquely situated to help the needs of aging programs across the country. A robust and flexible case management system is an absolute necessity for organizing intake data, scheduling, resource allocation, and the various other tasks that go into making an elderly care program successful.
Some of the features that make PlanStreet the ideal tool for these teams include:
When it comes to aging program reporting, these very features make PlanStreet ideal for non-profit and community organizations. Aging program reporting requires a high volume of accurate data organized according to a very specific set of guidelines. PlanStreet’s case management software pulls statistics, the status of progress, and demographic information about the populations that your team is serving effortlessly.
Additionally, being able to customize reports and intake forms allows for your team to get data in exactly the format that you need. This not only helps day-to-day activities but makes organizing your reports all the easier when the time comes.