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Aging Life Care in the Time of Covid

May is Aging Life Care Month and is a special time for care managers all over the country. This is when Sage Care Management and others take time to celebrate the hard work done by so many in the Aging Life Care field. Of course, for care managers and clients alike, Aging Life Care has looked a little different over the past fourteen months. Somehow, this has been an important reminder why the work we do is so vital in the first place. Some of our care managers explained how different their work has been amidst a pandemic and the lessons they’ve learned:

  • How has your work as a care manager, nurse or social worker been impacted by the Covid-19 epidemic?
    • The biggest impact that COVID-19 had on my work was not being able to see my clients in person. I had to get very creative in order to stay connected and ensure that my clients were receiving proper care. Video calls, window visits and more frequent check-ins with staff at facilities helped me ensure everyone was doing well.
    • So much uncertainty occurred in the beginning. We are all afraid to be the person to infect someone else. I think we all began to recognize how important social interactions were to our clients, and finding creative ways to continue to engage them was interesting.
    • I started working for Sage (with clients) just 2 months before Covid started, so I really didn’t get the opportunity to establish a client load or go through very much training. It was definitely an odd year to start my career. I expected to be much more developed as a social worker by this point, but it just hasn’t worked out that way.
  • What was difficult to cope with?
    • I didn’t realize how much physical touch played a role in caring for our clients until I no longer could do so. It was very hard saying goodbye to clients without being able to hold their hand or even see them in person.
    • The isolation – from our clients and the team. The frustration at how slowly long term care facilities adapted (or mostly did not adapt!).
    • Trying to figure out how to work from home (without much work to keep me busy), feeling like I wasn’t doing enough (for Sage or for my clients).
  • Were there unexpected blessings?
    • This experience made me empathize more with our families who live long-distance and are unable to see their loved ones for long stretches of time.
    • Finding innovative ways to have long-distance families interact with their loved ones – and that these strategies and technologies will be used going forward.
    • Having to work through this weird time allowed me to really appreciate how awesome the Sage team is. They pitched in where there was a need, supported me when I was feeling overwhelmed or like I wasn’t quite getting it, and always made themselves available to me. Having such an understanding boss and team made a very challenging year a little bit more bearable. If I had to start my career during a pandemic, I’m glad I had these people behind me.
  • Have you learned anything from these changes in your work?
    • I now better appreciate the value of having a care manager who is able to be physically present, hold a hand and see the situation with their own eyes.
    • Aging Life Care Managers are more resilient and resourceful than I ever imagined!
    • I learned that there isn’t a “best way” to do anything. Procedures and processes can change, and we are a lot more flexible than we give ourselves credit for. It may not be comfortable to make changes, but we CAN.

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