Geriatric Care - What is ‘Corporate Care’ for the Elderly?

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Ms. Smith: Welcome to an MUSC Health Podcast. Welcome to Age to Age. I'm Sally Smith. Let's talk. We have with us today Mary Peters, who has had a lifetime, thirty years, of working with geriatric care management and different facets of it. Mary, as a person who's had such vast experience, and seeing this immense tidal wave of what America and our world is facing with people living much longer, people needing to be taken care of much longer as they do live longer, but maybe have years at the end where they're incapacitated, children living far away, things like this, obviously we're all trying to come up with solutions for these large numbers of elder care people that will be needing to be helped. You mentioned something to me that was interesting about corporations beginning to look at this problem more like they used to look at daycare for their employees, but now they're looking at the aging side of things. How does this come about?

Ms. Peters: What the issue is maintaining the workforce, because our adult children are having to take care of parents at home, or take them to the doctor, or constantly being on the phone while they are trying to work. A bank approached us, a large bank, with thirty-five offices around the state, and about 850 employees, and said this is one thing that happened to us. A loan processor, who's very, very good, was taking care of her elderly mother, whom she had moved into her house. And the mother had diabetes. She had one leg amputated, and the day she moved her mother into the house, her husband left.

Ms. Smith: Wow.

Ms. Peters: And she had a seven year old son. So she would be getting up in the morning, helping her mother, trying to get breakfast and get dressed, get the son off to school, was coming in late to work, and making mistakes. And she was very, very good. So they noticed that there were several of these situations happening around that were reported by managers. Well, they came to us and said can you set up a program that will keep our employees coming to work, that will help them if they have problems with their parents? So we got together all of the geriatric care managers, in South Carolina, which are about fifteen or twenty. And they all came to Charleston, and we presented this plan to them. And what came out of it was if, let's say someone's mother in Spartanburg was memory impaired, needed to be in a facility or whatever, the banks, any bank, would call the toll-free number of Care for Life. And then Care For Life would refer this family, or this employee, the employee might even work in Charleston, refer this employee to the geriatric care manager in Spartanburg, who will be well known, who will have the professional liability insurance, you know, the CMC, everything. And then they, being in that area, would know all the resources, the best facilities, and then they could help out the family. So we developed this program called Share the Care. And Care for Life. The geriatric care manager is the only one that I know of in South Carolina that has the corporate care program.

Ms. Smith: Wow. What an interesting thought. You know I thought, when you first described it, I thought that you were going to say it was something for the employees, some sort of benefit that they could draw from when they got older. But this makes economic sense. Because it's like you read in the paper, the day's lost because of caregiving, that people are sandwiched, that sandwich generation I think they call them, where they are so worried and stressed out and making the phone calls as you say, or having to come in late, or deal with problems, dealing with the fact they are now the parent so to speak, they are now the caregiver, that they are losing those valuable, good people on a hundred percent work week basis.

Ms. Peters:

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