My training with Alliance on Aging (long)

fairegoldMay 7, 2006

I have been busy lately, but I still keep in touch on the forum. Last summer, when Mother was in rehab after the kyphoplasty, I hooked up with a care-givers support group sponsored by the Alliance on Aging, a network of services to seniors. Under one umbrella group, we have 8 programs: information, assistance and referral; senior employment, up to 20 hours a week at minimum wage at local non-profits, but it's a start back to the workforce for many people; friendly visitor; senior peer counseling; tax preparation and counseling; health insurance counseling & advocacy program (HICAP); senior homeshare; and omsbudsman for nursing home patients.

I have been in training for the peer counseling program since January. This program is run by a PhD clinical psychologist and a marriage & family counselor with a private practice as well. There are 5 of us in this training program, and maybe 25 or 30 active peer counselors in the county.

I'd be happy to share the course outline with anyone interested. We have had one book, Listening With Different Ears: Counseling People Over 60 by James Warnick. But we have a thick notebook of materials that cover an overview of counseling theories, ethical issues, health issues and death (read Tuesdays with Morrie in this section), group processes, mental health and depression, Alzheimers and more.

So this week, we graduate and will start to work. I figure that I'll work with the group that I am a part of now, since one of the leaders is planning on moving away. But I'll also get private sessions assigned to me. The clients are pre-screened by the program administrator and the recommended counseling is a 10 week, once a week session in the clients home.

All for no cost to the client at all.

This is a fabulous organization, and I wish that every community had its own Alliance on Aging. If your community has a group like this, become familiar with it so you can use the services or recommend it to others. And if your community doesn't have this sort of group, support starting something similar.

When mother died, I moved from caregiver to estate executor, and now I'm looking forward to giving back to the community. Because life goes on, and I've learned so much from taking care of mother for the past 3+ years, and now I need to have something to do with my energy!

Here is a link that might be useful: Alliance on Aging

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It sounds as if you have found an important niche to fill. Wonderful!! I think the recent big to-do about getting the Aged enrolled in the Medicare Pharmacy program is a good example of how those without family need a little extra support. (Actually, even those WITH family have a problem with that program!!!) I like the idea of help with finding part time jobs too. They're out there. It's just a matter of knowing where to look.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 7:54AM
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It's good to see you! I'm going to see if there's an Alliance for the Aging near here.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 12:03AM
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There are very few "alliance" groups around the country, but that doesn't mean that yu can't be an advocate for a similar group where you are. Wherever you have volunteer groups working on behalf of seniors, you can put the groups together under one umbrella, and have a much more effective organization.

I have my first assignment! A 83-yr old woman, widowed for 11 years, still grieving her husband, and with some problems with her adult children. Mild depression. If I can encouage her to talk and if that helps her, I'll be thrilled. Everyone told me that the first client is the hardest, if only because it's your first!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 12:17AM
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The women of her generation pose a special problem. As most were not raised to be self sufficient. Primarily they were raised to depend on the husband. Jobs were secondary. They are far more "alone" than women of today when the husband dies. It's very hard to get them to see the world outside of their role as wives. Keep us posted as to how it goes. It's another one-day-at-a-time task.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 8:03AM
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Have you met with your first assignment yet? If so, did she seem to accept that you sincerely wanted to help?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 7:41PM
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Yes, last Friday I met my first assignment. She's been widowed 11 years, and her children don't live here, the closest is about an hour and a half away. She'd like a house-share, and she has a lovely home, but we also started to discuss her kids. One wants her to move into a senior place like where my Mother lived, and another child wants her to move to where he lives, maybe buy somehting like a condo up there. But she says she's not ready for that yet. SHe's a young 83, but very lonely. She's been in her home for 37 years, and she feels surrounded by her memories. She's all too willing to talk, and I had trouble getting out of there on time---I didn't get out nearly on time! But she's a lovely lady, and I think that talking about this will help.

She may not be ready to solve all this right away, but she's willing to talk over the possibilities.

Thanks for asking, PB!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 7:49PM
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