As a case manager that works with older adults/seniors in a private community centre, my role is different than a social worker or case manager in a government system.
People choose to be involved with our agency in some way whether through the Wellness Centre, taking courses, volunteering, playing cards, socializing in the cafeteria, attending a group or being involved in the Social Services department.
I have approximately 75 older adults that I personally work with. My contact with them can be only at the centre, through home visits, phone calls, visits in the hospital or rehabilitation, meetings, case conferences, etc.
I also co-facilitate a group for seniors each week and the group’s participants are Holocaust Survivors.
Some of my clients are very private, withdrawn while others are social, active in the centre where I work, volunteer and have more energy than I do! (That is how I want to be when I get older!)
For those that choose to be private, have only a few close friends or for those that have no where to go and are isolated-their life is very different.
This article resonates with me as this should not happen!!
What happened to neighbors saying hi to one another, being friendly, checking up on one another? What happened to the communities of long ago where the younger generations looked out for the older generations!
No one should die alone. No one should lie dead for a month in their home before someone notices!
When I first moved to Canada and my then-husband and I lived in a small upper duplex. We had a senior woman living below us who was extremely private and in the 4 years we lived there, I think I physically saw her in person maybe 3 times.
I heard her, I smelled the cigarettes she smoked and I heard her TV blaring.
One day I realized it was quiet in her apartment; no TV, no radio, no smell of cigarette smoke.
I knocked on her door-no answer. I tried this for 2 days and then being a social worker, professional instinct kicked in, and I went to the janitor of the small apartment complex. The police were called in. Her door had to be broken down and guess what? She was dead. She had fallen and hit her head on the side of her dresser. She had no family that I knew of. No visitors. She had her food delivered as she was not very mobile.
To me that is wrong on so many levels, but if I had not noticed the absence of smoke, no TV-how long until someone else noticed……
Please as a personal plea from me, be aware, notice when a senior is not seen or heard from, get to know your neighbors. Rebuild that sense of community from long ago…….