By Ann Walsh, Regional Vice President of Operations Healthcare for Volunteers of America National Services

When seniors begin to plan their futures, the idea of aging in place piques the interest of many. It makes sense–from independence to familiar surroundings, it’s no wonder that over 90% of seniors want to live at home as they get older.

With so many seniors wanting to age in place, it’s important for them to consider how they will adapt their plans as their health needs change and the resources available from the comfort of their own homes. In Southwest Florida, an innovative option is available for healthy independent seniors: Senior Choice at Home. As an age-in-place, membership-based continuing care option, Senior Choice at Home provides its members with guaranteed benefits, including a personal care coordinator, individualized health plans, monthly home visits and a lifetime commitment of support. When asked, members say the greatest benefits are advocacy, peace of mind and reassurance.

Advocacy

When speaking to Senior Choice at Home members, many will mention that they feel reassured by knowing that they will always have an advocate for their long-term care needs. Tom Parkhurst, a member since 2021, joined the program with his wife because of the promise of advocacy.

“One day, I felt that I needed a second opinion from a neurologist,” said Parkhurst. “Our advocate was able to support me in finding someone, and I’ve remained with that physician since then.”

Parkhurst’s advocate, Erin Benson, is a personal care coordinator for Senior Choice at Home. Benson stands by members’ side to help them navigate the complexities of the health care system.

“My wife and I have really taken kindly to Erin,” said Parkhurst. “She makes regular house calls, works around your schedule and is thorough and keeps good notes, demonstrating her dedication to us. You really feel like you have someone on your side as a member.”

Peace of mind

Picture this: you have major surgery, need rehabilitation services, and you live alone. What are your options? For many seniors, their options are limited, and typically include remaining at home and having a family member take them to and from their rehab appointments.

Bobbi Nelson, a Senior Choice at Home member since 2019, found herself in this situation when she had knee replacement surgery amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of Nelson returning home after being discharged and commuting to physical therapy, her care coordinator arranged for her to stay at Gulf Coast Village, a continuing care retirement community in Cape Coral, also sponsored by Volunteers of America National Services.

“I had my knee replaced two and a half years ago, and I went into Gulf Coast Village for rehabilitation,” said Nelson. “Rehab was wonderful. I got physical therapy six days a week, whereas I would’ve only received rehab three days a week at home. I would absolutely choose to do my therapy at Gulf Coast Village again if necessary.”

Through her Senior Choice at Home membership, Nelson was able to maintain peace of mind that she’d be receiving high-quality and attentive care while recovering, and she didn’t need to stress about how her recovery plan would look. Now, Nelson attends Senior Choice at Home events to share her story and inspire others to join.

Reassurance

Sometimes, all we need is reassurance that we made the right decision.

Marguerite Burg, a member since 2016, knew she made the right choice with Senior Choice at Home when during a four-day stint in the hospital after a 2017 surgery, the program called her and said “Marg, your bed at Gulf Coast Village is waiting for you.” Burg went to Gulf Coast Village as soon as she was discharged and spent two weeks recovering through rehab services.

“I was treated very well, and I felt like they were very receptive to me,” said Burg. “Seven years ago, my husband and I thought we were doing the right thing by choosing Senor Choice at Home. Their proactivity in accommodating my needs was a very good reminder that we made the right choice.”

For more information, contact us today at SeniorChoiceatHome.com/contact-us/.

About the author

Ann Walsh is regional vice president of operations healthcare for Volunteers of America National Services, the sponsoring organization for Gulf Coast Village, The Preserve and Senior Choice at Home.