The Network of Senior Services
The industry that I know as the "senior services" is comprised of hundreds, if not thousands, of small companies offering services to seniors. They all offer services specifically tailored for older adults, or those that care for them.
A sub-set of these professionals (myself included) get together on a very regular basis to learn about the services and specialties of the other companies. We do this so that we know when our clients need a particular service we know who to refer them to. Ask any one of these professionals and they consider it part of their responsibility to know what resources and services are available to their senior clients. This requires an additional commitment of time that doesn't result in an hourly wage. It's a commitment some of us make to simply be a better resource to our clients. Over time those of us in the "senior services industry" learn who the stable, reputable, consistent companies are that provide the best services. We know because our clients tell us about their experience. These referrals are almost always made without any kind of referral fee. The referrals are made out of good will and out of the desire to insure our clients have access to the resources they need.
How Do You Navigate All The Senior Services Options?
But if you're a senior, or you're helping your aging parents, where do you start when you don't know where to start?
If you locate a directory of these senior services, or call the Senior Linkage Line in Minnesota to find a company that's a good fit for you you'll likely find that about as helpful as looking in the old Yellow Pages. A single line listing, or an ad the size of a business card likely are not going to tell you what you need to know. These resources are more akin to a database of services that will tell you the name of the company, but not if that company is a good fit for you, how long they've been in business, or what type of reputation they've earned.
So, if you're on the hunt for a particular resource, or aren't even sure where to start or what resource to ask for, here are a few tips you might find helpful:
- Check out the Geriatric Care Managers that have joined the Aging Life Care Association. You'll find the list of the MN Care Managers Here. Find one, and get on the phone, and ask questions. I know most of them in the Twin Cities, and they are all great resources. If you're outside of Minnesota you'll be able to search for Care Managers in your state on that site as well. The beauty of working with a Care Manager is they will either know the answer off the top of their head to your question or they will know where to go to get the answer. They are walking encyclopedias. They'll save you the work and frustration of doing the research yourself.
- Find someone in the senior industry, anyone, and reach out to them and ask them for a referral. Heck, you can always reach out to me. If I don't have the answer I'm pretty sure I know who to call to get it for you.
- Of course, as one of our readers, you have an open invitation to reach out to me anytime. Chances are if I don't know the answer to your question, I know the person that does. firstname.lastname@example.org