Senior Case Management Program Resumes Home Visits
Connecting Communities | August 2020
Senior home visiting and case management services at MSV resumed in-person visits in late July. The program, which serves over two hundred seniors throughout Chicago each year, went fully virtual in March as a precautionary measure due to the pandemic.
As one of MSV’s longest-running programs, senior case management services has been stabilizing and supporting vulnerable seniors for decades. A small team of MSV Case Managers works with seniors to connect them with resources like public benefits, mental health services, housing, and beyond.
“Once coronavirus hit, we were forced to move to phone case management,” explained Senior Services Manager, Hilary Waldron.
With new cases still coming in even as the City was shut down, asking seniors to communicate over the phone became even more difficult. “From a relationship-building standpoint, creating bonds over the phone is much harder than creating bonds in person, said Waldron. “It’s a real testament to our case managers skillset that they are able to continuously make strong relationships with these folks.”
"I imagine we will see an uptick in need."
Hilary Waldron, Senior Services Manager
The Senior Services team faced other major challenges related to transportation, in-home care for impaired seniors, and difficulties with technology. When several seniors stopped responding to phone calls, MSV case managers got creative as Waldron explained, “We resorted to sending letters and we did get responses.”
With home visits now reinstated, Senior Services is establishing new protocols for in-person interactions. As Waldron put it, “Obviously it’s different because they can’t go into the homes. They’re wearing full PPE. Gowns, gloves, booties, masks, head coverings in the community draw attention to you.”
Waldron is bracing herself and her team as she looks ahead to the future, “I imagine we will see an uptick in need. Seniors who were stabilized before may no longer have that same sort of stability.” As the end of July nears, Waldron believes that supporting many of these seniors will become even more difficult, “Unemployment benefits end, eviction moratorium ends, and we may see further strain on these systems.”
For now, though, with in-person visits back on track, Waldron and her team continue to help these seniors navigate their new normal in a more personal way.