As Unique as the City We Serve

By Anne M. Foerg, Director of Social Work

It is not uncommon to hear people say that they never truly understood what social workers do until they needed the assistance of one. While society recognizes social workers as people who “help,” it is their approach in doing so that is unique in relation to other “helping” professionals. A social worker is trained to see a person or a family in a holistic manner, exploring the physical, emotional, social, financial, and environmental factors that influence their movement through the world. Social work isn’t about meeting with someone and giving advice; it is about learning who a person is, where they are at, and how they see the world in order to better support them in finding new, different, and better ways to cope.

At CaringKind, our Social Work Services department is focused on providing individualized support to address the challenges inherent in caring for a person with dementia through the entire trajectory of the condition. We apply a holistic perspective, working to understand the circumstances that make a person or a family unique – personality
traits, relationship patterns, family history, culture, and geographic location, to name a few – in order to better equip them in navigating rough terrain.

We counsel individuals and families over the phone, via technological avenues like Skype, and at our main office or one of our satellite locations to assist in processing challenges, both current and future. While some need only one in-depth session to manage a crisis, more frequently, those we assist need several sessions over time to discuss their situation, dissect their particular challenges, and craft a plan to address these issues. And this might occur over several weeks, several months, or even several years.

Just as unique as those we help, so too is our Social Work Services team at CaringKind. We have educated professionals with extensive experience in the fields of aging and disability services, hospice, and mental health counseling, all of which are rooted in this most unique of places, New York City. We immerse our staff in learning and practicing the principles of good dementia care. We know good dementia care and we know New York City, and our greatest strength lies in the intersection of the two. Families can rely on our expert guidance in navigating difficult situations made more challenging by our city’s complex systems of care.

Our experience helps families navigate the various systems with which they will likely interact over the course of their journey with dementia. We guide people in accessing home care services, choosing an adult day program, or in finding a nursing home that will be a good fit, all through the lens of dementia and good dementia care. Just as important, we leverage relationships with other ,professionals and service providers in the New York City area to help our clients achieve the best outcome. We share our expertise with many organizations and professionals serving people with dementia, and in doing so, utilize these relationships on behalf of our clients, matching them with needed supports and services.

Our expertise also provides a foundation for our team to assist families in developing unique plans of care in the context of very complicated situations. We have assisted networks of friends, with no formal ties to a person with dementia, in providing care for the unfamilied individual. We have provided guidance in moving a person with dementia to New York City from a different state, as well as from a different country. When there is family conflict, often deeply rooted, we work to mediate disagreements by finding commonality in the goals to care for the person with dementia.

CaringKind’s spectrum of services operate on the same solid principles of care — education, emotional support, practical assistance — but our Social Work Services resources allow us to practice these principles in a way that is as unique as each person’s journey, whether that person has dementia or is caring for one. We meet the person where they are at and help them to move to where they would like to be.

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