United Church Homes (UCH) has launched NaviGuide, a new service for older adults living independently. Aging parents often turn to adult children for support in managing day-to-day activities like scheduling medical appointments, setting up home health care, navigating Medicare, cooking, grocery shopping and lawn care.
NaviGuide makes life easier for families by providing a trained service coordinator to arrange and manage a menu of services that help aging loved ones continue to live well and remain independent. The service coordinator works with the older adult and their adult children to create personalized solutions ensuring they prioritize the needs and goals of the family.
It is a subscription-based service available in Franklin, Delaware and Greene counties in Ohio. NaviGuide service coordinators do not provide direct in-home services. Instead, NaviGuide service coordinators assist older adults with navigating healthcare options, linking them to community-based services and securing solutions that are critical to living well. NaviGuide service coordinators have strong professional connections in the aging services community and years of experience building service plans for individuals that improve their health and wellbeing.
United Church Homes already provides service coordinators in its independent senior living communities, including The Polaris Community and several affordable housing communities in Franklin and Delaware counties. There are many community-based programs and services available to older adults; however, families may not know about those or how to navigate the complicated network of aging services. Family members, especially adult children, or caregivers whom NaviGuide uniquely speaks to, usually have very full lives of their own.
“It is time-consuming and confusing to coordinate services for a parent when you’re busy juggling careers, family commitments and your own home,” said Dan Fagan, Executive Director of Housing and Services.
Kim Yoder, UCH NaviGuide Program Manager said service coordinators understand the demands and become the trusted link between families and services needed to support a loved one on their aging journey. “This eases the burden for everyone so that mom or dad get the support they need and adult children have peace of mind.”
NaviGuide service coordinators also can help families when their loved ones are returning home from hospital stays or recovering from surgeries. Service coordinators help with these transitions by providing recommendations and coordinating assistance for help at home.
“NaviGuide is a godsend for my parents and me,” said Jackie, an adult daughter whose father has benefitted from the service.
“My parents were determined to stay in the home they’d had for over 50 years. Then my dad had a stroke. He was always the handyman around the house and since he retired he helped mom with laundry, going to the store, even cooking. I knew mom wouldn’t be able to handle it all by herself. I helped as much as I could, but I have to travel for my job and couldn’t always be there when they needed something. That’s when I heard about NaviGuide. Our service coordinator spent time getting to know them and how they live. Then she put together a plan that provided the services and supports they need to remain in their home. It’s given us peace of mind knowing that NaviGuide is in our corner, making life easier for all of us.”
NaviGuide service coordinators have professional training and experience dealing with the challenges older adults and families face. Since NaviGuide service coordinators have regular contact with clients, they often are the first people to notice a change and begin important conversations such as when more services may be needed or it’s time to consider a move to a senior living community that offers a higher level of care.
It is simple to get started with NaviGuide. A service coordinator will do an initial in-home visit to determine what services the older adult needs. After the initial assessment, a month-to-month subscription provides the ongoing monitoring, service set ups and special discounts from preferred providers who prioritize NaviGuide members.
The NaviGuide pilot in Greene County is being supported in part by a grant from the Yellow Springs Community Foundation, to provide 14 older adults in that village with three free months of service. “We are fortunate to have foundation partners that invest in new projects that support older adults,” said Gloria Hurwitz, Vice President of Advancement.
“Without support, it would be difficult or perhaps impossible to provide this much-needed subsidy in Yellow Springs for NaviGuide during the initial pilot year.”
• 24-hour NaviGuide call service
• Coordination of transportation
• Setup of food and prescription home delivery
• Navigation of today’s complicated healthcare system
• Scheduling of household chores, repairs and care
• Connection to benefits and services older adults qualify for, but may not be aware of
• Explanation of the various options for aging seniors, including assisted living and senior communities
For more information on NaviGuide, call 614.820.8842 or visit uchnaviguide.org.