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May 30, 2024 Leah Kittredge 2 min read

A Helping Hand

At the Central Vermont Council on Aging, a dedicated team of 18 staff members work behind the scenes to answer Helpline calls, make referrals, and connect people to supports that allow them to live with dignity in the homes and communities of their choice.  

When a call comes through to the Helpline, it is answered by an Information and Assistant Specialist who is knowledgeable about local services and supports related to aging. Many times, peoples’ needs can be addressed with a phone call or two; however, in certain cases folks may benefit from more in-depth or long-term support, in which case they may be referred to an Options Counselor or Case Manager.  

I spoke recently with several Case Managers about what it’s like to be on the front lines supporting older adults of Central Vermont to live independently. The experiences of our clients often do not lend themselves to simple stories that can be tied up with a bow. Many times, Case Managers are in an endless cycle of meeting one need only to discover a new one and are filling a vital role in their clients’ lives.

As Case Manager Diane put it, sometimes the Case Manager is the only person a client has in their life who listens to and is there for them without any agenda, the value of which cannot be underestimated. Diane is “dredged in the heartbreaking basics” with her clients, making sure they have such essentials as safe, warm housing and food on the table, without which they would not be able to continue living independently.  

Marianne has been a Case Manager for a long time now. She echoed the importance of the Case Manager being a neutral party who can help clients navigate the challenges inherent to being dependent on others. She has become a connection for folks who are fairly isolated, seeing only a few caregivers or family members in addition to herself.  Due to the long-term nature of the service, Case Managers come to develop trusted relationships with their clients, with one of Marianne’s clients trusting and relying on her to look at each piece of mail that she gets. This is a service for which there is really no substitute. 

The folks that Case Managers are working with have ongoing, complex needs and could always benefit from a volunteer – could this be you? Contact [email protected] to find out more.    

To find out more about our Case Management services, call the Helpline at 1-800-642-5119.