Nov 1, 1996
Concerned about the paucity of services for elderly who need care but prefer to live at home, Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, Camden, NJ, embarked on an effort to obtain grant funds while seeking creative ways to meet the elderly's nonmedical needs. One of the first programs developed was a Senior Companion Program. This federally funded program recruits low-income elderly citizens, trains them, and places them in the homes of seniors who need nonmedical services to remain in the community. The program's success led to the establishment of Helping Hands in the Community, which recruits volunteers of all ages and incomes to serve as companions for seniors. An extension of this program, Helping Hands in Business, sought to help employers reduce the costs associated with lost productivity because of employees' responsibilities as care givers for elderly family members. Finally, the Camden Senior Community Support Program uses aggressive case management in the emergency room and the hospital to determine whether the elderly need to be admitted to the hospital or can receive support from family or others to remain in the community.