Our AgeAssured program helps adults who have long-term care insurance policies to age safely in place. The heart of the program is the outreach done by our Allies, professional aging experts who listen actively to our members, recognize and discuss opportunities to help them age successfully, and help them to make positive changes in their lives with information, support, and follow-up. While that’s an accurate definition, it doesn’t begin to describe the rich texture of each individual interaction and how rewarding and meaningful they are for both the Ally and our AgeAssured members. Here are three member stories that highlight some of those more intangible or unexpected benefits.
Little things make a big difference
Recovering from an acute event can be overwhelming, and it’s common to be unaware of all of the available products and services that can make your life easier or safer. When Jani, 85, was recovering at home after hip replacement surgery, Ally Angelina sent her multiple small items that helped her to be more agile and comfortable on her own, including a motion light, walker basket, sock aid, personal grabber, long-handled bath brush, leg-lift strap, and more. The cumulative effect of all these low-tech upgrades “made it easier for me to stay home,” says Jani. “Angelina’s been a godsend; she explains everything to me and this makes you feel good, that somebody else is looking after you.”
Finding solutions together not only makes a big difference in the present, it inspires members facing future challenges to be more optimistic and proactive about seeking help in order to continue to age successfully in place. Plus, now they know exactly who to call: their Ally!
Being seen and appreciated
Leesil, a caregiver for her over 90-year-old mother, disabled adult son, and a grandchild, burst into tears when she received a Caregiver’s Daily Affirmation card from her Ally, Robin. Feeling championed for her solitary and unsung caregiving meant a lot to Leesil, who often felt overwhelmed and inadequate. She now keeps the card next to her bed and reads it daily.
Being seen and appreciated by an Ally who empathized with her daily struggles was a powerful release for Leesil. She understood that she was not alone, was more forgiving of herself, and realized that she needed more help.
A caregiving ripple effect
Leesil struggled with asking for help, but Robin coached her to begin by asking trusted family and friends to help with specific tasks. The generous response was more than she’d hoped for. Neighbors and friends began taking turns cooking and delivering dinners. They also helped with hosting playdates for Leesil’s grandchild. Inspired by the community, Leesil’s husband started helping out more with the laundry and grocery shopping.
Thanks to a wider circle of support, Leesil is no longer in a constant state of stress. And she’s able to be a better caregiver to her family, too. She started going on daily walks with her mother, which had been recommended by a physical therapist to improve her mother’s leg strength. Since the walks started, her mother has been more stable and hasn’t had a fall.
Leesil’s story is a wonderful example of the ripple effect. When an Ally helps one older adult, it often helps one or more people in the same household, for many older adults are both caregivers and care receivers.
Validation when you need it most
By definition, an Ally is someone who is on your side, and sometimes this can mean playing the role of a patient advocate. Ellen, 84, suffered from chronic pain and felt that she wasn’t being heard or taken seriously, let alone getting answers from her many doctors. Her Ally, Anna, spoke with her frequently during this period as she was navigating doctor appointments. Anna’s focus was empathy, support, and validation: Ellen had a right to keep asking questions and insisting on better answers. Thanks in part to her newfound persistence, Ellen is now trying a new therapy to help with the pain in her legs. Anna will check back in a few months to see how she’s doing.
It can be hard to advocate for yourself without support. Having an Ally at your back can make all the difference in your persistence and your health outcomes. “When I talk to you,” Ellen told Anna, “it feels good to know that there is somebody who cares and finds a solution.”
Our company is proud of the work our Allies do, and we continue to learn from them and our thousands of members as to how we can best support successful aging. Our goal in the near future is to widen access to many hundreds of thousands more.