Service Oriented: Jensen Case Management holds discussion on elderly services
Last Thursday, the Portage Lake District Library hosted a presentation from Jensen Case Management LLC on the services that they offer elderly individuals and their families in finding the resources that they need to live “as independent a life as possible.”
“This is a great place for the presentation,” said Karol Pfefforkorn, one of the independent contractors who provides Aging Life Care through Jensen Case Management. Pfefforcorn has previously worked with the Wisconsin Hospital Association and later with the Omega House.
“We thought it would be an easy place for people to come,” said Pfefforcorn.
They must have been right, as the community room at the PLDL was nearly full of community members and representatives from a local assisted living facility, as well as the four Aging Life Care experts.
Aging Life Care, formerly known as “Geriatric Care Management” is a national organization that vets, and certifies professionals who assist the elderly in navigating the social, medical, and financial hardships that can come with old age.
“This is a national professional organization that credentials agencies to provide these services,” said Maureen Jensen, owner of Jensen Case Management.
Jensen formerly worked with the Western UP Health Department, has a degrees in Community Health Education and is a registered Nurse.
“There are a lot of sites now that you can go on and find caregivers, but you don’t know how these people are being vetted or who is overseeing that,” said Jensen.
Jensen Case Management, based in Marquette, was founded in 2014 and originally dealt solely with individuals who were not necessarily elderly, but who were disabled or chronically ill. Jensen became a certified Aging Life Care Professional the following year while she and Pfefforkorn were helping a 92-year-old transition from living alone to living in an assisted care facility by working with his insurance provider and the Veteran’s Administration to get him the resources that he needed to live happily and safely without other family members in the area to help take care of him.
“Historically, it is the children who act as caregivers. Those without children, or without relationships with their adult children, need to make other plans,” said Pfeffercorn. “That’s where Jensen Case Management comes in.”
“An older adult is not always the person who thinks they need help; often it is the family. It’s often the adult child who will reach out to us,” said Jensen. “It’s the support that we give to the family as they are going through these things that sets us apart from other disciplines.”
One thing that doesn’t currently separate the Aging Life Care services offered by Jensen Case Management is the cost. Because the care provided to every client is different, every client is charged differently, but Jensen says that the hourly rate is similar to that of an accountant, though the first hour is a free consultation during which Jensen determines whether her agency is the best choice for the individual and if so, what kind of services should be provided.
“UPHP and Medicaid don’t cover our costs at this time but there’s a lot that can happen legislatively. People are starting to understand the importance of the services that we provide,” said Jensen. “I’ve been able to witness thirty years of changes in healthcare and I’m excited to be able to come here and say that we can provide these services… I’ve been going to Aging Life Care conferences since 2015 and I’m amazed at how hard it is to find these services in rural areas.”
After the presentation, members of the community were able to ask questions about Jensen Case Management. Some audience members also shared their own experiences with pursuing aging life care either for themselves or for a family member, usually through various insurance agencies or through the 2-1-1 hotline.
“Sometimes people call 2-1-1 and find out that they are too good to access certain services but they still need something,” said Jensen. “People fall through the cracks, so to speak, when they can’t get care because they’re too physically able.”
The presentation at PLDL was both to inform members of the community about the availability of these services, as well as to better understand the needs that community members face in these areas.
“This is a new thing. We want feedback,” said Jensen. “That’s why we’re starting to roll out and give these presentations in more places.”
The next similar presentation will be Thursday, Oct. 4 at noon and 6 p.m. in Peter White Public Library in Marquette. For more information, visit www.jensencm.com.