Care for Seniors

I have been asked many times what it takes to provide care for a senior with multiple medical needs. The answer is one that must fit the unique needs, as no two persons are alike. Not one size fits all.

Some persons do very well living in their home with assistance, while others may need a higher level of care. The difference in care depends on many factors, as well as family support, the monies to fund this care, and or medi-cal in California, which will pay for long-term care but only in skilled nursing if the senior meets the medical guidelines. Requiring assistance with dressing, bathing, incontinent care, walking, dementia care.  Many other factors come into play with options for a more active senior that is private pay, assisted living, or a smaller Care Home which, is centered around a more hands on approach.

Whatever the situation you need more than just a referral to a facility, you need to know all options as well as location, ratings of facilities, do they provide an on-site nurse, is their awake at night caregivers, how is medication handled. Is transportation provided to and from doctor appointments, what activities are provided.

When choosing an agency, are they local or a nation wide referral service that just provides a data base. Most persons are not aware that facilities need to be monitored and known well by the referring agency. Care Pathways is located in Orange County and has provided families and seniors with concrete services and information for over 20 years. We are the only service that provides Social Workers as well as RN’s to assess and determine what will meet your loved ones needs. We also provide ongoing case-management services for seniors as needed. For real time help contact us at (714) 743-6309 24/7

Senior Referral Agency

Care Pathways


Activities Bring Meaning


Guest Blogger: by: Kerry Whelan BA, AD

Park Vista Care Center Fullerton CA

A Meaningful Life full of Activities

 To create a meaningful life I decided to look at a few areas that I think are important for activities for our elderly population. I have been an activity professional for over twenty  four years in many different levels of care. I now work in a CCRC where I get to work with seniors in all three levels of care: Residential Living, Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing, and every day is a new challenge as we explore possibilities in this dynamic field.

 To begin, I have found that mentoring is essential to promote dynamic activity professionals in this field. We need strong Activity professionals in order to work with this diverse population of seniors. Nowadays your title might be Life Enrichment Director, Wellness Coordinator  or Activity Director. I was so lucky to be mentored by exceptional people throughout my career. One of my first Administrators said ” Activities sets the tone for the building.” It is true, as an activity professional you have to be empathetic, organized and creative.

“You also have to be very flexible and learn to go with the flow of life.”

Mentoring or giving back to the community is also an essential part of a meaningful life for seniors. All levels of care from independent to dementia care, seniors can give back to the community. Many new programs have been established for seniors and children or young adults, whereby the senior is able to mentor young adults. In our weekly crafts program we often make cards for sick children at local hospitals. In our retirement area, our seniors knit lap robes and blankets for our residents who are in the health center and memory care. We are also involved in a program that the whole campus is invited to provide holiday gifts for the Crittendon center in Fullerton, and the seniors wrap the presents.  We are also blessed to work with outside pet therapy programs and church groups who volunteer with our seniors.

“It’s a full circle and many of our residents volunteered throughout their lives and continue to do so.” 

Secondly we need to examine what is an activity and what gives it meaning. The standard of practice now is that anything can be an activity. Activities can be sitting in a group and listening to an entertainer and socializing at happy hour. While many people enjoy and prefer to be with people, it’s not the only action in town any longer. If a resident is a “loner”, that’s okay, we work with them to find a meaningful activity that is important to them. We don’t ask our seniors conform to our expectations, we try to empower them to pursue activities of interest. A resident and a housekeeping staff person spend a bit of time daily discussing recipes. The housekeeper goes home and makes the residents’ special family recipe for banana bread. In my book that is a successful activity. A group of men sit everyday together in the dining room and shoot the breeze about sports, current events, politics and what’s happening in the facility…that’s an activity.

 Last we have to recognize that Activities are multi level nowadays. Many of our new residents are computer savvy and want to learn more. They Facebook, instragram, Face time, email and some even Twitter.

“They want to be active participants in life, they don’t want to sit back and watch.”

 The population is changing and the Activity programming must change with it. Technology is advancing at a faster rate that we can even imagine. People are living longer and longer and they want to be healthy as they do it. Wellness is a critical component, mind, body and soul is so important.

 . It is essential to empower our elderly population to encourage them to make daily decisions regarding care and lifestyle and planning for the future.

Care Pathways wish’s to thank this week’s guest Blog Poster Kerry Whelan BA, AD

When you need someone to speak for you


Senior Referral Agency

Geriatric Assessment

When you need someone to speak for you

When families do not live close to their loved one, or there is no family, we can step in and be there for the older person to make certain their care needs are met wherever they are; at home, in a retirement home or in a nursing home. We can also make regular visits, monitoring the person’s wants and needs. We keep the family updated on the condition of their loved one through telephone and written communication.

As a senior, where can you go for advice?

The seniors’ care system is riddled with contradictions, confusion and misinformation. Add to that, other people may be telling you they have a say in what you decide because we work directly with you and your family to help you determine what is the best solution to your unique situation. We look at all aspects of your care needs, as well as your wish’s in helping you decide what is best for you or a loved one alongside your physician. You’ve always prepared and planned your path. Retirement and the future of your loved ones deserve the same attention to planning. Our consultants will work with you to determine your future goals and help you with just what you and your loved ones desire and what is available in the Orange County area. For more information contact us at (714) 743-6309 we are available 24/7 to answer your care questions.






Assisted-suicide bill approved by California


9/9/2015   Care News


 The measure, which would allow doctors to prescribe medication to some terminally ill patients to end their lives if taken, passed 43-34 after weeks of hearings and passionate debate.

Under the bill, which was pulled for lack of support in July but reintroduced last month as part of a special legislative session to deal with healthcare issues, two doctors would have to attest that a patient had only six months to live before the medication could be prescribed.

The bill makes it a felony to coerce or trick someone into taking the medication, or to force it on someone. Patients who are not mentally competent would not be allowed to receive a prescription.

It now goes back to the Senate, where it is expected to pass. The legislature is required to pass regular session bills by midnight on Friday, although lawmakers may opt to stay longer to handle special session measures.

As a social worker I am not in agreement of this. I see many issues with persons that are suffering from depression and having an impact on this decision. I saw nothing in this bill where a mental health evaluation is done prior to making this decision.

The Lessons Learned from Lace Handkerchiefs



The Lessons Learned from Lace Handkerchiefs
(In Memory of my Grandmother Mary Walker)

Growing up my grandmother lived with us and our extended family. She inspired, encouraged and loved the grandchildren always teaching us by example. She had polio as an adult and it left her with a limp and one foot that was contracted. But she never let her disability slow her down.

I can remember setting with her when she would come in from the garden with green beans and we would set together and snap them to cook and to can later. The lessons she taught me while doing this chore was one of many life lessons. She would talk to me about the state of affairs in the world, how blessed we were to have our home and food to eat. That we should never turn anyone away without first giving to them a bit of something, be it food, money, advice or a warm hug.

I am very fortunate to have known and learned immeasurable wisdom from my grandmother. During the Depression days, money was in short supply, so my grandmother learned the value of a dollar as well as making do with what you have. And that good things are worth waiting for.

She always carried beautiful lace handkerchiefs and would put coins in the center and tie them up for the grand kids to find as a reward for something we had done well. It’s a memory I will always cherish of my grandmother Mary, yes I was named for her. I wish she had lived a longer life she left us when I was only eleven years old. But the memories live on and as I pass the lace handkerchiefs to my own grand children, I will make sure their are coins inside to remind them of her. MK

Care Pathways Orange County Senior News

Senior Referral Agency

Care Pathways

It seems just like yesterday we were in the New Year and here we are at the half way mark into July. Time has a way of flying, or so it seems. Some think as we get older time speeds up. Time is in fact the same we just have more in our memory banks than say at twenty. Which brings me to my post this month. No matter what age you are, live your life to the fullest.

Yes I know we all age, (me as well), but we have to adapt or we stand still stuck in time. There are things we may no longer be able to do and this is the time to learn something new. Change is not easy. I know we all at one time or another must give up somethings and sometimes a lot of things in life. We may have suffered an illness, a death of a loved one, the loss is great and so is pain. But the time must come when you pick yourself up after the long dark night and go forward. Going forward in whatever way you can. It might just be having lunch with a friend, going to a movie with a friend, or even just taking a walk around your neighborhood. The thought is to continue to move forward. You still matter in this world no matter your age.


It Takes a Community to Care

It Takes a Community to Care

My Mother used to say this when I was a young child growing up, I did not realize at the time how right she was. In those days we had extended families with Aunts, Uncles, cousins and grandparents. The world has changed and so many families are fragmented and alone without the help of other family members to pitch in when an illness happens or a parent needs care. The community of extended families and neighbors was a life saving measure back in those days.

The community we live in now is one of finding solutions for a crisis situation through our local ER’s which has become a catch all for many when answers are needed.
The social workers of the ERs are heroes and many look to them for answers that are tough. You can walk into any ER on any day of the week and see the pain etched on the faces of persons who are looking for Life Support, people who have reached a crisis situation and are in need of life saving measures to help them find solutions for care.

Our unsung heroes who reach out to prevent a full blown code. Colors, numbers, or other designations may follow a code announcement to identify the type of emergency that is occurring in hospitals when life is at stake. There is no code for the Life saving measures that are taken every day by a team in an ER to prevent a fall, a stroke, intervention, services within the community it serves.

The doctors and staff are trained to recognize and respond appropriately when a crisis is in progress. There are countless hours, time and monies spent on Life Saving Measures but not many people understand this in our communities. Life support replaces or supports a failing bodily function. In treatable or curable conditions, life support is used temporarily until the body can resume normal functioning.

And so are the services that Social Workers and medical staff provide to help a patient and family through the crisis of life, information and support for their patients. 365 days a year. It is a privilege to be a part of this community of support as a social worker.

When Does Caring Become a Burden

Senior Referral Agency

Care Pathways

When does caring become a burden? Do you ever feel like you’ve had enough? Most people do not discuss the anger and bitterness that can come for caring for someone. They put on a face that appears to all the world that everything is fine. They experience anxiety, depression, health concerns and eating disorders as well as a whole host of other symptoms and illness.

It is not something that is talked about much, unless you are in a care group and not even than sometimes. You see people feel shame and guilt as well as “I should be able to do this without ending up hating the one I am caring for.” Sadly life does not always work this way. Many families are being hard pressed to care for loved ones that they are starting to resent it. Why? Some families are fragmented and do not have the social support that used to be. Families live out of area and sometimes you will find one adult child trying to do it all without the other adults involved. Most people hold full time jobs or have medical concerns of their own and asked to take on the care of a senior that was not involved in their life as child.

There are situations where persons have divorced and the well spouse has taken on the care of the person who walked away from them years ago and now in their time of need, stepped up to be the caretaker. If there was abuse in this marriage it may be a time of trying to resolve old hurts and come to terms with your past. ( A word of caution, while some persons can do this, many are unable and can become bitter, resentful and endanger their own health.)

The reasons are many, the answers are not easy. Cost is the biggest factor when a person is the caretaker. Parents have either not planned or monies have been lost to the recession and there is no one but you to take this on. There are many loving persons who feel they have made a promise to a parent or a spouse to care for them and now feel they must honor this. What I tell my families the promises you made at the time maybe 10 or 20 years ago are sometimes hard to keep. Not because you do not wish to but because lives have changed, needs have changed and while you made that promise in all good faith, you now find yourself unable to fulfill that promise. It’s okay, we all have made promises that at the time we felt we could do. But there comes a time of reality check, and the reality is Mom, Dad and a spouse needs more than you can give.

I know this from a professional level as well as a personal one. Unless you have been there and cared for a loved one it really is hard to understand all the stress’s and pain that can come along with the caring.

Care Pathways was founded for this very reason to give you the tools and information on caring, placement and services that can help you the caregiver. We are located in Orange County and not a nation wide data service. We provide real time help to seniors and families who are in need.. For more information contact us at 714-743-6309 or the form on this site.

Are You Ready for Help

Senior Referral Agency

Care Pathways

If I were setting in a room with you right now and could hear your story. I would be able to see how caring has affected you and your life.

I would ask you only one question, are you ready for help?

So many caregivers feel that no one else can take of their loved one the way they would. You are right. Someone who is not connected in an emotional way can actually do a better job. They do the labor (the hard work) and than they go home. The caregiver however is home and have the work load 24/7, with no time off. Unless you have a family who may be supportive and help you. I have found that adult children usually do not have good understanding of their are growing older and may need help and some caregivers will not ask the adult child for help. Many times I hear from seniors “my children have their own life, I do not wish to burden them.” In some situations families are estranged from one another. What ever your story, whatever your situation there is help.

Many more caregivers suffer stress, health concerns of their own and never get as far as even seeing a doctor. Although caregivers are a truly diverse group, stress is a common experience to all. For more information contact Care Pathways or your local Area on Aging in your community.

Life Care Social Workers


Senior Referral Agency

Care Pathways

Care Pathways formed  Life Care Social Workers to assist you and your senior loved ones when long or short term care is needed. We provide more than just information, we work closely with our community programs that can help add care and help when placement is needed.

For assistance contact us we are here to help, here to listen and here to care.

Get in touch with us!