Q: My parents both passed away within a few months of each other. I am now the power of attorney for my disabled younger brother. My parents kept him at home his entire life and cared for him by themselves. I am at a loss of how to get help for my brother. I did find out he would be eligible for the Medicaid program. Someone mentioned I should call your agency. This was confusing for me because I thought you provided services for older adults and my brother is only in his forties. Can you give me a little direction?
A: You are not alone. Many people still think of Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc. (ESMV) as primarily an aging agency. Your question is a good one – when the agency was founded in 1974 our programs and services were designed to meet the needs of adults over the age of sixty. However, 14 years ago we were one of the first agencies in the nation to partner with a disability organization, Northeast Independent Living Program (NILP), to create an Aging and Disability Consortium (ADRC). This consortium has a “no wrong door” approach for consumers, families and caregivers that provide education, referral assistance, specialized services and advocacy for elders and adults with disabilities. We have worked with NILP to create systems and programs that are “seamless” to our consumers, their family members, and caregivers. The ADRC helped Elder Services to broaden our scope in the services we provide, and the population we serve.
You may have been advised to call ESMV in light of our expanded relationship with NILP forming a new Merrimack Valley Community Partnership (MVCP). The two agencies are contracting with Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) covering the greater Haverhill, Lawrence and Lowell areas serving individuals in the age group of three to sixty-four. A MVCP Care Coordinator/Navigator will work directly with each participant and their Primary Care Physician to create a care plan to best meet individual needs. When appropriate family members will be included in the process. The goal is to connect the individuals with extensive services, community resources and provide coordination of those services with the entire care team.
For a caregiver who has little or no experience in accessing a complex system the support offered by the various members of the care team could be very beneficial in finding the most comprehensive care plan for their family member. I would encourage you to call either Elder Services or NLIP to speak with someone directly to gain a better understanding of options for your brother. We work closely with a variety of agencies that focus on different issues for people with disabilities: employment, housing, and personal care assistance to name a few. So, although our name says elder…our effort speaks to many populations – not just those over 60. Phone number for ESMV is 1-800-892-0890 and NILP is 1-800-845-6457.
Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our staff is available for a no-cost consultation, set up at your convenience, to help guide you through your caregiving experience. For more details or to schedule an appointment, please call 800-892-0890.
Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Please direct your correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org or Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc., Age Information Department, 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 400, Lawrence, MA 01843. Joan Hatem-Roy is the CEO of Elder Services.