Being a case manager has been been more than a profession, it’s been a calling. My grandmother used to take me to visit her friends and I’d have to sit for long periods of time and listen to them talk about everything. Little did I understand how much those experiences would be treasured and how much they’d impact what I wanted to do—care for aging adults. In my experiences, I’ve been blessed with making connections with clients. Clients begin to recognize I am an advocate, a listener and someone who can validate their feelings.
One connection I made with a client lasted many years, from the early onset of a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s to their last breath. She communicated verbally for a few years and then she lost her words but not her light. During our time together, I was able to recognize pain, happiness, sadness, discomfort and help promote comfort, joy, and smiles – despite her inability to articulate her words. She was a teacher and she continued to teach me throughout the years. She taught me how to recognize her world, how to open myself up to her world and see the world through her eyes. This lens prepared me for my profession. It instilled in me the want to connect, to be a voice for her, to promote quality of life and continue to value her life until the end. Her eyes, her smile and her affect all projected back to me – you see me, you hear me, thank you. When she left us, she left a void. I had been used to visiting her, taking her out on walks, connecting. Her story exemplifies why I want to be a case manager.
The advocating, educating, referrals, assessments, coordination of services, working with different disciplines are all part of case management, but the most important parts are connecting, caring and continuity. Being there for clients and their families throughout their personal journey – supporting them and meeting them where they are at is an essential part of case management. The countless connections will forever remain etched in my journey and will only propel me to make new connections and continue to do what I have a passion for – case management. The client above would always say, “Let there be light,” when she woke up in the morning and the light was turned on. Shining a light on aging adults, being a voice, being there when family can’t – all in the day’s work – investing in a profession that makes a difference in people’s lives.