Living independently at an advanced age is no small feat, however. In Brooklyn and Queens, seniors in need of help often turn to Comprehensive Care Management (CCM), an organization dedicated to providing high quality home care and medical services.
“We really try to keep [people] out of institutions and in their home,” said Mary Wehrberger, CCM's regional director.
Wehrberger heads the organization's Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island operations. (CCM also serves the Bronx, Manhattan and Westchester County). The not-for-profit organization is known for its unusual approach to treating patients and caring for the elderly.
Besides providing home care services and medial treatment to its members at various day care facilities, said Wehrberger, CCM also runs the Program of All Inclusive Care (PACE). The program focuses on the full spectrum of patients needs- from medical attention to healthy living to emotional well being.
“Its a pretty neat model of inclusiveness,” said Wehrberger. She said an acute need for programs like PACE exists in a country whose health care system often prizes specialists dedicated to treating specific medical problems.
Instead of shuffling back and forth between doctors, home care aids, therapists and the like, said Wehrberger, CCM members enjoy a kind of one-stop shopping experience where all their needs are met at once in a context where each is accorded the same importance.
The concept is relatively new, said Wehrberger, but couldn't come at a better time. As they age, American's baby boomer generation will demand inclusive health care. “We as a society don't always have the needs to meet that,” she said.
With CCM leading the way in Queens, Brooklyn and across the region, this could change.
Wehrberger, who is a veteran of the health care industry, said she left her job teaching at New York University for CCM because the organization's mission seemed especially well-suited for the health and home care challenges of the future.
“I came to CCM because I really bought into the model,” she said. “It speaks to your soul, heart and spirit.”