The Wall Street Journal recently published a great essay entitled, “When Simplicity is the Solution” which details our growing “crisis of complexity” with more choices and dozens of details we encounter every day that slow us down. Of particular interest to us were the examples about Medicare, medicine bottles and the patient experience at hospitals. We wanted to share a bit about how we think this concept might just apply to you if you have been searching for eldercare answers or senior care help:
The Medicare example, “a web search on medicare.gov will return 45 plans for you to consider”, reflects the complexities families face in an array of areas when it comes to eldercare. One of the laments we hear most from families is that they have been going in circles getting more lists of numbers to call when what they’re looking for is simple…an answer. Forty-five choices is not an answer, it’s just more questions. Someone getting ready to retire has an even more complex puzzle, with all the parts of Medicare along with company benefits, VA and other insurance options playing in to the choices. Medicare has done a good job providing educational information and tools, but the complexity remains built in to the product. We created a simple solution for this common dilemma, with our Medicare Analysis package.
The article showcases another great example in the design of medication bottles. This example shows that sometimes complexity is not just an inconvenience, it is downright dangerous. Medications are a great example of how simplicity can be the solution. Beyond simplifying the packaging, reducing the complexity of the overall regime (less medications, less varying times) helps patients comply better. We talked about this and some of the other simple solutions to medication management in our recent post, Managing the Dangers of Medications: Senior Care Resources.
Our care managers often point out simple solutions like this for various senior care and elder safety issues. A simple solution can have a big impact. In a home assessment, the care manager might observe how a client has organized items in the kitchen in a way that’s making them hard to reach or leading to nutritional problems. No fancy gadgets or expensive remodeling needed, just some quick reorganization. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with thoughts of what your elderly loved one might need to be safe. It is not unusual for us to first meet with a family and find they have a notebook full of names and numbers with long lists of assisted living facilities and various products they have been told will help, but yet they don’t really know where to start.
The Cleveland Clinic example shows how an organization can distill things down to the customer experience. They discovered it was the small details that mattered to patients, not necessarily complex initiatives or things that cost a lot of money for the organization. If you’ve ever been a hospital patient (or the advocate for a loved one while there), you can probably point out a range of examples: the drafty hospital gown, endless nighttime interruptions, communication breakdowns. We know how much the “little things” mean to our clients. When moving to an assisted living facility, for example, our care managers focus on organizing the day of the move to optimize the experience. The little details make or break that first impression, a time so filled with anxiety already. Having done it so many times, we can use that knowledge to create the best possible experience for the client (and family).
This concept is really what Aging Wisely is all about (and what we think “aging wisely” as a concept is all about too) and it is why we use the tagline, “solutions when you need them”. When we started Aging Wisely fifteen years ago, the idea was to provide simple solutions to sometimes complex problems. We did not see that available for families at the time. Perhaps now, this is even more true. Every day there is a new website or technology related to senior care. But, families still tell us what they want is solutions and answers and generally what they get is just more questions (or frustration with systems and processes that don’t seem to address little things that are important to them)…until they come to us.
Want to be lifted above the maze of eldercare, with solutions for YOU? Call us today! You can reach us at 727-447-5845.
What frustrations have you experienced in trying to find eldercare solutions? Have you found seemingly unnecessary complexities trying to navgiate senior care options?