Care Management for Clients With Multiple Sclerosis
“Financial planning for people with chronic diseases is complicated and multifaceted. Start by building a team of people to help.” That’s the essence of a New York Times article that describes care managers—like us here at LifeCare Advocates—as experts who can help clients navigate their current and future needs.
The article quotes Fred Schwartz, a New Jersey man living with multiple sclerosis (MS), who is receiving assistance through a program of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). The NMSS provides telephone case management for people with MS through its Navigator program. When clients need extra one-on-one support, the NMSS refers them to LifeCare Advocates (or another care manager near them—the service is nationwide).
We meet with the client in person and assist them with their goals of living at home, or transitioning to a new environment, getting services in place, and the like. NMSS pays for the service at no cost to the client.
Although we help MS clients with a variety of services, the financial aspects of living with MS may be the most urgent topics that need to be addressed. What income sources are possible? What are the client’s personal resources? How will the course of the disease affect the client’s abilities and needs? Our Aging Life Care Manager® helps the client address these and other questions and guide them toward free or low-cost resources or financial experts who can help, such as estate planners. As always, we have no financial interest in the companies we refer clients to. Our goal is simply to give the client a sense of what is available and how to make the best choices for their situation.
“If you are new to this, you don’t know where to go,” Karen Mariner, a vice president of NMSS says in the article. She is speaking about people newly diagnosed with MS, but truthfully the same could be said for any of us as we age! She says the MS Navigator program helps people “understand what they need and how to get the resources.” We are proud to be a partner of NMSS, and equally grateful to serve all of our clients with the same type of expertise.