Harris enCircle Update spotlights SeniorBridge's expertise with aging small business owners facing capacity decline
Harris enCircle Update - December 21, 2010
How To Deal With A Business Leader's Health Decline
Claudia Fine, LCSW, MPH, Chief Professional Officer at SeniorBridge
Shakespeare's King Lear is an iconic example of the once-powerful leader whose decline in old age wreaks havoc on those around him. The very qualities of strength that make for a successful business leader-managerial control, persistence and confidence- become liabilities in coping with the challenges posed by the aging process. Due to medical and technological advances, we are living longer with chronic conditions-half of those age 65 and older have some physical disability and one-third have a severe disability. Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, strikes 20% of those over 65 and half of those over the age of 85.
The case of Murray Golden highlights some of the challenges that family businesses can face as a business leader ages. At 70, Murray, the president, still managed the company with his oldest son, his daughter and his son-in-law. As a close-knit family, the Goldens had planned for Murray's eventual death by executing trusts and succession plans but had never discussed what to do if Murray's capacity was diminished.
No one recognized that Murray had not coped well with his wife's illness and subsequent death, nor did they address his impulsive purchase of a luxury car and subsequent "fender-benders." Subtle changes in his mood and hygiene were not discussed even as Murray, once stylish and immaculately dressed, had started wearing stained and mismatched clothing. In fact, it was only when his son-in-law learned that Murray had negotiated a bank loan to the business to pay off a large personal debt that the family realized there were serious problems. The family hired a geriatric Care Manager at SeniorBridge, a national health management company, to get an objective assessment of Murray's capacity and create a plan tailored to his medical, emotional, financial and psychosocial situation.
The Care Manager identified that Murray's poor judgment and financial mismanagement were related to depression and a decline in his cognitive functioning-eventually diagnosed as Alzheimer's disease. Recognizing the fear and anger that are normal, natural responses to lost capacity, the Care Manager acknowledged and empathized with the painful feelings associated with the family's circumstances. The Care Manager then guided them through the process of reducing risks and liabilities, while managing conflicts and preserving Murray's dignity and quality of life.
CARE MANAGER BENEFITS
Murray Golden's story demonstrates the benefits of working with Care Managers, who are specially trained, licensed Registered Nurses (RNs) and Social Workers. Care Managers complete an assessment with the client and family, develop a personalized care plan and execute the plan through approaches, including:
Coordinating services including professional appointments and social activities.
Establishing in-home care through RNs, Social Workers and Home Health Aides, and training, supervising and supporting in-home caregivers.
Establishing home safety and emergency preparedness.
Attending to psychological factors, such as family, friends, daily routine and family caregiver stress.
Assessing financial and legal factors relevant to the client's ability to plan and pay for long-term care.
SENIORBRIDGE is a national healthcare company that provides services and resources for older adults and people with complex chronic conditions who need to remain in their homes as long as possible. For more information, go to www.seniorbridge.com or call 866-506-1212.