Max and Rachel: A Twist on the Typical SeniorBridge Success Story
SeniorBridge is proud to spotlight Max, a SeniorBridge client, and his mother, Rachel, who worked together with their care team maintaining their love and attachment for one another- despite the challenges of Bi-Polar disorder.
For the past 11 years, SeniorBridge has prided itself on a heritage of helping people with complex medical, functional and psychosocial situations remain living at home safely and with quality of life. Typically, the professional care management team provides care for an aging parent of an adult child, but this is not always the case.
Max was 25 years old, living out of his car and struggling with symptoms of Bi-Polar and Schizoaffective disorders when he was introduced to SeniorBridge. He was unemployed, experiencing paranoia and had alienated himself from anyone who didn't concede to his whims, charm and personality.
After losing his father a few years earlier, Max had undergone psychiatric treatment. However, it was never clear whether or not he was adhering to professional recommendations and taking his medication as prescribed. While Max was not violent, his ranting episodes were frightening and lead to undesirable patterns that continued for years. For a time, he lived with his mother, Rachel, who often tried to inspire him to meet a list of her expectations as a condition of her financial support, but Max only responded with anger and rebellion. Eventually, the landlord warned Max he could no longer live with his mother.
Compelled to provide the best care for her son, but at her wit's end and concerned about her draining finances, Rachel contacted SeniorBridge to devise a care plan that would accommodate both of their concerns and goals. SeniorBridge stepped in to support Max in achieving physical and mental health, finding a job that he could maintain and locating appropriate housing.
In order to provide the most effective and efficient care possible, SeniorBridge sat down with Rachel to discuss her expectations, understand Max's behaviors and the potential consequences of setting real boundaries. A team of 2 Care Managers, including Chris Kantrowitz, MSW, C-ASWCM, who had personal experience with Bi-Polar disorders, and Rona S. Bartelstone, LCSW, MSW, CMC, were assigned to the case and aid Max’s mom in setting more realistic expectations of her son and gain more insight about Max and his relationships.
Recognizing a cycle of limit setting and rebellion that made Rachel powerless to continue supporting Max, the SeniorBridge care management team engaged in an honest and open discussion with Rachel about how SeniorBridge could help, what she would need to be able to do and potential outcomes of setting concrete boundaries for unacceptable behavior. This meeting was both supportive of Max's mother and gently confrontational about the possibility of an arrest or an involuntary commitment to a facility.
The SeniorBridge care management team then divided roles to further address the needs of the case. One Care Manager supported Rachel in setting boundaries with Max while the other focused on creating a supportive and honest relationship with him to be ready when Mom pushed away. By warmly accepting positive behaviors and clearly reinforcing what was expected of him, the SeniorBridge care management team's goal was to move Max towards obtaining treatment in a structured environment.
Two of Max's tremendous accomplishments were his ability to place trust in his Care Manager and his strong will to gain his mother's support which enabled him to eventually accept a placement for evaluation and treatment. He fully engaged only when he truly believed that he had no other comfortable options.
Today, Max is continuing treatment and has recently returned to a work situation that fits with his personality - all indicators of his progress. Rachel has maintained the relational boundaries and financial limitations to which she had agreed and expressed a feeling of liberation she has not felt since Max was young. Rachel recognized, for the first time in 10 years, that she finally had a professional team that really knew how to work with her son and to support her in achieving her goals for him!
Although future challenges are expected, SeniorBridge is quite pleased with Max's progress, and we hope for continued stability. For now we are confident that Max knows that SeniorBridge means business when it comes to keeping people safe and in compliance with appropriate treatment.
Keep up the good work Max!
Names have been changed to protect privacy.