By Carol Berne, Senior Vice President of Development
As this issue is focused on the crucial role of social work services in the continuum of care, I would like to highlight the importance of our social work team in fundraising. I often receive calls from grateful clients who wish to make a donation after they have been helped. These calls may come shortly after a first session, mid-caregiving, or years later, when the client has had time to reflect on CaringKind’s significant role in their caregiving journey. You should know that just like any licensed professional, our social workers are well-trained in dementia care before they ever counsel one client. Our reputation as the leader in dementia care depends upon a highly skilled staff. We know that counseling a caregiver is more than a brief one-time call. It is a series of lengthy sessions over time, as the disease progresses and caregiving needs change. Our social work staff is skilled in the basics of dementia and dementia care. They undergo a two-month rigorous training beginning with basic disease education, common causes of dementia (beyond Alzheimer’s), the warning signs, dementia as a disease process, and common symptoms that one can expect to see throughout the stages. We also provide education on CaringKind’s approach to communication.
Our social workers become experts in the community-based resources that support our work, such as the various benefit and entitlement programs, and other legal and financial tools with which we often intersect and rely on to support our clients. The complexities of Alzheimer’s require skilled professionals — the best in the field — to be able to successfully support our clients with personal, high-touch counseling as they navigate the complex, complicated and ever-changing problems with which they must contend.
When you support CaringKind, you are supporting the best in the business. You are supporting the gold standard of dementia care. There is no place else like CaringKind in all of New York City, and there is no place else that provides this level of high-quality care, free of charge. About 90% of our operating budget is raised from private support. This means that keeping our doors open, salaries paid, programs running, and reaching all five boroughs in many languages, depends on donations, both large and small.