This program is a partnership between Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation (IVERS) and Connections Area Agency on Aging. You must have an open case with IVRS to be referred to our Employment Specialist.
Our Older Worker Employment Specialist works with adults age 55 and older who have a verified disability and are working with Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Their disability is a barrier to finding or obtaining employment. The Older Worker Employment Specialist's role is to work with Job Candidates to identify barriers and work towards their job goal. In the process of working with Job Candidate, the Job Candidate receives help to build on job-seeking skills, completing applications, practice with role play for interviews, creating resumes, and contacting employers.
Our Older Worker Employment Specialist also networks with local employers and businesses within the 20 counties served by Connections, sharing information about the program as well as identifying jobs, and matching Job Candidates with jobs/employers for the best fit - always advocating for businesses to hire work-ready candidates.
The goal of the program is to secure and main successful job placement of each Job Candidate, working with both the employee and employer. The Older Worker Employment Specialist works during this time to help the Job Candidate learn about the job and provide mentoring as necessary. Contact is made at least twice per month by phone, email, face to face visits, etc. depending on individual need. Once placement is made and the Job Candidate is confident in the position (90 day time frame) they are closed successfully with IVRS but OWEP will provide follow along for 1 year!
Older workers bring experience, skills and lifelong knowledge into the workplace, making them valued, work-ready employees.
Older Worker Employment Program Qualifiers
Must be age 55 and older
Must have a disability that is a barrier to employment
Is off the Vocational Rehabilitation waiting list
Does not required Supported Employment Services
Is not currently working with a Senior Corps Senior Employment Program (SCSEP) such as Experience Works, AARP, Senior Services of America
Job Candidate Process
The Job Candidate comes off of the waiting list
The Job Candidate's information is reviewed for the Older Worker Employment Program qualifiers
The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor completes and sends the referral packet information to the Older Worker Employment Specialist
The Employment Specialist will contact the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to schedule a meeting with the Job Candidate and the Counselor.
The Older Worker Employment Specialist Role
The Older Worker Employment Specialist assists Job Candidates in the following ways:
Completing various vocational assessments and identifying a job role.
Enhancing job seeking skills, completing applications, preparing for interviewing, writing resumes, and contacting employers.
Working with employers to create positions that may be otherwise difficult to fill.
Matching positions with the expectations of the employer and with the skills and abilities of the Job Candidate in mind.
Advocating with businesses to hire work-ready job candidates.
Helping employers identify job-ready candidates in an effective manner and offer options for hard to fill positions.
Tracking and ensuring training of job candidates who are newly hired, so that they become familiar with and understand the workplace culture, expectations, and how to handle situations on the job.
Discussing how the job candidate is adjusting to the new job and providing guidance as needed.
Providing follow-up contact for up to one year after an individual is stable in employment.
Establishing successful and effective networks of connections with business customers and the Aging Network.
Communication and collaborating with Iowa Vacation Rehabilitation Service (IVRS) staff to provide assistance to job candidates.
Informing the IVRS Counselor of the job candidates 'progress at least twice per month and sending case notes on a monthly basis.
Article Submitted by Connections Area Agency on Aging
Combating AgeismDiscrimination continues to be an issue in America, and age is one of the most common forms of discrimination behind race. According to the American Psychological Association, nearly 93 percent of seniors say they regularly experience ageism, most commonly people assuming they cant operate a smartphone or dont contribute anything of value to their community. The same report also finds that 65 percent of seniors regularly hear jokes suggesting theyre not attractive or desirable because of their age, and 45 percent say they interact with others concerned about their ability to do things independently.These signs of discrimination are ageist, which many individuals are combating throughout their workplaces and the rest of society.What is ageism?Ageism is when a person or entity discriminates against someone because of their age. A person can experience age discrimination for being too young, but ageism is more often toward seniors for being too old. Sometimes ageism happens in the workplace, where experienced company employees treat older workers differently, or hiring teams refuse to hire someone past a certain age. Some seniors also experience forced retirement when a company pushes someone to retire to move a younger person into their position.Age discrimination can happen outside of work. Some businesses might not have accessibility options for seniors or may refuse to serve or work with seniors because of made-up ideas that seniors arent as important as others.Tips for combating ageismWhether youre a senior facing ageism or a younger adult witnessing ageism, consider these tips to help combat the negative connotation associated with aging.Educate yourself and othersAgeism stems from the stereotype that older adults become helpless as they age. While its factual that people experience physical and mental changes with age that may affect how they live, someones age doesnt solely determine their capabilities. Take notice if youre treating older adults differently, which can include talking down to seniors, refusing to accommodate them, or giving them less complicated tasks to complete at work because you dont think they can operate at the same level as a younger employee. Remember to treat everyone equally and provide opportunities to all, regardless of age, race, or gender.Support seniorsGetting older causes challenges, and sometimes seniors may need additional support. If you see an older adult who needs help, offer your assistance. Just because a senior may need help doesnt mean they cannot work efficiently or care for themselves. And if you witness ageism, whether at work or in public, consider supporting the older individual by asking if theyre okay. Sometimes the acknowledgment of their worth from another person can significantly help.Speak upDont be afraid to speak up if you witness ageism or any other form of discrimination. If you notice something going on at work, such as a manager taking projects or responsibilities away from an older coworker, report the potential ageism to your HR department. If you notice a business you dont work at but visit, such as a restaurant or coffee shop being disrespectful to older patrons or employees, ask to speak with a manager or, in extreme cases, file a complaint to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.What to do if you experience ageism at workEvery person desires to work and explore new job opportunities regardless of age. If you experience age discrimination in the workplace, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act is a federal law designed to protect people 40 and older from ageism at work. This act also protects older adults from forced retirement.If you experience age discrimination at work, you can file a charge with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Every discrimination complaint is unique; filling a complaint may be enough to see changes at workouts. However, you can hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit if you want to take additional steps.Combating Ageism with Visiting AngelsSociety tries putting limitations on people as they age. One of those limitations is making seniors and their families believe independent living is impossible. Visiting Angels is here to reimagine what independent living looks like for seniors, no matter their situation.Visiting Angels is a locally owned and operated home care agency providing at-home care services to seniors throughout Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Our professional caregivers assist clients with nonmedical services to help them live safely and comfortably at home. Services may include medication reminders, meal preparations, light housekeeping, mobility assistance, and transportation.All services with Visiting Angels are customizable to meet the needs and expectations of each client. Learn more about our services by calling 251-943-7525 or message us.
Questions from a loved one with dementia or Alzheimers can be difficult, especially when they ask questions that have painful answers. At Heritage Communities, we understand, and we have some suggestions to help you and your family communicate with your loved one with understanding, patience, and compassion.Memory Care Questions: Keeping the Goal in MindHelen Crunk, Regional Healthcare Specialist of Heritage Communities, and an expert in memory care, says she understands how not being totally truthful with a parent in memory care might feel like youre doing something wrong. But consider that the truth could cause them additional pain, such as reminding them someone has died, she says. And your loved one is likely to forget what you have told them, and will ask againwhy keep reminding them of a painful memory?Instead, Crunk says the goal is always to soothe, not to add agitation or anxiety. Dont try to use logic. Respond in a way that comforts and calms. For example:Validate:Nod, put your hand on their arm, offer a hug, be agreeable, do not argue. Meeting them where they are helps preserve their dignity.Redirect:Mention a favorable hobby, activity, or event. Ask about a favorite childhood memory they still talk about. Suggest an alternative activity before the one they mentioned (such as brushing their hair before catching a bus).Distract:Show them an old photo, engage them in singing a favorite song, take them for a walk to an outdoor garden or a group activity.Common questions asked by memory care residents and some possible answersI need to catch the school bus, or my mother will be angry.There is no value in reminding her that she is 80+ years old and her mother is deceased. That level of truth will only lead to more anxiety and confusion.Crunk suggests you respond with something like, Mom called me and asked me to take you home instead. But before we go, lets have a snack, and maybe finish the puzzle we started. Occupying your loved one like this redirects her attention and takes you to the next moment. Its likely she will forget once she is busy with another task.I want to go home now. Can you take me?Instead of saying that your mother is already home, try something like Tell me about where you live. Whats your favorite room? By asking about her home, you are validating her feelings, and encouraging her to share her thoughts.Or, you could say, Okay, well do that right after we have breakfast. Lets get you a sweater so you wont get cold. Then the conversation can move towards her favorite sweater, or on the way to the dining area, you could look out a window and comment on the birds, or maybe speak to a staff member.Helen Crunk says that often theres another message behind the words. Sometimes when a person says they want to go home, they are trying to communicate that they are afraid, anxious, or need some reassurance, she says. Respond in a soothing voice and if your loved one likes to be touched, try a gentle hug or hold their hand. They might just need to know they are being heard.I want to talk to my son/daughter/husband/wife.You might say, Okay, but right now, theyre probably at work or taking a nap. Well call them later, but first, could you help me fold your sweaters? Or, Could we walk over to the living room? Id like to see whats going on there.Why dont you ever visit me?This can be especially hard, says Crunk, especially when youve been visiting quite regularly. Keep in mind, your mom or dad simply cannot hold on to short-term memories. Instead of reminding them how many times youve visited, just jump right in with something pleasant. Her suggestion: Hey, lets go down the hall to the singalong. Or comment on an old photo. You look like you really enjoyed dancing when you were young. Tell me about that.Memory Care Questions: Choose Personalized Care for Your Loved OneAt Heritage, we call our memory care program Portraits, featuring multisensory activities based on the philosophies of Dr. Maria Montessori. Our care team creates an individualized plan for each resident, describing goals, opportunities and personalized activities that we believe each person will enjoy.We get to know your loved one, and we get to know you and your family as much as possible. This enables our caregivers to interact on a deeper, more personalized level. The result is less frustration and more engagement. We also offer extensive support for our familieslistening, encouraging and providing information.Our Memory Care allows residents to discover more joy in each day. Download our free Family Decision Toolkit, Your AZ Guide to Choosing The Right Senior Living Community. Or contact us today.
Its a moment many family caregivers eventually face having the conversation with parents about moving to assisted living or memory care. It can be difficult to know how to approach the senior living conversation, what to say, and how to be sure your Mom or Dad knows you are coming from a place of love and care.At Heritage Communities, we are here to listen, support, encourage, and provide information. To begin, weve put together some suggestions that might help you with the senior living conversation.Understanding their emotions is essentialWhile a move to senior living might be the most practical choice, its also an emotional one. As you think about how you will bring up the subject with your loved one, consider some of the common fears that many seniors have about growing older, such as:Loss of independenceFailing health, particularly memoryRunning out of moneyHaving to leave their homeLosing loved onesHaving to depend on othersNot being able to driveBeing isolated and lonelyFalling or becoming incapacitatedTake these fears to heart as your family discusses the future together. Showing empathy and patience will provide comfort that youre on their side, can strengthen your relationship, and even help them warm up to the idea of moving.Having the senior living conversation: what to doSpend some time thinking in advance about what you want to accomplish in the talk. Understand that it may take several conversations over time; dont try to cover everything in one session. Here are some senior living conversation Dos:Make a list. Write down talking points about why it is time to consider senior living to help guide the discussion and to help you remember important questions. For example, have you noticed red flags, such as your parent is isolating or withdrawing, they dont seem to be eating regularly, they may be wandering or becoming lost, there are signs of a fender bender or personal injury (such as bruises from a fall), their home is messy, and so on. If you bring up specifics, do it in the context of your concern for their health and safety, asking them if they could use a helping hand with daily life.Pick a good time. Have the senior living conversation when your loved one is free of distractions or pending appointments so you are not rushed. Be sure they are rested, and not hungry or anxious. You could initially bring up the subject casually, such as on a walk, sitting on a park bench, after a happy family event, or other comfortable setting.Have back-up. Be sure to include other family members when appropriate. You might want to approach your Mom or Dad first, and then bring in another sibling or relative at the next conversation. Just be sure to keep it casual and open, so your parents do not feel pressured in any way.Its also a good idea to consult with a professional such as their physician, a case manager, social worker, lawyer, financial advisor or even a therapist or spiritual leader. Having input from a neutral party, particularly one your loved one trusts and respects, can go a long way in a senior living conversation.Keep it positive. Yes, its a change, but be sure to mention what lies on the other side of the decision: a worry-free lifestyle where they can enjoy a range of amenities and services without having to clean, cook, or take care of a home. Reinforce how much you want to give back to them, in terms of safety and wellbeing, and how knowing they were benefiting from 24-hour support would free all of you to enjoy your relationship (as a son or daughter) more than ever.If you know of someone else who recently went through the experience of a parent successfully moving into senior living, you might bring that up, especially if its someone they know. Describe how they are enjoying life more than ever without worries of home maintenance or isolation.What NOT to do in the senior living conversation:Do not dictate a plan. You want to have an ongoing, honest discussion that includes their thoughts and opinions. Share information with them, include them when you are researching online if it is feasible, and let them accompany you on tours of potential senior living communities.Do not take over and become the parent. Its very important for your Mom or Dad to feel respected and heard. Dont speak to them in a tone that suggests they are giving up control. Reassure them you are their son or daughter, and you want to be sure they are safe, well, and happy.Do not feed the fear. Its important to guide the conversation around your concerns, but in a way that youre collaborating together to help your loved one live their best life, not scaring them into a move.Senior living can help them live betterAll Heritage Communities share a single mission: to create the senior living experience that each person wants and deserves, and to help them remain as independent as possible for as long as possible.Heritage Communities throughout the Midwest and Southwest offer vibrant Independent Living, with Assisted Living, and Memory Care. We invite you to learn more please call us at 712-221-2448.