Shirley looks forward to her visits from CCA health outreach worker Dirce for many reasons—the laughter, the friendship, the support. But most of all, Shirley appreciates how Dirce makes it possible for her to continue living on her own.
“She’s wonderful,” says Shirley, 74, a member of CCA’s Senior Care Options (SCO) plan who has been receiving visits from Dirce at her Somerville home since the summer of 2016. Along with more than three-quarters of CCA’s SCO membership, Shirley is nursing home certifiable, but CCA’s goal is to give her the care and resources she needs to live safely and independently for as long as possible. As a health outreach worker and a key part of Shirley’s CCA care team, Dirce helps Shirley navigate the realities of independent living such as housing costs, food stamps and social security payments.
Dirce also has played a key role in guiding Shirley to the proper care for chronic health issues such as diabetes – arranging for Shirley to secure a special alarm that sounds on her phone whenever it’s time for her to take her medication. Dirce and the other members of Shirley’s CCA team have also helped Shirley acquire a new set of glasses to help with her vision. Although she was initially reluctant, Shirley also recently agreed to see a podiatrist to care for her feet, and now looks forward to her regular visits.
In the process, Shirley and Dirce have developed a close bond as Shirley has become increasingly active in CCA-sponsored activities such as Tai Chi and special self-care workshops.
“She’s like my friend more than anything else,” says Shirley.