Mike Wert knows that sometimes lending an ear can be as valuable as lending a hand. Through his work as a case manager with Maricopa County Human Services Department’s Senior and Adult Services Division, Mike is in a great position to lend either a hand or an ear. One aspect of his job as part of the Senior Adult Independent Living (SAIL) program is to help adults age 60 and over with services and support so they can remain living independently in their homes.
That help and support provided to folks can mean connecting them with home-delivered meals, light housekeeping services or even solving problems that affect the health and safety conditions in the home. At times, that help can simply be listening.
One day Mike was checking in with his client Diane, who had just started receiving home-delivered meals. As he visited with Diane, it became apparent that she needed a little more support.
Tragically, two years earlier, Diane’s son was murdered, which left her grandson without a father. As one can imagine, it takes quite a bit of courage and strength to shoulder the burden of losing a child, let alone in such an unexpected way.
This situation weighed heavily on Diane’s mind. It was the safety and support that Mike offered that led Diane to choose Mike to be the one to hear her story. She trusted Mike enough to share the story of how her son died and how she was mourning his loss. She wanted to talk about how the tragedy had affected her grandson and how she was struggling to cope while helping to raise her grandchild.
Mike listened as she opened her heart and shared her grief. It’s exactly what Diane needed, to be heard and to be understood. While she declined Mike’s offer to help her receive further counseling, Diane did express her great appreciation for his kindness and understanding.
When they parted ways that day, Diane knew that with Mike she not only had a case manager, but someone who cares about her.
Mike and his colleagues are part of the Senior and Adult Services Division within the Human Services Department of Maricopa County. If you recognize that an older adult or person with a physical disability might benefit from a connection to the County’s support system, please make a referral by calling the Senior Help Line at 602-264-4357 or toll-free at 888-783-7500 or TTY/TDD 7-1-1. View the program flyer here.
For more information on the programs and services available through Maricopa County’s Senior and Adult Services Division, visit www.Maricopa.gov/SASD.