Bringing Creative Engagement Home
Nov 7, 2019
I co-founded Stowell Associates in 1983 to provide in-home caregiving and care management consultation services to the elderly and their families.
I spent years considering how a paid caregiver spends her day in a client’s home. Many clients fit this profile: 86 years old and in pretty good health except that her memory is gone. She doesn’t remember her caregiver’s name, sometimes she forgets the names of her daughters and son – it is no longer safe for her to be alone. The caregiver carefully follows our agency’s care plan: preparing and serving meals, assisting with a bath and dressing, accompanying the client out for a walk or shopping or going to an appointment, doing laundry, keeping the environment clean and neat, reminding the client to take her medications as the doctor ordered. The day goes by accomplishing these basic and very important tasks. But I felt that something was missing – a richer, more meaningful interaction between the caregiver and the client – something beyond accomplishing the tasks in the care plan.
This is my why Stowell Associates began to collaborate with Anne Basting and TimeSlips on the Islands of Milwaukee project in 2014. We wanted to be able to provide an extra dimension to the experience of our caregivers and clients. We participated in the development of the Questions of the Day project with several clients and families. Figuring out how to incorporate this into on-going caregiving in the home has been a challenge but we proved that it can be done.
The Islands project was an effort to reach individuals with memory loss living in the community – in their own homes rather than in an assisted living or nursing home facility. Stowell’s involvement provided the opportunity to interact with a few of these individuals. Several of the Care Managers introduced TimeSlips to their clients, using the Questions of the Day and, with one client, the introduction of dance and music in their own home.
Out of the Islands of Milwaukee collaboration came the Beautiful Questions TimeSlips is using and, for Stowell Associates, a Care Manager specializing in Creative Engagement working with clients in the community.
Phyllis Brostoff - TimeSlips Board Member and Treasurer Phyllis has been a social worker since 1970. She was the director of a research program in Washington, DC, exploring how the elderly and police interacted from 1970-1971. Phyllis taught in the School of Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 1971-77, managing a field unit in services to the elderly, was the planning director of the Community Care Organization in 1977-79, and the director of a shelter for homeless families 1979-1983. Phyllis co-founded Stowell Associates in 1983 with social worker Valerie Stefanich, and is the CEO. She has been active in the National Association of Social Workers both nationally and in the Wisconsin Chapter. Is a co-founder of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (in 1985) and served on its national board and in every office including as the President in 2009. Phyllis has written and published many articles about the elderly, professional ethics and care management, and taught numerous seminars and classes to other professionals locally and nationally.