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Get Help with Critical Services to Fit Your Needs

Dealing with life-altering illnesses, navigating care needs, or just sorting out everyday ups and downs can be difficult for anyone. But, for the elderly, especially those with memory loss or other cognitive or physical disabilities, these tasks can be debilitating.

That’s where Donna Dahlquist comes in. As the Helpline House new Community Care Coordinator, Donna supports clients that may benefit from a more flexible and intensive approach when facing aging or injury challenges. She even makes house calls, helping clients identify and obtain critical services.

She recently worked with a couple to help the 80-year-old wife prepare for her upcoming surgery and respite care for her husband, who was physically and mentally unable to take care of her after the operation or remain at home alone.

“It’s easy to become confused and overwhelmed when faced with a serious illness that needs immediate treatment,’’ Donna says. “The husband had a difficult time remembering details of a complex and rapidly changing situation, but he could remember his long history of partnering with his wife to create a stable life. They were doing fine right up until they weren’t.’’

She and the couple weighed the pros and cons of a risky situation and came up with a recovery plan that fit their needs.

Helpline House hired Donna, who has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Washington, in June in response to community surveys that pointed out the need for more senior support.

“We heard from the community, and we responded,’’

Donna says, adding that providing this type of care is one of Helpline House‘s strategic steps.

“As our community is getting older and older, a lot of people have never needed supportive services before and don’t know where to turn to navigate issues with aging and memory loss.’’

Her new position is a natural extension of her years of managing and providing job-skill building to adults with cognitive disabilities at Helpline House's Community Access Program. She did her practicum at Helpline House in 1998 while attending the University of Washington School of Social Work and remained on staff until 2014. She served on the boards of One Call for All and Housing Resources Bainbridge, among other community volunteer activities.

To schedule an appointment to meet a social worker call 206.842.7621 during business hours. The intake coordinator will ask a few questions to schedule an appointment with a Case Manager or Community Care Coordinator.

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