Transition to Retirement: A Guide to Inclusive Practice: Adaptations for the Current U.S. Context

Chapter 8: Monitoring and Ongoing Support

Chapter 8 explains that even though the TTR coordinator gradually reduces their support at the community group to a very low level, monitoring and ongoing support are essential for long-term success. The chapter presents the benefits of ongoing support and why it is needed. Also discussed are situations requiring a temporary increase in support and how to deal with issues that arise before they become major problems. The chapter also describes various ways of monitoring and providing ongoing support and gives examples of how often to make contact and the kind of contact (phone or in-person) that is appropriate.

Adaptations for the Current U.S. Context

Monitoring and Ongoing Support

Chapter 8 makes clear that monitoring and ongoing support are essential parts of the TTR approach. As explained in that chapter (see pp. 97–99) and in Bigby et al. (2014, pp. 123–125), over time circumstances arise when increased support from the TTR Coordinator is required for a period to help the person and others involved deal with an issue. Experience in Australia shows that extended health-related absences from one’s community group are a common occurrence, and often require more intensive support and retraining to help the person rejoin the community group successfully. Below, we outline two situations involving monitoring and ongoing support, not covered in the TTR manual, that will be relevant to some current community groups in the U.S.

Rejoining a Seasonal Group

As mentioned previously, certain community groups (e.g., sports groups, community gardens) may operate seasonally and be closed for part of each year. Returning to the group at the beginning of the new season will often require reminders, support with administrative details (e.g., completing player registration by the relevant deadline), and additional training and support to reestablish routines, transportation, social connections and the like.

Virtual Attendance and Online Contact

TTR is based on in-person attendance at the community group and hands-on participation in activities. This approach remains the most desirable, but there may be circumstances when online attendance (if available) via Zoom and/or other forms of communication is appropriate as a stopgap. One circumstance where this could be helpful in maintaining a connection with the group is when the person is prevented from attending in person for an extended period due to a health crisis or other issues.

An example of an extended health-related absence is given in the TTR manual (pp. 97–98) when Chris is hospitalized. In that case, the TTR coordinator communicated with the community group about his absence and eventual return. This met the group’s need to know why (without breaching confidentiality) he was not coming and how best to support him on his return. When appropriate and feasible, involving Chris directly in this communication may help him feel an ongoing connection, especially if he can talk to key group members briefly via Zoom or similar online or phone link. Likewise, if the group has a Facebook site that reports on current activities and participation, helping the person access that site is another way of maintaining some connection.