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Care Management - On the Front Lines

Martha Gaston, LCSW—On the Front Lines

Social Work and Care Management is rewarding and heart breaking. It is a profession and career that defines one’s life. Martha Gaston has been on its front lines for a long time.

Starting in the 1970’s Martha was involved with an epidemic of that time, runaway youth. She worked in ‘Runaway Homes’ both in Memphis and Nashville. In 1980, Martha followed her then husband to Liberia, where she did volunteer work for the Liberian Health Ministry. After an initial two-year assignment in Africa, Martha return to Memphis where she engaged with older adult care for the first time working in senior housing and Hospice care.

As the wife of a Foreign Service health expert Martha landed in Bangladesh and then Uganda. While in Southeast Asia, she conducted workshops helping Foreign Service workers to assist and support their aging parents in the USA. Once back in Africa, Martha spent six years for the University of California-San Francisco doing research on heterosexual transmission of HIV-AIDS within the Ugandan population.

In 1994 Martha settled in Metro DC. She began working at ‘The Roosevelt’, a low-income senior residence. Her work at The Roosevelt led to meeting Monica Micklos, Seabury Care Management Program Director. Martha joined Seabury in 1997 and has been a rock of the team to this day.

Late 1990’s and into the 2000’s DC was home to many single elderly women who had moved here during WW II to fill jobs abandoned by the men going to war. This aging population of older adults with no family was one focus of Seabury Care Management.

Martha’s exceptional skills translated in her being assigned several of the most challenging cases. One example was a client whose home was next to the Supreme Court Historical Society. Martha went to visit and was unable to get any response. Sensing the urgency of the situation, the police were summoned, forced entry ensued and horror exposed. The woman was on the floor in her own excrement, the home filled with roaches, rodents, squirrels and a petrified Christmas tree. Martha with her calm demeanor, patience and expertise was able to get the client admitted to the hospital, had the home cleaned and made safe, organized home meal delivery and arranged other support services.

While this is an extreme scenario it is more common than one would believe. DC remains the home of many elder-lies with no family ties. Seabury Care Management services are critical for their safety and well-being.

Seabury Care Management services are fee for service, subsidized and pro-bono. Your donations are the lifeline for those who through no fault of their own are alone in the world. Make THE difference in someone’s life, please make your donation NOW!

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