Meet Cassie Regimbal, director of client service operations at the Council on Aging. She has a passion for older adults and has worked in the industry for almost 20 years. Cassie is a licensed master social worker who graduated from Portland State University in 2018. Focusing on older adults has been her life’s mission.
Cassie, what appealed to you most about working at the Council on Aging?
I started here as an intern when I was wrapping up my undergrad, and about three weeks into my internship, there was a case management position. And so, they said, we can train you and have you work for free. So, I wrapped up my internship, graduated from OSU Cascades, and started as a case manager.
You’ve helped seniors stay in their homes longer; how does that make you feel?
I love knowing the difference that we make to older adults throughout central Oregon. We have some very long-term clients that we have added to many programs and helped them stay in their homes for the rest of their lives. I also really enjoy connecting with family caregivers and helping to support them as they walk through the journey of caregiving, making tough decisions.
Can you tell us how the client services team reaches out to clients?
Every service that touches a client or involves a client is the responsibility of the client services team. The Caring Connections program, which we created because of Covid, is part of our team.
We met a gentleman living in an RV park, and we helped him winterize his RV, which allowed him to stay in the RV park for the rest of the winter.
I have become very close with my clients, walked them through hospitalizations, lost loved ones, families, and friends, and again helped keep them in their homes for as long as possible.
Do many of the folks you serve live alone or are homebound?
Quite a few of the folks that we serve live alone, and we have quite a few couples on services as well. But we work more closely with folks who have fewer support systems. They don’t have loved ones in the area. Their kids live across the country. They’ve lost their spouses. Their friends have passed. And so, they’re kind of isolated.
Do you think most of your clients need financial support?
We do serve a wide range of low-income individuals. Folks who are on food stamps may receive very low Social Security. So, the financial support is always nice. We try to supplement other things like the nutrition program, which will help ensure that someone has access to healthy food. We give them help in the way of equipment like the building of ramps or installing bathroom grab bars.
Aside from helping clients, what are the most unusual interactions have you had in your outreach?
It usually involves some kind of pet. We’ve had interactions with animals, pigs, geese, all different kinds. One day, I drove up to a bunch of peacocks. That was amazing—an elderly couple who raised peacocks in La Pine.
What else do you want people to know about the Council on Aging?
I think the Council on Aging is a hidden gem, which is why I’m excited to continue promoting all the services that we do, especially as the population here in central Oregon grows older. We’re able to identify more people in need of support.
It would be great for folks to know that we’re here, that we want to be supportive. We like to think outside the box and dance in the gray. It’s not all black and white. Not every story is the same. So, we like to get creative in supporting people to remain independent in their homes.