Sue-Marie Casagrande, LICSW, C-ASWCM
As a young child, I loved traveling up from my home town of San Anselmo, California, to stay with my great-grandmother in her retirement home in Seattle. During my lengthy summer vacations at “the old folks’ home” I learned that with age comes wisdom if one is open to it, that our greatest gift as humans is our ability to care for one another, and that aging is more bearable with friends and a sense of humor. I also knew I loved the natural landscape and climate of the Puget Sound more than that of Northern California. The only surprise about my moving to Kitsap County in 1998 was that it didn’t happen sooner.
After a fairly successful yet emotionally unfulfilling career as a business woman, I returned to graduate school to pursue a degree in social work because of the emphasis on service and social engagement. It felt like coming home to my roots and the lessons I learned from my great-grandmother about taking care of one another. I feel honored to work in a profession that values human relationships as much as I do.
During graduate school I trained on the cancer unit of Harrison Medical Center and after graduating I was hired to stay on and work as an inpatient discharge planner and Emergency Department case manager. I’m skilled at many forms of crisis intervention, including suicide risk assessments, drug and alcohol treatment referrals, helping elders deal with issues of safety in the home, assessing for elder abuse, and numerous other issues and concerns that are relative to an individual’s safety, wellness, and right to self-determination.
I returned to oncology social work in 2012, serving cancer patients in two hospital-affiliated outpatient clinics in Bremerton. I also served as Psychosocial Care Coordinator on the interdisciplinary Cancer Committee at Harrison Medical Center, helping Harrison maintains its accreditation as a nationally-certified community cancer center.
My main goal as an oncology social worker was to help relieve the distress of cancer on our patients and their families by listening deeply to their concerns, hopes, dreams, and sometimes final wishes, and by helping to make sure the patient’s voice was heard and that their decisions were respected throughout their treatment and survivorship.
Today I enjoy supporting elders in much the same way I supported cancer patients, by ensuring that their dignity is fully respected throughout their aging journey, and that their voice is heard. I am usually quick to discover an elder’s strengths and resiliencies and then build on those strengths to create a care plan that honors the elder’s autonomy while also recognizing that part of aging is allowing for help when help is needed. I firmly believe that it is possible to remain autonomous while also receiving assistance. I also believe that by allowing others to help us, we are extending grace to one another. I’m blessed with a pretty big stubborn streak, and I am fully prepared to put my persistence and tenacity to work for you and your family so you can focus on the more important things like love, peace, harmony, forgiveness, joy, and simple togetherness.
In addition to my work with Peninsula Care Consultants, I am also apprenticing to become an Anam Cara, or soul friend, to those at end-of-life according to Celtic and other ancient wisdoErrom traditions from which today’s modern hospice and palliative care movements arose. This particular program focuses on diagnosing and transforming spiritual pain and suffering. While I bring aspects of this work to my elder care management work, I primarily offer this work through my private therapy practice, www.kitsaptherapy.com.
As a relationship expert, it’s no surprise that I remain socially active in my free time with both friends and family and I’m happiest when we’re all together around the kitchen table eating homemade food and sharing stories and recipes. I also treasure being outside in the natural world, practicing mindfulness in daily life, and giving myself some time alone every day.
Contact me at (360) 633-4366 for a free consultation, to ask any questions you may have, or to learn more about elder care management.
- University of Washington – Master’s Degree in Social Work, focus on health, mental health
- The Evergreen State College – Bachelor of Arts, focus on Psychology, Buddhist Studies, Integration of East/West Psychology
- Post Graduate Training Programs:
- Anam Cara Apprenticeship, Sacred Art of Living and Dying Center, Bend, OR 2016-2018
Licensure and Credentials:
- WA State Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) #LW60540069
- National Provider Identification Number: NPI #1255887097.
- Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager (C-ASWCM)
- Advanced Professional Member, Aging Life Care Association
- Member, National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
- Member, WA State Hospice and Palliative Care Association