Positive Aging SourceBook
Posted by Positive Aging SourceBook on 01/10/2020

Understand Aging Life Care™ - Guides and advocates for families

Understand Aging Life Care™ - Guides and advocates for families

Aging Life Care / geriatric care management is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing ongoing health challenges.

What is an Aging Life Care Professional?

An Aging Life Care Professional™, also known as a geriatric care manager, is a health and human services specialist who acts as a guide and advocate for families who are caring for older relatives or disabled adults. The Aging Life Care Professional is educated and experienced in any of several fields related to aging life care / care management, including, but not limited to gerontology, nursing, social work, psychology or occupational therapy.

The Aging Life Care Professional assists clients in attaining their maximum functional potential. The individual’s independence is encouraged, while safety and security concerns are also addressed. Aging Life Care Professionals have extensive knowledge about the costs, quality and availability of resources in their communities.

Aging Life Care Professionals are members of the Aging Life Care Association™ (ALCA) and differ from Patient Advocates, Senior Advisors, Senior Navigators and Elder Advocates. ALCA members must meet the stringent education, experience and certification requirements of the organization, and all members are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards of practice.

What Services do Aging Life Care Professionals Provide?

Aging Life Care Professionals provide guidance to help families ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love through:

  • Assessment and monitoring
  • Planning and problem-solving
  • Education and advocacy
  • Family caregiver coaching
  • Long-distance caregiving

Aging Life Care Professionals are engaged to assist in a variety of areas, such as:

  • Housing – helping families evaluate and select the appropriate level of housing or residential options.
  • Home care services – determining the types of services that are right for a client and assisting the family to engage and monitor those services.
  • Medical management – attending doctor appointments; facilitating communication between doctor, client and family; and if appropriate, monitoring client’s adherence to medical orders and instructions.
  • Communication – keeping family members and professionals informed as to the well-being and changing needs of the client.
  • Social activities – providing opportunities for the client to engage in social, recreational or cultural activities that enrich quality of life.
  • Legal – referring to or consulting with an elder law attorney; providing expert opinions for courts in determining level of care.
  • Financial – may include reviewing or overseeing bill paying or consulting with accountant or client’s Power of Attorney.
  • Entitlements – providing information on Federal and state entitlements; connecting families to local programs.
  • Safety and security – monitoring the client at home; recommending technologies to add to security or safety; observing changes and potential risks of exploitation or abuse.
  • Long-distance care – coordinating the care of a loved one for families that live at a distance, including crisis management. Local, cost-effective resources are identified and engaged as needed.

A care plan tailored for each individual’s circumstances is prepared after a comprehensive assessment.

How do you know that you need an Aging Life Care Professional?

You may need an Aging Life Care Professional if:

  • The person you are caring for has limited or no family support.
  • Your family has just become involved with helping the individual and needs direction about available services.
  • The person you are caring for has multiple medical or psychological issues.
  • The person you are caring for is unable to live safely in his/her current environment.
  • Your family is either “burned out” or confused about care solutions.
  • Your family has limited time and/or expertise in dealing with your loved ones’ chronic care needs.
  • Your family is at odds regarding care decisions.
  • The person you are caring for is confused about his/her own financial and/or legal situation.
  • Your family needs education and/or direction in dealing with behaviors associated with dementia.
  • You live at a distance from your loved one.

Thank you to the Aging Life Care Association™ for permission to share this information. You may learn more about Aging Life Care™ at aginglifecare.org.

Find an Aging Life Care Professional Use this checklist to interview professionals:

  • What is your area of expertise?
  • How long have you been working with senior clients?
  • What certifications or licenses do you have?
  • What are your professional credentials?
  • What special training have you received?
  • Can you provide examples of other clients you have worked with who had situations similar to mine?
  • Do you work with other professionals to provide referrals if needed?
  • Are you available for emergencies?
  • What are your fees? (These should be provided to the consumer/responsible party in writing prior to services starting.)
  • Can you provide me with references?
  • What resources will it take to handle this situation?
  • Are there any alternative courses of action?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative?
  • Who will be working with you?
  • How many professionals may be involved? What about off-hours and backup?
  • How are fees computed?
  • How are travel time and mileage handled?
  • How are services terminated?
  • How often do you bill?
  • Are there additional out-of-pocket fees?

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