What is Aging Life Care™?
Aging Life Care / geriatric care management is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing ongoing health challenges. Working with families, the expertise of Aging Life Care Professionals™ provides the answers at a time of uncertainty. Their guidance leads families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducing worry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers 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 appropriate level of housing or residential options
- Home care services – determining 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 opportunity for client to engage in social, recreational, or cultural activities that enrich the quality of life
- Legal – referring to or consulting with an elder law attorney; providing expert opinion 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. The plan may be modified, in consultation with client and family, as circumstances change.
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, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care. While the majority of Aging Life Care clients are older adults, many also assist younger adults who face the challenges of disability or serious illness.
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 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.
How do you know that you need an Aging Life Care Professional®?
When caregiving for an aging family member becomes overwhelming, it may be time to contact 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 not pleased with current care providers and requires advocacy.
- 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.
What are the benefits of using an Aging Life Care Professional®?
Aging Life Care services are offered in a variety of settings. Professionals can serve the needs of their
clients by providing:
- Personalized and compassionate service — focusing on the individual’s wants and needs.
- Accessibility — care is typically available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Continuity of care – communications are coordinated between family members, doctors and other professionals, and service providers.
- Cost containment — inappropriate placements, duplication of services, and unnecessary hospitalizations are avoided.
- Quality control – aging life care services follow ALCA’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.
Thank you to the Aging Life Care Association® for permission for us to share this information. You may learn more about Aging Life Care™ at aginglifecare.org.