- What is Aging Life Care (Geriatric Care Management)?
- What will an Aging Life Care Professional (Geriatric Care Manager) do for me?
- How do I know I need an Aging Life Care Manager?
- What are the benefits of using an Aging Life Care Professional?
- How much does a Professional Geriatric Care Manager cost?
Aging Life Care™, also known as geriatric care management, is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing ongoing health challenges. Working with families, Aging Life Care Professionals provide answers at a time of uncertainty. Their guidance leads families to actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love. They reduce worry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers through:
- Assessment and monitoring
- Planning and problem-solving
- Education and advocacy
- Family caregiver coaching
The expertise of Aging Life Care Professionals can be summarized into 8 knowledge areas:
Patient Advocate: From physical problems to mental health and dementia-related problems, Aging Life Care Managers™ interact with the health care system effectively and frequently. Aging Life Care Professionals attend doctor appointments and facilitate communication between doctor, client, and family. They help determine types of services – including home health and hospice – that are right for a client and assist in engaging and monitoring those services.
Financial: Services may include reviewing or overseeing bill paying or consulting with a client’s accountant or Power of Attorney. Aging Life Care Professionals provide information on Federal and state entitlements, connecting families to local programs when appropriate. They also help clients and families with insurance concerns, claims, and applications.
Housing: Aging Life Care Professionals help families and clients evaluate and select appropriate level of housing or residential options. If it is safe to remain in the home, they will recommend and coordinate support for aging in place. If a higher level of care is required, they can recommend local assisted living, skilled nursing/rehab facilities, or memory care units based on first hand experience with those facilities. They do not accept any referral rewards or kickbacks as it is against their Code of Ethics, so you can trust their guidance is unmotivated by financial gain.
Families: Aging Life Care Professionals help families adjust, cope and problem-solve around long-distance and in-home caregiving, addressing care concerns, internal conflicts and differences of opinion about long-term care planning. By providing clear guidance, Aging Life Care Professionals can mediate family dissent and work to get everyone on the same path, working towards the same goals.
Local Resources: Aging Life Care Professionals know the local resources in their communities because they have worked with them before and know how services are accessed. Local, cost-effective resources are identified and engaged as needed.
Advocacy: Aging Life Care Professionals are strong and effective advocates for clients and their families, promoting the client’s wishes with health care and other providers, ensuring that client’s needs are being adequately addressed.
Legal: Aging Life Care Professionals refer to legal experts, like elder law attorneys, estate planners, and Powers of Attorney. Some Aging Life Care Professionals provide expert opinion for courts in determining level of care and establishing client needs.
Crisis Intervention: Aging Life Care Professionals offer crisis intervention when it is needed, helping clients navigate through emergency departments and hospitalizations, rehabilitation stays, and ensuring that adequate care is available to the client. For families that live at a distance, this can be a much-needed 24/7 emergency contact.
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.
For yourself, it may be beneficial to have an Aging Life Care Manager on your team if you:
- live alone with little or no local family or other support
- have complicated medical or psychological issues
- need a personal advocate
- want help managing bill paying and monthly finances
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 multiple medical or psychological issues
- is unable to live safely in their current environment
- is not pleased with current care providers and requires advocacy
- is confused about their own financial and/or legal situation
- has limited or no family support
Or if your family:
- has just become involved with helping the individual and needs direction about available services
- is either “burned out” or confused about care solutions
- has limited time and/or expertise in dealing with the individual’s chronic care needs and does not live close by
- is at odds regarding care decisions
- needs education and/or direction in dealing with behaviors associated with dementia
- 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.
- For the most part, the services of an Aging Life Care Professional (Geriatric Care Manager) are paid privately by the client or the family. Some long term care insurance policies will pay for a Certified Geriatric Care Manager. While we are predominantly private pay, we can work within almost any budget, so please call for more details.