Hiring a Aging Life Care Manager

Caring for an elderly loved one can be quite a daunting task, particularly if you live far away or have other competing responsibilities, like work or a young family. There are thousands of people in this situation. The media refers to some as the Sandwich Generation, caught between two generations of family that need them. If you are in this predicament, there are professionals available to help you make the important decisions and arrange for the care of your loved one. There are doctors, elder care lawyers, social workers and a relatively new breed of professionals, Geriatric Care Managers. Selecting the best care solution for your loved one is critical and selecting the right Care Manager can help achieve that goal.

What is a Aging Life Care Manager? 

An Aging Life Care Manager is an individual who specializes in helping families who are caring for older relatives. These professionals are often trained in other fields like nursing, gerontology, social work, psychology or a more business oriented field, like finances. They apply this background knowledge to issues related to aging and caring for the elderly.

Most Aging Life Care Managers have been working in the field for several years. They often have knowledge of and access to services that most individuals don’t know exist. Additionally, they may know of financial benefits, government funds or low-cost services that your loved one qualifies for.ht care manager can help achieve those goals.
What services do they offer?
  • Aging Life Care Management usually includes the following:
  •  Assessment of the individual.
  •  Developing a personalized care plan.
  •  Arranging for services.
  •  Monitoring care. Life Care Managers can be hired for a single task, such as arranging a particular service, or they can take on a long term responsibility. For example, an Aging Life Care Manager can oversee the care-giving process for a long-distance caregiver and, since the Aging Life Care Manager is local to the loved one, be available in the event of an emergency. Many Aging Life Care Managers’s also offer customers a financial assessment with regard to care-giving, including finding potential money wasters such as duplication of services.
Why hire a Aging Life Care Manager?
Identified below are some benefits that may help you determine if you need to hire a Aging Life Care Manager:
  • You are new to elder care and need advice and guidance.
  • You are a long distance caregiver and would like someone close to your loved one that you can count on 24/7.
  • Your other responsibilities make it too difficult to provide the desired level of care and attention to your loved one’s needs.
  • The issues that you or your loved ones are facing are becoming larger and more complex than you can comfortably manage.
  • You have trouble dealing with a family member (whether it is the patient or another relative) and need an unbiased intermediary.
How do you find a Aging Life Care Manager in your area?
There are a few ways to find a reliable care manager:
  • Referral: Absolutely the best way to find a good professional. Seek out the advice of others that are in similar circumstances, ask a trusted local health professional or consult an elder law attorney.
  • Government resources or organization websites: 
  • Local agencies or hospitals may also provide a list of local professionals.

Trying to make the best decisions about care-giving can be difficult for you and your aging loved one. Asking for help is a big step. There are many organizations and professionals that can help you. A Aging Life Care Manager is just one of your options.

Elder Care Abuse Awareness

Elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation can occur at the hands of anyone that interacts with him or her. It is important for those who care to know the signs of abuse, either physical
or psychological.

Physical abuse includes beating, hitting, shoving, neglect and other acts that can cause harm to an elder’s fragile body. Look for physical signs such as: bruises, abrasions, poor coloration, malnutrition, dehydration, and soiled clothing or bed.
Psycho-logical abuse includes verbal berating, harassment, intimidation, threats of punishment, demeaning comments or isolation from family and friends. Look for these signs of psychological abuse: fear, anxiety, agitation, anger, isolation, or depression. He or she may withdrawal, be non-responsive or hesitate to talk openly.
Another common way the elderly can be abused is through financial or material exploitation. This includes improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets. The abuser could cash the elder’s checks without permission, forge his or her signatures, force or deceive the elder to sign a document or use an ATM/debit card without permission.
To report Abuse call: 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873) and to learn more call
1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337).
How Prevent
Identity Theft
NEVER:
1. Carry a Social Security card
2. Give personal information over the telephone
3. Carry multiple credit cards
4. Print Identification numbers on checks
5. Answer unsolicited email that asks for your personal information.
ALWAYS:
1. Review statements & bills promptly
2. Shred personal mail and information
3. Stop mail while you are on vacation
4. Shop online only with merchants that have se-cure websites.
5. Copy all items in your wallet and keep with personal papers in a safe place.
Preventing Financial Exploitation
1. Use direct deposit for check payments you receive.
2. Don’t sign blank checks allowing another person to fill in the amount.
3. Don’t leave money or valuables in plain view.
4. Don’t sign anything you don’t understand.
5. Be aware of scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
6. Don’t pay for any prize or send money to improve your chances to win or receive a prize.
7. Don’t give any caller your credit card number or any other form of personal identification.
8. Don’t give anyone your ATM access code, and cancel your ATM card immediately if it is stolen.
9. Be cautious of joint accounts. Both parties are equal owners of the account and both have equal access to the funds in the account.
10. Build good relationships with the professionals who handle your money.
Advanced Senior Solutions are members of the American Association of Daily Money Managers and are insured and bonded in order to assist you with Bill Paying and
Financial Services. Call: 727-443-2273.

Long Distance Caregiving

Care-giving is a difficult task in itself without adding the challenge of living a distance away from the one being care for. The only information you receive is either when you call (which means you have to trust when you are being told everything is fine) or when you visit (which may not be very often).
When you are able to visit there are some things to look out for that are signs that your parents or loved ones are not doing as well as they have led you to believe.
1. Check the stove top for dust, which would indicate they are no longer cooking for themselves.
2. Check the fridge and pantry for food that is expired, which means they are not shopping as often as needed.
3. Check the bathroom for a wet shower or wet towels, indicating they are still taking showers regularly.
4. Count their pills in their prescription bottle and compare it to the date it was filled and the quantity prescribed which will indicate missed dosages or non-compliance.
These are all signs that your loved one may not be managing well and is no longer caring for themselves. You may need to take action. This could be hiring a Aging Life Care Management agency to be your loved one’s local point of contact or hiring a homemaker / companion to help pick up groceries, cook, clean and monitor medication compliance. The important thing is that these decisions need to be made before everything gets out of hand. This proactive response will prevent you from having to make hasty decisions during an emergency and give your loved ones a better quality of life.
Call Advanced Senior Solutions for a consultation. 727-443-2273

Ways to Help Your Aging Parent

As a member of the “Sandwich Generation”, whereby having an adult daughter living at home after college due to the economy and a 12 year old son with Tourette’s, along with managing my aging father from a distance, I truly understand the difficulty both on a personal level as well as a professional level as a Geriatric Care Manager Elder Care Consultant. I can only imagine how difficult this process is for those with little or no experience in navigating through the confusing maze of health care. In managing your aging parent, there are some recommendations to help you understand the aging process and what you can do to help.

1. Recognize sudden changes. Quick onset of confusion or falling frequently is likely an acute episode indicating possibly an infection, medication side effect or even a heart attack or stroke. Be aware of their baseline behavior so you’re more in tune to the changes that occur.

2. Find the source of the decline. To often, a person with dementia symptoms are mis-diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Some easily treatable medical conditions such as urinary tract infection, plugged ears, vitamin B12 deficiency or underactive thyroid can mimic the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Note the ways the decline has presented itself such as short term memory impairment, loss of appetite, or poor hygiene and how long these changes have been going on. Share this information with their physician at their next appointment.

3. Familiarize yourself with their medicines. Note medication name, dosage, frequency, what it’s prescribed for and the prescribing doctor. Many times medications are prescribed for a secondary effect rather than the most common one. Find out about the potentially dangerous side effects to be on the alert for. Inform their doctor of your parent’s other substance use such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and even vitamins, supplements and nutritional drinks.

4. Curb ageist attitudes. Don’t assume all that anguish your parent is experiencing is age related. For instance left hip pain in an 87 year old may not be from age if there’s no discomfort in the right hip. Also, not every elderly person becomes depressed. And avoid saying things like “What do you expect at your age?” (Which is something my daughter says to me in jest, and I’m only pushing 50!)

5. Address the symptoms but don’t ignore the emotions. During the aging decline comes all the emotions of insecurity, fear, grief, boredom, sadness and embarrassment. Emotional distress can exacerbate dis-ease symptoms and even spark new illnesses. Uncover what causes the most stress and find solutions to help ease their concerns.

6. Maximize quality of life. Help your parent to find ways to enjoy life to its fullest and have the capability to do the things they want to do. Helping them through a problem or providing them with companionship and love. As they experience loss of loved ones coupled with their loss of some of their functional abilities, they may feel lonely or isolated. Help them meet new people and develop new interests through senior centers, adult day care or even through their local retirement or as-sisted living communities.

7. Know when to ask for help. You cannot assist your parent with the aging process alone. Your own immediate family support is a must and even with that, you may need to call for some professional guidance.

Call us today for help 727-443-2273

Where do I start? Whom do I contact? What is the best solution for Mom or Dads problem?

Some of us have been there and asked those questions, or we may find ourselves in that situation in the future.

We want to take care of Mom or Dad, but it is not an easy task — especially if we are working full time and raising our own family. But eldercare issues do not wait for convenience of time or place. For example:

Sherry stopped by her mom’s house every day after work. Her father had passed away last year and he had been the caregiver of Alice, Sherry’s mom. Now it was up to Sherry to fill the caregiver role. Alice suffered from mild dementia. She could still function on her own, but was showing more signs of forgetfulness and confusion. Sherry would find her morning medication still on the cupboard in the evening and wasn’t sure Alice had eaten during the day. Sherry couldn’t quit her job to take care of her mom, as she was a single mother supporting her own family. Sherry had a lot of questions. What type of help was available to her? Are there resources in the community? Who would she contact to find out about home care or assisted living? Should she get legal power of attorney and when is the right time to do it? What about selling mom’s home if mom goes to assisted living? How will that affect Medicaid eligibility?

A Aging Life Care Manager can be a valuable asset to family members when it becomes necessary to look at alternatives for their loved one’s long term care. They work with all members of the family in educating about resources and making decisions. A small sample of some services provided are.

  • Perform a comprehensive assessment on level of care needs
  • Develop a Care Plan for both current and future care needs
  • Work with physicians in getting medical support
  • Find home care and other services that work with the families needs
  • Provide assistance with legal, financial and end of life issues

For more information or to find a Geriatric Care Manager near your loved one, go to www.advancedseniorsolutions.com

When should we hire a Aging Life Care Manager?

 

·      When there’s no local support system in place or family lives too far away to assist regularly.
·      Family members are unable to determine needs, agree on options, arrange for or oversee care.
·      If the burden of providing care is threatening the health of the spouse or primary caregiver.
·      When placement in a facility is necessary and your not sure what fits both care needs and budget.
·      Your loved one displays inappropriate behavior, uses poor judgment or may be easily victimized.
If you’re experiencing any of these or other concerns, call Advanced Senior Solutions. 727-443-2273 www.advsrs.com

Not All Aging Life Care Managers Are Created Equal

Aging Life Care Management is a rapidly developing, newly recognized profession which helps families adjust and cope with the challenges of an aging loved one.

Aging Life  Care Manager’s  are health advocates for seniors and disabled adults. Managers  provide needs assessments, screening, arranging, and monitoring in-home help, counseling and support including family conflict mediation and crisis intervention. They assess the ability to remain safely in the home or whether the person may need to be relocated to an alternative residence. Determining appropriate living arrangements and necessary supportive assistance are among the many services they offer. Additionally, managers’s help to facilitate legal, financial, medical and end of life services.

Aging Life Care Managers become liaisons to families who are separated by long distances from their elderly loved ones making sure they are managing well,
and alerting them to any concerns or problems that may arise. Managers’s have extensive knowledge about the services and resources in their communities.

Aging Life  Care Managers hold Bachelor Degrees, Masters Degrees, or Doctorates in a human service related field such as Gerontology, Social Work, Psychology, or Nursing. As the aging
population continues to grow, the need for strict Aging Life Care standards is increasingly critical.

The National Association of Aging Life Care Managers recognizes the following credentials as exceeding the standard of expertise in being a Aging Life Care Manager;
CMC, CCM, A-CSW & C-SWCM. The certification exam to be a CMC is facilitated by the National Association of Certified Care Managers (NACCM). These certifications re-quire testing, ongoing continuing education and peer review in order to re-certify.

Because there are some individuals working either independently or for a different professional and who refer to themselves as “Care Managers”, it is important for the wise consumer to ask questions when considering hiring a PCM. Some of these questions include:

How much experience does Aging Life CareManager have in healthcare?

  • What are the credentials and education of the Aging Life Care Manager?
  • Are they Licensed, Bonded and Insured? Ask to see it
  • Are they a member of the National and State Associations of Aging Life C are Care Managers?
  • What types of services do they offer?
  • Can they provide references from clients/families?
  • What are the fees and costs for services? Do they offer a complimentary consultation?

When selecting either a Professional Care Management Agency or an Individual, the process should be comprehensive and cautious. The answers to your questions will assist you in
determining whether that particular Agency or Sole Proprietor has the qualifications important to you for a successful relationship.

Expectations of Aging Life Care Managers

Assessment
A Aging Life Care Manager  must first evaluate and assess ones needs, including medical psychosocial, functional, living environment, legal and financial. All of these indicators are important to the welfare of the older or disabled person. The manager gains an understanding of their client with respect to their values, family dynamics, and expectations without bias.
Plan of Care
The manager develops an individualized plan of care which focuses on the areas of concern that is recognized during the assessment process.  A plan of action is agreed upon by both client and life care manager and then implemented.
Services are prioritized and arranged according to the action plan taking into consideration the client’s health, emotional and safety risk factors. Oversight of care can be set in place to continually monitor the plan of care for appropriateness and to make any necessary changes. A manager can get as little or as much involved as the client or family needs them to be. Some only prefer the initial assessment and care plan to be completed which offers them with enough direction while others prefer ongoing Care Management to stay proactively involved in the client’s care.
When is it time to call a Aging Life Care Manager?
A manager is called when the situation can no longer be taken care of by others involved. It could be that the family lives at a distance or the burden of care giving becomes too great for the spouse or loved one. Most of the time, the call comes from other professionals already involved with the client such as physicians, home care, bankers, or attorneys.
Flexibility and Cost Control
Aging Life Care Manager services are flexible as to where, when and the length of involvement. Clients are cared for at home, in retirement centers, assisted living or nursing homes. Managers also are asked to review charts and oversee ones care while in the hospital or skilled rehab. When there’s no local family willing or able to manage their loved ones care, the manager is usually involved on an ongoing basis. Aging Life Care Managers help manage the costs associated with health care by accurately matching services to needs, reduce overuse or duplication of services and work proactively to help avoid a costly crisis.
Trust

There can be different expectations from those involved pertaining to Care Management. It is the responsibility of the one hiring a care manager to verbalize their expectations and have an understanding with the care manager so a trusting relationship can be built. This relationship is vital for the Aging Life Care Manager to produce positive outcomes.

Selecting a Aging Life Care Manager

An Aging Life Care manager is a professional who specializes in helping older people and their families with long-term care arrangements. Aging Life Care managers often have training in gerontology, social work, nursing or counseling. They also have extensive knowledge about the cost, quality and availability of services in an older person’s community.

As a result an Aging Life Care manager can help:
  • Conduct care-planning assessments to identify problems and determine eligibility for assistance and the need for services
  • Screen, arrange and monitor in-home help or other services
  • Review financial, legal or medical issues and offer referrals to geriatric specialists to avoid future problems and conserve assets
  • Provide crisis intervention
  • Act as a liaison to families living away from the parent, making sure things are going well and alerting families to problems
  • Help move an older person to or from a retirement complex, care home or nursing home
  • Provide consumer education and advocacy
  • Offer counseling and support
Choose a Aging Life Care Manager carefully. The field of Aging Life Care management is relatively unregulated and many people without specialized training identify themselves as care managers, care coordinators or care advisors. Therefore, it’s wise to screen candidates to ensure that you’re working with a person qualified in this new profession.
  • Ask about candidates’ training, education and background in care management and geriatrics. Ask how long they’ve been a care manager and whether they belong to the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers or any other professional associations.
  • A care manager’s ability to be responsive is important. Ask candidates what their average response time is to return calls from clients and their families. Have them describe their communication system. Do they use pagers, portable phones, an answering service or voice mail? Learn about their agency’s size, hours and staff composition. How are after-hours emergencies handled? What are the back-up systems for covering vacations and days off? Will you and your parent work with one care manager or several?
  • Determine the scope of the aging life care managers practice. Some managers or agencies specialize in assessments and care consultation, but typically don’t follow people on an ongoing basis. An assessment is a thorough review of the client’s physical, medical and mental status, and financial resources. It serves as the basis for a comprehensive plan for the client. Other managers offer psychotherapy, money management, or home care. They also can act as conservators, appointed by a court, to manage the financial and/or personal affairs of someone unable to manage his or her own affairs. It’s important that the managers practice setting and specialties meet your needs and your parent’s.
  • Investigate the aging life care manager’s  track record and reputation. Ask for letters of reference or names of previous clients you may contact. Is the manager active in professional associations? Does the care manager perform volunteer work?
While there are no licensing requirements for care managers, there are certification programs. Ask each candidate you interview if he or she is certified, and by whom.
Confusion about fees and billing can be a problem. Be sure you understand the billing rates and how charges are calculated. Fees vary depending on the work setting – private practice, public agency or private non-profit agency. Get a written service agreement that outlines the fee structure and practices.
Finally, ask aging life care candidates if they subscribe to a code of ethics or are guided by professional standards of practice. Get a copy of the standards. They should deal with the right to privacy, fiduciary responsibilities, full disclosure, fostering self-determination, fees, continuing education and professional relationships. Ask how complaints are handled.

When hiring a care manager . ..

HERE ARE THINGS to consider when enlisting the services of a Aging Life Care manager:

ASK ABOUT LICENSES, experience and training in gerontology and human services.  Ask for references, and call them.
DISCUSS CARE PHILOSOPHY:  For example, is the care manager’s first interest always the elderly person?  How does the care manager feel about home versus assisted living?  Under what circumstances would he or she resign from the case?
ASK THE CARE MANAGER to specifically define the range of his or her services.  Take notes.
DISCUSS FEES.  Get a clear idea of what rate is charged and under what circumstances.  Do phone calls count?  Find out what a basic assessment and plan of care cost.
IS THE CARE MANAGER available in emergencies 24 hours a day?  Are there other managers in the office who can handle emergencies?  Are there backup systems?
BE FAMILIAR WITH the National Association of Aging Life Care Managers’ standards for care managers.