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.
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.
What exactly is “Independent Living”? What is the difference between that and “Assisted Living”? What sounds like a simple question to those of us who work in the industry, may seem like a mass of confusion to those of you that are exploring these options for yourself or a loved one.
While there is plenty of support in most Independent Retirement Communities such as housekeep-ing, meals, transportation, and maintenance assistance, the minute the need increases to the point where “hands on” care is needed such as physical assistance with showers, dressing, grooming, or transferring, then Assisted Living would likely be needed.
Each Community provides a different “package” of services, even if their licenses are the same. Some offer Levels of Care where certain services are included within each level and that level comes with an additional fee above and beyond room and board (base fee). Other communities offer services associated with time involved, such as 1-5 hours a week is this much, 6-10 hours a week is that much and so on. With each increase in increment of time, additional fees are added above base fee.
Ask for any additional costs such as transportation fees, utilities, laundry service or other services that may not be included in base fee. Do they have a physician that makes rounds in the building? Do they offer other mobile services such as eye doctor, podiatry, home care services, and more.
As you search for the right fit, comparing apples to apples can be a challenge. Just remember to keep it simple. Start with the basics then compare and contrast. Most importantly trust your instincts. How does each community “feel”? Talk to residents as you pass in the halls and ask how they like living there.
Remember, this information is more important than the bricks and mortar. A beautiful building does not always make a good home! Also remember, if you’re touring on behalf of a loved one, keep in mind their likes and dislikes, not what you would like if it were you moving in.
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?
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.
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.
Caregivers often lose themselves in providing care. Remember ? you have rights too. Post this Bill of Rights where you can see it to remind yourself of your value.