What is a Aging Life Care Manager? Generally, a Care Manager is a professional who specializes in assisting seniors and their families with assessing needs, developing a plan of care, and arranging for community services to meet their needs and their budget. They continually monitor the plan over time and adjust the services according to changes in level of care.
2) What qualifications should one look for in a Aging Life Care Manager? Beware that not all “Care Managers” are created equal. What sets apart a Aging Life Care Manager from the self-proclaimed ones are expert credentials, high level of education, extensive experience in a healthcare related field, active memberships in professional associations, and a national certification in the field of care management.
3) Why is it important for a Care Manager to be a member of the National Association of Aging Life Geriatric Care Managers and be Certified in Care Management? Care Management is relatively new in health care therefore it is not as regulated as other health care professions such as nursing. Being a member of the Aging Life Care Managers is a means of regulating and governing our industry. Each member has to uphold strict standards of practice and a code of ethics. Obtaining a national certification in Care Management further distinguishes the care manager from those who are not.
4) What are some important questions to ask a Aging Life Care? Ask specific questions such as are you available after hours for emergencies, who covers for you when you are away, how often and in what form will you communicate information to me, what is your fee structure, can you provide me with both client and professional references. A care manager should be comfortable in answering all of your questions openly and honestly.
5) Who may benefit from hiring or referring to a Aging Life Care Manager?
- Seniors who live alone and have little or no support system;
- Family members who are geographically distanced from their loved one;
- Family members who live nearby, but do not know how to tap into the appropriate local community resources;
- Attorneys or trust officers needing assistance with their clients’ health care related issues;
- Physicians wanting to streamline communication between their patients and family members or possible concerns with their patients current living arrangements;
- Hospital and nursing home social workers seeking a safe discharge plan and assurance that their patient will have someone coordinating their care and assisting them on a long-term basis;
- Home care companies looking for assistance in dealing with their patients’ social issues, help with linkage to other community resources, or possible placement options;
- Senior communities seeking adjunct services to help increase contentment for some of their more challenging residents
6) What are some ways a senior or family member can benefit from a Aging Life Care Manager’s assistance?
- Flexibility: Services are provided in a variety of settings; homes, retirement centers, continuing care communities, assisted living facilities, or nursing homes;
- Assurance: On-going monitoring and regular reporting to long distanced loved ones gives them a peace of mind and reassurance that their family member is well cared for;
- Cost Control: Carefully matched community services to specific needs reduces overuse or duplication of services keeping expenses contained and possibly helping to prevent costly crisis from reoccurring;
- Quality of Care: care managers who are Aging Life Care Management members, nationally certified, and have many years of experience in healthcare will provide a higher degree of quality of in the care and treatment of the senior
7) Why should a senior or a family member hire a Aging Life Care Manager? They can help streamline the sometimes complicated and confusing process involved in managing ones health care related issues. They are most familiar with the local community resources and will know the specific services and costs of those services. With the care manager being proactively involved in your care and treatment, costly crisis can be reduced and sometimes even avoided.
8) What does the Aging Life Care Manager evaluate during the assessment process? A basic assessment concentrates on areas such as medical, psycho- social, functional status, living environment, home safety, legal and financial concerns. Other assessment tools that may be used include the Geriatric Depression Scale or the Mini Mental Status Exam. The care manager should maintain an extensive database of assessment tools and should know which tools to use to yield the specific results. Then an individualized plan of care is drafted outlining areas of concern and listing recommendations for improvement. The care manager will implement the plan by arranging and coordinating services and monitoring those services over time making the necessary adjustments as ones needs change.
9) What is the most important job of a Aging Life Care Manager in working with seniors and their families? The most important job of a care manager is making sure the needs of our seniors are being met in the least restrictive way and without sacrificing their dignity, respect, or quality of life, along with giving their families a peace of mind and a support system they can rely on.