When is it Time To Intervene With Your Parents Care?

How do you know when it’s the right time to intervene with your parents care?  This can be a very delicate situation. You don’t want to alienate your parents by prying too much into their affairs, but you certainly don’t want to wait until you get a call from the hospital ER or worse, your State’s Department of Children and Families.  To know when it’s the right time to intervene might take “seeing out of the box”.  As adult children of elderly parents, we tend to see them as they once were, instead of how they are today. Look at your parent as if you were someone other than their adult child, such as a neighbor or a caregiver.

Of course most families are ready to act when there are obvious issues or serious incidences, but here are some early signs to look for that indicate your parent may need some intervention sooner rather than later: They drive only when absolutely necessary, only during daytime hours and only to places near home. I suggest to my client’s families that when they are here visiting they have their parent drive them around and go outside of their local comfort zone.  If you’re not comfortable with them driving you around, then that’s a red flag.

Unopened mail, insurance or bank statements and junk mail are hidden out of view in drawers, under sheets of a spare bed or under the table cloth. (I’ve really seen this). Of course some obvious clues are late notices and returned checks because of duplication or over payment. Household maintenance projects are left unattended because maybe they can’t see the water leak stain on the ceiling or ants crawling on the counter. Maybe they can’t hear the toilet running. Look for signs of mal-nourishment.  Check the pantry for outdated canned foods and the refrigerator for spoiled moldy food. Have they had to tighten their belts to the next hole or two? You can tell this by looking at their belt – there will be a wear line from the buckle from where they normally had it positioned.

Missed medical appointments, vague responses to your questions related to their latest doctor visit (“I’m fine, don’t worry”), or they are using more than one pharmacy. Any of these can be cause for concern.

Above are just a few examples of some early signs that your parent’s functional status is declining to a point of concern.  An Aging Life Care Manager with a background in social work, public health, or gerontology can help assess their level of functioning and recommend the most appropriate types of intervention and services.  To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

What is Aging Life Care Management?

 

Aging Life Care Management , also known as “elder care management”, senior health care management” and “professional care management,” is the process of planning and coordinating care of the elderly and others with physical and/or mental impairments to meet their long term care needs, improve their quality of life, and maintain their independence for as long as possible.
It entails working with people of old age and their families in managing, rendering, and referring various types of health and social care services. Geriatric care managers accomplish this by combining a working knowledge of health and psychology, human development, family dynamics, public and private resources and funding sources, while advocating for their clients throughout
the continuum of care. For example, they may assist families of older adults and others with chronic needs such as those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
 
Overview
Aging Life Care Management integrates both health care and psychological care with other needed services such as housing, home care services, nutritional services, assistance with activities of daily living, socialization programs, as well as financial and legal planning (ex. banking, trusts). A care plan made for specific circumstances is prepared after an individual assessment, and is continuously monitored and modified as needed.
 
 
Aging life Care Managers
Aging Life care managers typically have prior training in nursing, social work, gerontology or other health service areas. They are expected to have extensive knowledge about the costs, quality, and availability of services in their communities. In some countries and jurisdictions, they may obtain certification from various professional associations, such as the National Association of Professional Aging Life Care Managers in the United States. Professional care managers help individuals, families and other caregivers adjust and cope with the challenges of aging or disability by.
1. Conducting care-planning assessments to identify needs, problems and eligibility for assistance.
2. Screening, arranging, and monitoring in-home help and other services.
3. Reviewing financial, legal, or medical issue
4. Offering referrals to specialists to avoid future problems and to conserve assets.
5. Providing crisis intervention.
6. Acting as a liaison to families at a distance.
7.  Making sure things are going well and alerting families of any issues.
8.  Assisting with moving their clients to or from a retirement complex, assisted living facility, rehabilitation facility or nursing home.
9.  Providing client and family education and advocacy.
10. Offering counseling and support.

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.

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.
 

What does a geriatric care manager do?

 

  1. Compiles an assessment of an older person’s needs and situation.
  2. Encourages the person to accept help and provides a “plan of care” with specific recommendations.
  3. Finds and secures services such as legal counsel, home care, nursing care or home maintenance.
  4. Supports and counsels family members.
When Hugh McGuire made a business trip to the Chicago area, he decided to visit his wife’s 90-year-old aunt and 88-year-old uncle, who lived nearby in their own home.
What McGuire found alarmed him.  While the couple was still ambulatory and proud of their independence, there was no food in the house and the formerly fastidious couple were no longer taking care of themselves or their home.
Like a growing number of Americans taking care of aging relatives from afar, McGuire responded to the situation by hiring a geriatric care manager, a relatively new type of professional who helps plan and organize care for disabled elderly people.
More and more people “are learning that geriatric care managers are out there and that they can help with these problems,” says Erica Karp, who runs a geriatric care management firm in Evanston, Ill.
She was able to help McGuire’s relatives by arranging meals for them, straightening out their legal affairs and eventually finding placement for the wife in a nursing home, where Karp continues to visit her regularly.
McGuire’s situation is hardly unusual. At least one in every four American families provides care for an older relative. Many live hundreds of miles apart, compounding the stress and concerns of caregivers.  How can they be sure their relative is not refusing to eat or misusing medications or mismanaging finances or feeling depressed?
Family members may also face tough decisions—such as choosing between assisted living, home care or a nursing home—which may be complicated by a limited knowledge of available options.
Geriatric care managers aim to help families in these circumstances.  They may be hired either by family members or individuals needing care.
While care managers aren’t regulated by state or federal government, they’re usually licensed in a field of specialization, typically social work or nursing.  That means most care managers are subject to disciplinary action by a state licensing board should a violation of standards occur.  Technically, however, anyone can hang out a “geriatric care manager” shingle.
Even so, more care managers are joining groups like the National Association of Aging Life Care Managers, a voluntary organization with newly 1,600 members.  To qualify, the association says applicants must be licensed in their fields and train in geriatric, and they must adhere to professional guidelines and ethics.
 
National Association of Aging Life Care Managers has developed grievances procedures and will dismiss members who violate its requirements.