It is estimated that in the U.S. nearly 10,000 people a day are turning age 65, and this will continue for the next 17 years. The reason… the baby boomers have aged. The result… the number of older aging adults will reach unprecedented heights in the next 10-20 years. The impact… there is a significant need for additional community health and social service programs, support and coordination for older adults.
Aging Life Care Management (formerly known as Geriatric Care Management) is a professional health care service that offers consultation, assessment, care coordination, advocacy and crisis intervention.
Aging Care Managers are trained in a variety of fields of specialty that include nursing, social work, gerontology, and occupational and physical therapy. They have specialized training in the field of aging (gerontology), and extensive knowledge about community resources and health care-related services. They utilize this knowledge and skill to guide their clients to the highest quality resources that will support their independence and dignity. They understand the complex family dynamics that may exist related to caring for an older relative, and frequently are able to assist families to work through issues and resolve conflicts.
Aging Care Mangers are members of the national Aging Life Care Association (ALCA), and are required to meet stringent education, experience and certification requirements, as well as adhere to national standards of practice and a code of professional conduct and ethics. They do sometimes work with younger individuals with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, brain injury, mental health conditions or other chronic health conditions.
The Aging Life Care Association requires that every Aging Care Manager achieve, and maintain eight important care management Knowledge Domains:
- Health & Disability
- Crisis Intervention
- Local Community Resources
Aging Care Managers work collaboratively with attorneys, financial planners/advisors and physicians, and have an extensive referral network of professionals they utilize to provide holistic and client-centered care.
Unfortunately, far too often, Aging Care Managers hear from their professional colleagues and families that their involvement was needed sooner to help avoid the crisis or mishap they are experiencing. So, what are some of the early signs that an individual and/or family could benefit from working with an Aging Care Management Consultant?
EARLY SIGNS THAT YOU MAY WANT TO ENGAGE AN AGING CARE MANAGER . . .
- An individual has multiple health issues (co-morbidities) and medical providers, and may be having more difficulty managing medical care follow-up and coordination; and/or the individual is taking more than four different medications per day.
- There has been a recent emotional loss (spouse/partner or loved one) or one older spouse is providing daily care for another.
- The individual (or family) are not fully satisfied with their current medical provider(s) and/or they need medical advocacy and support.
- There is no family close by to provide regular monitoring and assistance; or local family members are feeling over-taxed and stretched too thin or there is family conflict related to living and health care decisions.
- The individual has reduced mobility and greater physical difficulty getting around.
- There are any signs of forgetfulness, changes in personality or appearance; or any concern about possible financial abuse or exploitation.
BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH AN AGING CARE MANAGER . . .
The Right Care, at the Right Time, at the Right Cost
Ensure quality care services; eliminate duplication and unnecessary expense; and reduce frequent ER visits/hospitalizations, or incorrect facility placements. Pro-active evaluation of home and personal safety to reduce possible risks.
Enhanced Continuity of Care
Coordinate communication among family members and providers to enhance care and outcomes, and provide ongoing monitoring and timely interventions.
Individualized and Dignified Care
Personal care planning and monitoring that focuses on the individual’s unique care needs and goals, and promotes their maximal functioning and independence.
When Aging Care Managers are introduced early as part of the personal care and support team, they can assess an individual’s comprehensive life care (medical, home, psycho-social and financial/legal) needs and develop effective care intervention strategies that adequately support their current and future health and well-being.
Aging Care Management and Consultation services are extremely cost-effective and can save an individual significant resources, when compared to the interventions that may be needed after a crisis, in order to re-stabilize an individual’s care and living situation. A fitting old adage … “an ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure.”
If you would like to learn more, please contact Patricia Lombreglia, Principal Partner, Pathways Care Solutions at firstname.lastname@example.org.