An Aging Life Care Professional, also known as a geriatric care manager, is a health and human services specialist who acts as a guide and advocate for families who are caring for older relatives or disabled adults. The Aging Life Care Professional is educated and experienced in any of several fields related to aging life care/care management, including, but not limited to nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care.
Aging Life Care Professionals are members of the Aging Life Care Association™ (ALCA) and must meet stringent education, experience, and certification requirements of the organization, and all members are required to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
Aging Life Care Professionals become the “coach” and significant others or clients the “team captain.”
Care Managers are:
• hired advocates for our clients who are impaired in some way and unable to effectively advocate for themselves or guide those who are wanting to plan for future care needs
• independent assessors of quality-of-life needs/goals and strive to make sure they are met
• assess the decline in our client’s cognitive and functional levels that needs to be addressed by key providers, i.e., care communities, PCPs, therapists, caregivers, etc.
• identify solutions and resources as issues of safety, security, and well-being are identified and assist with the implementation
• have extensive knowledge about the costs, quality, and availability of resources in their communities
• often have more knowledge of our client’s status, and therefore a better understanding of when health changes are occurring
• often have an established personal relationship establishing an element of trust which provides comfort and a sense of safety for them during our visits
• the eyes and ears for the families or friends of our clients, assisting them in navigating the care continuum and ensuring communication lines are open
• point person between services, including facilities, and significant others; we understand the system, how it works, reasonable expectations vs. unreasonable ones, etc.
• professionals with exceptional written and oral communication skills. They are great listeners and have the skills to manage family emotions when there are care issues that need to be addressed
• coordinate and attend medical appointments to ensure continuity of care and accuracy and completeness of input to the providers, virtually and in-person and can relay this detail to significant others, plus recommend and secure appropriate medical resources
• assist with transitions of levels of care, discharges, Emergency Dept. visits, etc.
• coordinate and assess the selection of personal care companies, ensure quality and effectiveness of care, and collaborate with them and their management
We identify viable solutions that will minimize the decline and implement agreed-upon strategies to maintain their well-being. Most important, care managers are the advocate for the client and consult significant others/caregivers on an array of concerns and issues. And, we also conduct family meetings to create a sound plan of care, which can entail working through difficult past relationships to ensure the client’s wishes are known and needs be prioritized. Some care managers also assist clients with administrative tasks such as paying one’s bills, coordinating engaging activities to reduce isolation, and managing various home-related issues.
Jill Piazzi, MA/CMC Gray Matters Care Management www.GrayMattersCare.com