What is an Aging Life Care Manager and How Can One Help You?
What is an Aging Life Care Manager
and How Can One Help You?
By Teresa D. Parker, RN, Owner of RN4U
as you age? Or who would be available to assist you as you get older? Most older adults think they will rely on their children or other relatives. But sometimes this is not the best solution. Aging is an overly complex process with many moving parts. Sometimes a professional with specialized knowledge in aging is needed to assist one in coordinating and navigating this process to make life easier. Aging Life Care Managers assist clients and their families with a vast range of issues revolving around aging.
An Aging Life Care Manager, previously known as a Geriatric Care Manager, is a professional who specializes in caring for older and disabled adults. Oftentimes, the Care Manager has a background in nursing, gerontology or social work. Their education and experience lend to assisting their clients and families in developing a care plan to incorporate wishes and desires, but also safety to help them live as independently as possible.
Many times, a client or their loved one will contact an Aging Life Care Manager because of physical or mental health challenges including dementia. Care Managers are experts within the healthcare system. They attend doctor appointments, facilitate communication between doctors and clients/families, and are able to find new medical providers including specialists when there is a need. In addition, Care Managers assist with referrals for services such as home care or physical therapy.
Aging Life Care Managers may help a client/family when financial needs arise. These might include consulting with a client’s accountant or Power of Attorney, connecting families to various resources in their hometown when appropriate, and/or assisting with insurance concerns/claims/appeals.
Evaluating and discussing living arrangements is a frequent task encountered by an Aging Life Care Manager. Most seniors want to “age in place”; however, this is not always a feasible option. So, a Care Manager is able to look at all available options based on the individual client and his/her family’s appropriate needs, safety and finances.
Aging Life Care Managers can be a great asset to family members of an older adult as this period of time can be incredibly stressful and difficult to manage. At times older adults can become stuck in their ways and become difficult for family members to deal with, yet they feel disrespected and ignored. The family members may feel like they are unable to do anything right for their aging loved one and may at times feel like giving up and walking away. Care managers help families with coping and problem-solving skills. An Aging Life Care Manager is able to be more objective than family members working with their loved ones on a routine basis.
Aging Life Care Managers work with and know the top local resources for seniors in their communities and are able to share this information with their clients and their loved ones. They know how to access local services and create the best results for everyone.
Being a strong Patient Advocate for their client is a huge role of an Aging Life Care Manager. A Care Manager advocates for their clients and their families whenever needed from working with a client’s physician to assisting in moving into an assisted living community. They advocate to make sure the client’s rights and wishes are protected.
Aging Life Care Managers often work closely with legal experts including elder law attorneys and estate planners. Some Care Managers also provide expert testimony in court to assist in determining client needs and protection.
Nobody likes to experience a crisis, but an Aging Life Care Manager is ready and able to assist should one arise. Perhaps your loved one falls at home prompting a visit to the Emergency Room leading to an unexpected surgery for a broken hip. Aging Life Care Managers can make sure appropriate care is in place for your loved one in this situation. A Care Manager can be a great asset to families living a long distance from their loved ones, and especially when crises occur.
As you can see the role of an Aging Life Care Manager spans many different areas, but all focus on older adults aging well and living to their optimal potential. Care Managers strive for assisting their clients and their loved ones to have their best life together.