Working with an Aging Life Care Professional- What to Expect
Bob and Kathy Smith (not their real names) are in their 90s and live independently in their own home. Their 2 children live in other states and have busy lives of their own. Kathy is beginning to show early signs of dementia and Bob doesn’t get around as easily as he once did. They would like to remain in their home but understand they may eventually need someone to assist them in their home. Their children live too far away to provide the help they may eventually need. Bob and Kathy know that there are resources available to assist them. But like so many of their senior friends, they do not know how to access it. What should they do?
Care Management or as it is now known, Aging Life Care, is the field of healthcare that provides a single point of contact to guide seniors to the resources their situation may require. Aging Life Care Professionals are particularly helpful when adult children live away from their parents and are not readily available to assist their parents. Aging Life Care Professionals help identify areas of risk or needs and with input from the seniors, their children or any other designated representative, create an action plan with appropriate response directions in place.
The goal of Aging Life Care management is to be proactive and put a plan in place so that when a crisis does occur, they can readily access the pre-determined care partners. In this example, Bob and Kathy might need a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) installed in their home to respond to a medical emergency. Additionally, a private duty caregiver might be appropriate to assist when one or both needs assistance with personal care, transportation or even light housekeeping. A life care professional will ensure that legal planning is done proactively. The clients might not be able to make important legal decisions, and this plan eliminates difficult decisions being made by family members at a high time of stress. Aging Life Care Professionals also coordinate care between the multiple facets of healthcare delivery such as home health, physicians, hospice and senior living facilities.
Bob and Kathy hire an Aging Care Life Professional- Pam. Pam, after discussions with Bob and Kathy, has had a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) installed in the house. A few days later, Bob falls and requires hospitalization which leaves Kathy home by herself. As designated by the care plan, Pam immediately secured a private duty caregiver to assist Kathy at home. As a result of this proactive approach, Bob and Kathy’s legal documents are in place giving their daughter the right to make preplanned decisions on their behalf. Kathy doesn’t have to worry about finances or making health decisions for Bob. In the hospital, Bob can rest assured Kathy is in good hands. His children are aware of the situation and can make their plans accordingly.
In today’s hectic and sometimes complicated world, seniors and their families can count on Aging Life Care. They become an invaluable partner for families dealing with long-distance caregiving as well as local families looking for a health care partner. Peace of mind, how do you put a price on that?
Brenda Lyle is a certified Aging Life Care Manager as well as a Certified Dementia Practitioner. She has owned an Aging Life Care Management practice since 2016, with the goal of offering affordable care management. She may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-229-2089.
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