Gina and I appreciate those in our industry called Aging Life Care Professionals. We’ve met many in our five years as agency owners. They are sometimes known as Geriatric Care Managers.
The “Quarterback” in a Care Plan: Aging Life Care Professionals
Gina and I often say that elder care is a team sport. In one of the seminars we created called “Build Your Life Plan”, we recommend surrounding yourself with strong supporters. Or what we call your “Circle of Support.” They can include:
- Friends and Family
- Home care
They are people who help you live well and thrive wherever you call home.
Think of Aging Life Care Professionals as the “quarterback” of your team. If you so choose, you can form a relationship with an ALCP to manage your care and be that trusted “wingman” in your life. I did just that in August 2016 in moving my Mother Emily from New York.
Visit our Blog to read about that amazing journey called “My Mother Emily Part Six: Return of the Queen. One of the best decisions I ever made was getting Ellen’s help. I teamed her with a senior move manager to help my Mom transition from her big NY home to a residential home care home.
The remaining information in this blog is from Meike Wiest, MSW, CCM and an Aging Life Care Professional from LifeLinks, an Arosa Company. The LifeLinks team in Raleigh, NC assists Wake County families with aging loved ones or younger adults with special needs. Wake County contracts LifeLinks to provide public guardianship. Their outstanding reputation has led courts to recommend LifeLinks. That is, those needing private guardianship or a Healthcare Power of Attorney.
We highlighted a couple of key words in Meike’s description of what she does for commentary at the end. Thank you Meike for what you and LifeLink’s does for our community!
What Does an Aging Life Care Professional do by Meike Wiest, LifeLinks
I have been an ALCA member for three years and have worked as a care manager for the past 13 years in various settings. What I appreciate most about my current role is the freedom to work and think outside of the box. I can assist my clients in whatever way they need help.
I am not restricted by billing codes, insurance guidelines, or hospital regulations. I can be an advocate to my clients and an impartial, professional coach. I help them navigate various health struggles, resource needs, and life changes. I can support family caregivers as well. One of my goals is reducing their caregiver stress whenever possible. To ease their worries and free up time and resources to focus on things that matter.
My typical day never looks the same. It may consist of assessing a client’s care needs to determine the right level of care. It could mean coordinating comprehensive support services. For example, allowing a client to age in their home. Or it could mean determining which residential facility best meets a client’s needs. We are lucky to live in an area dense with fantastic resources and facilities. But, it can be confusing to know where to turn. I can help identify the best fit to meet each need and save my clients time and missteps along the way.
Many clients and their care partners look to me to coordinate medical appointments. I also go with clients to serve as a professional advocate and extra pair of ears. I can then communicate that information to the family or care team. This insures everyone gets the right information. I translate the medical jargon so they understand the situation. We avoid any potential missteps this way.
The aging process can be a challenging change. It often creates discord within family units. Not all family members are on the same page and I often find myself as a mediator or communication buffer. In this role, I can help to reduce friction and guide communication. This ensures the senior remains the center of the decision making, reducing conflict.
I am often consulted in a crisis situation. Worsening in symptoms, a hospitalization or a need for emergency placement. I jump in to assess, advocate, provide emotional support and develop a care plan.
We can help our clients through moments of crisis. But, it’s far better to be proactive rather than reactive. Good planning can often prevent crisis situations or at least make them much less stressful.
As an Aging Life Care Professional™, I educate my clients and their loved ones about their diagnosis, what to expect and how to prepare. That also includes getting advanced directives in place, discussing and making end-of-life decisions. Having these difficult conversations is easier with a professional available to answer questions.
I often describe myself as a conductor…I audition the best musician for each instrument and then ensure that they all play together in harmony. Communication is key for Aging Life Care Professionals. We fill the gaps and ensure smooth communication and between clients and their care team. Like their family members, doctors, the hospital, pharmacy and care providers. This reduces the risk for error and miscommunication
We highlighted “navigate” as well as “focus on things that matter.” Working with Aging Life Care Professionals, I discovered two important benefits of having the relationship.
- By seeking out the help from an ALCP, we had help from trained and certified individuals. They know more than us and commit to guiding you in making good decisions on your care or care of a loved one. This allows us to have peace of mind and focus on the things that matter most to us.
- Navigation is so important. We do this as our top priority at Aware Senior Care. When we take what we call a “service inquiry” from a family, our goal is to help. Help can be directly from us but many times it’s connecting the caller with the best resource in the community to help them. We say in our “Aware Why” we get just as much joy providing help to a family directly as we do referring them to someone in our circle of support.
Engaging with and consulting with Aging Life Care Professionals is a good decision and we highly recommend consulting with great people like Meike in our wonderful community. Thank you Meike!