An Aging Life Care Professional has been educated in various fields of human services —including social work, psychology, nursing, gerontology — and trained to assess, plan, coordinate, monitor and provide services for the elderly and their families. These individuals are experts in the aging life field.
As a general rule, an Aging Life Care Professional begins with an assessment. This involves meeting with the elder and family. Together they discuss the elder's personal priorities and values, any concerns he or she might have, and what activities and interests are most important to him or her.Over the course of the visit, the Aging Life Care Professional will observe physical and mental capabilities. A few tests or physical exams may be administered. The assessment is as much about identifying strengths as it is about addressing problems, since building on existing strengths is key to promoting independence and quality of life.Other assessments may include a review of the home for safety hazards, and a review of insurance and financial resources to help the client and family maximize use of any social service programs that may be available.
Following the visit, an individualized care plan will be recommended. The elder and family then have the option to proceed with this plan independently, or retain the services of the Aging Life Care Professional to assist with the plan's implementation.
A Care Plan involves a series of recommendations for current support options, as well as some suggestions for likely needs within the next 6 months or so. Some elements that might be included in the care plan are:
• Home modifications to improve safety and reduce risk of falls
• Medication management strategies to reduce the likelihood of over/under-medication
• Recommendations for meals, transportation, housekeeping, pet care and other services
• Review of insurance coverage and analysis of eligibility for services covered under existing policies
• Hiring of professionals such as bill payers or legal or financial services
• Periodic visits and reassessments to assure appropriate supports are working as expected and to monitor in case new needs develop
• Personalized suggestions for appropriate housing arrangements such as in-home care, assisted living, adult day health or skilled nursing facilities
An Aging Life Care Professional is a professional who specializes in assisting elders and their families. Loss of independence, loss of dignity, loss of friends and community are common concerns among seniors and threaten their quality of life. An Aging Life Care Professional brings a firm grasp of the physical, emotional and mental complexities of the aging family and works with everyone to develop a mutually agreeable plan of care.
Aging Life Care Professionals are usually called in when the time and the stress of providing care to an aging relative conflict with a family member's work or other obligations. Often, it’s after a crisis such as a fall or illness where the elder can no longer live alone. Sometimes families cannot agree on the best course of action for their loved ones and it can be very helpful to seek the advice if experts in this area.