What is an Aging Life Care Expert?

By: Laura Freed, RN, BS, CCM

Navigating through the “healthcare maze” can be confusing, frustrating, even frightening. Having a private Aging Life Care Professional can help lead you in the right direction and assist in making the best choices of providers in your community.

In May of 2015 the National Association for Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGM) became the Aging Life Care Association (ALCA). This rebranding is a name that is exclusive for Certified Care Managers who work with elders and/or the disabled. The certified individual will now be called an Aging Life Care Expert, Manager or Specialist. This new name will let the general public know that the individual has gone through extensive lengths in order to achieve their certification.

WHAT IS AGING LIFE CARE™? (Formerly known as a Certified Geriatric Care Manager)

Aging Life Care/geriatric care management is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing ongoing health challenges. 

Working with families, the expertise of Aging Life Care Professionals™ provides the answers at a time of uncertainty. Their guidance leads families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducingworry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers through:

· Assessment and monitoring

· Planning and problem-solving

· Education and advocacy

· Family caregiver coaching

· Long-distance caregiving

Aging Life Care Professionals are engaged to assist in a variety of areas, such as:

· Housing – helping families evaluate and select appropriate level of housing or residential options

· Home care services – determining types of services that are right for a client and assisting thefamily to engage and monitor those services

· Medical management – attending doctor appointments, facilitating communication between doctor, client, and family, and if appropriate, monitoring client’s adherence to medical ordersand instructions

· Communication – keeping family members and professionals informed as to the well-being and changing needs of the client

· Social activities – providing opportunity for client to engage in social, recreational, or culturalactivities that enrich the quality of life

· Legal – referring to or consulting with an elder law attorney; providing expert opinion for courts in determining level of care (ALCA, 2015) 

 

Aging Life Care Managers are professionals that help facilitate these services for our aging and disabled population.  They often become the client’s coach and guide when trying to find their way through the healthcare maze.  The Aging Life Care Expert must have years of experience in the field of case management while having a degree in nursing, social work, psychology, gerontology or other fields related to aging and elder care before they can sit for their credentialing exam.  They must take up to 80 hours of continuing education each certification period. The main certifications one must possess to become a ALCA Member are: CCM (Certified Case Manager), CMC (Case Manager Certified), C-ASWCM (Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager or C-SWCM (Certified Social Work Case Manager). 

One way to find an Aging Life Care Expert in your area is to go through the Aging Life Care Association web site: AgingLifeCare.org.  Members of ALCA differ from Elder or Patient Advocates, Senior Advisors or Navigators, or even people that just call themselves a Geriatric Care Manger. ACLA members must meet stringent education, experience and certification requirements of the organization. All care managers are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics and standard of practice.  They are required to prove their degrees, certifications and even have references. These members of ALCA have the “ Betty Crocker Gold Seal of Approval”!  To find an Aging Life Care Expert close to you and for more information go to: 

 www.aginglifecare.org

For more information contact Laura Freed, RN, BS, CCM

Wishes4Wellness Nursing Care Management

Wishes4Wellness.com

(727) 365-0942