By Jackie Tangires, LCSW-C, Certified Aging Life Care Manager
Why is an AGING LIFE CARE ASSOCIATION (ALCA) Professional Important?
The transitions of life sneak up on us and we find ourselves saying “What do we do now?” For example, you live a substantial distance away from your parents. Your mom ends up in the hospital, but she’s the primary family caregiver for your dad. He suffers from chronic illnesses and requires daily assistance. Sound familiar? What are you to do in this crisis? How do you avoid repeated ongoing health challenges?
The Aging Life Care Association (ALCA) is the Gold Standard for finding a geriatric care manager to assist you with caring for your aging loved ones. Aging Life Care professionals are trained in being able to navigate the overwhelming task of putting a sustainable plan into place for you and your loved one, keeping in mind safety, finances, self-determination, and dignity.
The Aging Life Care Association is a national group that has stringent standards for membership, including a Professional Code of Ethics that must be followed to ensure Best Practices. Members are accepted into Aging Life Care Association only after they have demonstrated their supervised work experience, have the prior education and mandatory experience necessary to apply for the membership, and have passed a rigorous national certification exam. ALCA requires ongoing Continuing Education to maintain all certifications. This in turn provides value to you because of their specialized training which includes:
- understanding and assessing federal and state entitlements to include Veterans benefits,
- answering insurance concerns to include whether they have the correct Medicare plan,
- address housing concerns and providing the best options based on financial eligibility,
- advocacy for your loved one,
- and their vast knowledge of local resources and how to go about accessing them.
Aging Life Care Managers must have an educational background and experience in one of the following areas to apply to become a member:
- social Work, therapist/counselor, and
Our goal is to have you reach your maximum potential and be the best version of yourselves that you can be given the circumstances that you face. Your goal is our goal.
As family members who are caring for older adults, especially a loved one who is challenged with dementia and/or other issues that are related to aging, it is helpful to know that an Aging Life Care member is a phone call away. Providing daily care to an aging loved one can be stressful, to say the least, but allowing an Aging Life Care Manager to help navigate the storm can put you back in the comfort zone as a family member that can be supportive and allow the care manager to focus on solutions for improving quality of life and care needs.
8 Knowledge Areas of Expertise
Aging Life Care members practice from a knowledge base of eight core areas of expertise. They are trained to provide guidance and direction for:
- Legal Matters – include best practices for obtaining Power of Attorney, Advance Directives, and establishing trusts and wills that will assist in protecting your loved one. They can connect you to elder law attorneys and estate planners so that you are financially protected.
- Crisis Intervention-having the skills necessary to pull in very specific services and resources to avoid further crises. They are trained in navigating all medical facilities to include hospitals, specialty hospitals, nursing facilities, rehabilitation facilities, assisted livings, and long-term care.
- Health and Disability– they are knowledgeable and trained to understand physical and mental health issues as well as dementia-related issues and can interact with the health care teams becoming the strong bridge between family and health care practitioners.
- Financial Matters – including overseeing bill-paying matters to connecting clients to just the right local program. Interfacing with all disciplines to assure that our client is getting the best possible services and avoiding unnecessary services.
- Housing-Aging Life Care members may recommend that your loved one would be better served in a more supported environment and will conduct research to provide the client and family with the different housing options that exist in each community knowing the nuances of each type of housing.
- Family-the client and family are at the center of our focus as Aging Life Care members. We can assist families and patients with best practices, problem-solving, coping with changes and losses, being the “boots on the ground” for long-distance family members, and keeping them informed along the way.
- Local Resources-Aging Life Care members know the “tried and true” resources and are better suited to provide you choices on local resources. They carefully select providers to offer as options so that your needs will not only be met but hopefully exceeded.
- Advocacy-to the client and family so that client’s needs and preferences are clearly defined, and best practices achieved.
There are many agencies in the community that will advertise case management, but it is important to know the difference between case management and true Care Management. It is the Certification process, not just a certificate.
The transitions of life sneak up on all of us. By being proactive and seeking the Gold Standard for superior care management, an Aging Life Care member will pre-position you for the best outcomes possible. For more information, contact The Option Group or Aging Life Association Mid-Atlantic Chapter.
If you or someone you care about needs additional support to help cope, The Option Group is here to help. Please contact our professional care management team for assistance.
About The Option Group: Founded in 2010, The Option Group’s compassionate team of experienced Certified Life Care Managers serves families, their loved ones, medical professionals, and professional family advisors in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The firm understands the challenges of caring for an individual who needs assistance due to aging, dementia, disability, or serious illness. Their skilled providers possess over 100 years of combined experience navigating the healthcare maze and accessing hundreds of quality resources. The Option Group helps families spend quality time with their loved ones, providing clear choices that lead to better care. For more information, visit www.theoptiongroup.net or call 410-667-0266 (MD) or 717-287-9900 / 610-885-8899 (PA) / or 302-858-6449 (DE).