I got introduced to Kandall Crye through a fellow professional that operates in the senior space. Kendall works at a firm called Senior Resource Consulting that was started by a veteran in the healthcare industry named Mandy Merkel. I wanted to know from Kendall, what care management is all about. Coming out of that meeting (it was actually coffee on a cold day in January…snow in Atlanta?!), I knew I needed to ask her to write something up for the Caring Companions of Atlanta BLOG. Senior Resource Consulting’s piece is below. Care managers are THE hub in senior care! Glad to know you Kendall!
Aging life 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 Care managers provide 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 reducing worry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers through:
- Assessment and monitoring
- Planning and problem-solving
- Education and advocacy
- Family caregiver coaching
What is an Aging Life Care Manager?
An Aging Life Care Manager, also known as an Aging Life Care Professional, is a health and human services specialist who acts as a guide and advocate for families who are caring for older relatives or disabled adults. The care manager is educated and experienced in any of several fields related to aging life care / care management, including, but not limited to nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care.
“Why use an Aging Life Care Manager?
A Care Manager can:
- Conduct a professional assessment
- Arrange care services
- Find community resources
- Assist with a residential placement when the time comes
- Be a source of information regarding financial, legal and other areas
What’s the process?
Step 1: Conduct an in-person assessment
Interview questions cover a range of issues relevant to an elder’s health and living situation, including everyday activities, nutritional status, safety, memory, depression, finances, insurance, and more.
Step 2: Make a Care Plan
A Care Plan includes the results of the assessment, recommendations, and referrals for local care options. The Manager will go into great depth in explaining some of the details of the plan, what led to the recommendations, what you can expect, and prioritize the needs list. Often the plan will include referrals to other professionals such as financial planners and eldercare attorneys; a good geriatric care manager will know when the situation calls for other professional help and has a list of resources ready to provide to the client.
A Care Plan will also include regular reassessments. As we age, so do our capabilities. Capabilities and functions need to be monitored as time goes on with adjustments made for those changes. The plan may be modified, in consultation with client and family, as circumstances change
Step 3: Arrange services
Even when services are not available directly through the Geriatric Care Manager, your GCare Manager will arrange for the services through other parties.
An Aging Life Care Manager finds out what you can do yourself, what can be done by other family members, matches this to the priority lists and economic abilities, and then helps to arrange for and monitor services.
Care Managers are uniquely connected in the community. It’s not like hiring your sister. Most Aging in Life Care Managers have been around for awhile, know the right people, and know how to get things done. In many cases they can save you more than their own fees by making the proper connections and knowing whom they are hiring. They know which programs work, know many of the care services and their reputations, and can often help avoid trouble by working with others whose history, strengths, and weaknesses they understand.
Even if you are local to your parent, Care Managers can take a load of organization off from your shoulders. They coordinate between service providers and are in many ways, like a General Contractor. Service personnel and companies are responsible for responding to them, not you.
In many cases, the service personnel are even more responsive and informed with a Gaging Life Care Manager than they would be with you. The Care Manager knows what is to be done, helps communicate between service companies and individuals, and often catch issues before they become problems.
If you are remote from your parent, they are even more beneficial to you. Getting in touch with local service companies and monitoring them is difficult if not impossible from 1000 miles away. The Aging in Life Care Manager becomes you for the purposes of establishing and monitoring services and needs.
Step 4: Monitor needs
As situations change so do the needs of the client. A good care manager maintains an ongoing relationship with the family and is available for follow up assessments and recommendations. Often they can spot issues before they become problems and get them resolved.
Specific services offered by care managers include but are not limited to
- 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 the family 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 orders and 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 cultural activities 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
- Financial – may include reviewing or overseeing bill paying or consulting with accountant or client’s Power of Attorney
- Entitlements – providing information on Federal and state entitlements; connecting families to local programs
- Safety and security – monitoring the client at home; recommending technologies to add to security or safety; observing changes and potential risks of exploitation or abuse
Local, cost-effective resources are identified and engaged as needed.”
At then end of the day, care managers are the glue of the senior ecosystem…they know what’s out there and how to seamlessly access those resources for the senior and their family. If you have an older family member and are not sure where to turn, start there with Kendall and Senior Resource Consulting!
Kendall M. Crye
Senior Resource Consulting
Geriatric Care Management