What is a Professional Aging Life Care Manager® and how can they help?
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What is a Professional Aging Life Care Manager® and how can they help?

November 8, 2022

Anyone can call themselves a “care manager” or another generic title such as eldercare consultant, senior advisor, care coordinator, advocate – you get the picture. It’s important to know the difference between a Professional Aging Life Care Manager and a “care manager” so you’re making a wise decision when deciding to hire one.

A little background:

Over 35 years ago a group of social workers and nurses in NY, who worked in hospitals and facilities, met to discuss how they can help more seniors and disabled adults be proactive in their care in hopes to avoid hospitalizations. In 1984, they created the profession of Geriatric Care Management. They began a national association with a standard of practice and a code of ethics that each member must follow. Soon after, they created the National Association of Certified Care Managers (NACCM). According to the association, these parameters were set in place “to help separate this profession from others who simply put out an ‘Open for Business’ shingle.”

Unfortunately, the one thing the association did not do at that time was to brand this new profession so over the years many people started calling themselves, “care manager”. So, in 2014 the association rebranded and trademarked the professional titles of Aging Life Care Manager, Professional, and Expert, to protect the consumer. Currently, there are over 2000 of us nationwide and over 200 in Florida.

What is Aging Life Care Management?

It’s a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for seniors and disabled adults facing ongoing health, emotional, or behavioral challenges. The expertise of an Aging Life Care Manager provides the answers at a time of uncertainty. Their problem-solving skills and guidance lead clients and their family members to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love. Through education, advocacy and family caregiver coaching the Aging Life Care Manager reduces worry, stress, and time off work for family caregivers.

Aging Life Care Managers are:  

  • Highly educated, well-seasoned experts who know how to help navigate safely through the fragmented health care system.
  • Skilled in assessing all aspects of life care; health, cognitive, psychosocial, emotional, behavioral, functional, home safety, legal, financial, government benefits, and end-of-life spiritual needs.
  • Coordinators of care and best practices; arranging for the most appropriate level of community services working within the budget and enhancing the quality of life.
  • Experts in overseeing all aspects of care; whether at home, assisted living, hospital, rehab, nursing center; we make sure everyone is focused on our client’s specific needs and overall well-being.
  • Strong advocates and mediators who believe in patients’ rights and choice, full disclosure, transparency, and informed consent.

 What questions should you ask when looking to hire an Aging Life Care Professional?

  • Do you have at least a 4-year degree in a field such as social work, psychology, gerontology, counseling, or are you a licensed nurse?
  • AND. . . Are you, or the owner of your agency, a current member of the Aging Life Care Association® (ALCA) and adhere to the Association’s strict Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics?
  • How many years of work experience do you have and in what type of healthcare setting?
  • Do you excel in all 8 Knowledge Areas: Health & Disability, Crisis Intervention, Advocacy, Family, Housing, Legal, Financial, Local Resources.
  • Are you Certified in Case Management, Care Management, or Social Work (CCM, CMC, C- ASWCM or C-SWCM), or working towards one of these approved certifications?

To find an Aging Life Care Manager near you or learn more about how this expert professional can assist you and/or your loved one, call Lory Smeltzer, BA, MPH, CMC, owner of Advanced Senior Solutions. 727-443-2273.

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