As financial planners, we are often tasked with answering the question of how our clients will fund their advanced care needs later in life. However, who is helping you make the choices on how, and by whom, that care is provided? In this Guest Blog Post, Kate Granigan (CEO) & Anna Pollard (Dir of Clinical Services) of Life Care Advocates outline to us what an Aging Life Care Professional is, and the role they play in helping you plan.
Who is an Aging Life Care Professional, and What Do They Do? By: Kate Granigan & Anna Pollard
May is Aging Life Care Professionals (ALCP) Month! Who, you may ask, is an Aging Life Care Professional, and what do they do?
An ALCP is a highly experienced health care professional, usually a social worker or nurse, but also includes mental health professionals, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and others. Many have had experience in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home care agencies, and other health care providers for older adults.
The highest quality professionals are usually educated at a Master’s level, and have state licensure in their profession. Our national professional organization, the Aging Life Care Association (ALCA), holds life care professionals to a high level of ethical standard, and requires credentialing for Advanced Professional membership. www.aginglifecare.org
Aging life care professionals, especially those at LifeCare Advocates, have a broad and deep spectrum of services provided to their clients. We help families negotiate the fragmented health care system; develop relationships with elders; find quality resources for care and support of their elder loved one and themselves; provide education and support around a variety of aging issues; implement, coordinate and monitor care plans in a variety of care settings; and provide a professional, experienced, knowledgeable guide along the journey of aging.
Aging life care professionals are hired by the client and/or family, and we make recommendations in the best interest of the elder client. We are often called in at a time of crisis, usually medical in nature which enters our client into the medical system, where their stress is increased by the choices they have to make and the coordination that needs to happen when they are the patient or health care agent. We are also called in when clients are thinking about the future and want to know their options ahead of time, to avert a crisis or at least be prepared to react.
We differ from case managers in that our allegiance is solely to the client, not to an institution, insurance company, or other entity, and our relationship with the client is not circumscribed by the setting. We are able to take time in the initial stages of our involvement and throughout our relationship with the client to get to know them well, and use that knowledge to match them with services, providers, and other services that meet their individual needs. We take a holistic view of our clients, aiming to not only meet their basic care needs, but enhance and improve their quality of life in a myriad of ways.
There are eight areas of expertise that an aging life care manager is expected to have to enhance the holistic view of the client: health and disability, financial, housing, family and family dynamics, local resources, advocacy, legal, and crisis intervention. Though we are not legal or financial practitioners, we have a working knowledge of how these areas impact our clients, and maintain a trusted group of specialists in these areas to whom we refer our clients. We are prohibited from having any financial gain from referrals we make in any realm. We work closely with a team of professionals to meet our clients’ needs in the best way possible!
We at LifeCare Advocates are fortunate to work in this unique and growing profession. We take pride in our work, and benefit, as do our clients, from the collective knowledge of our amazing team of care managers.
If you find yourself or an elder loved one in need of care; guidance at a time of change of health or cognition; or are beginning to look at options for care down the road, please call us. We would welcome the opportunity to assist you! www.lcadvocates.com