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INDEPENDENT AGING > AGING IN PLACE > AP 3

Trying to Navigate Eldercare Services?  Don’t do it alone! 

By: Jo-Ann Thibault

Whether you are a family member, spouse or friend of an Elder in current need of services or you are looking ahead to available resources and options – navigating senior care resources can be overwhelming, confusing and time-consuming.  Your objective is to find the right sources for you or your loved ones specific needs – and assistance from an eldercare professional can be a huge help!

Understanding your needs:

Identify obstacles you are facing for safe, comfortable living including any health concerns. Determine the level of assistance needed regarding physical safety and psychological well-being.  Make a list of your concerns, (i.e. living arrangements, financial concerns, home safety, etc.).

Educate yourself on where to turn for help.  Below is a list of some elder care professionals and how they can help with your specific needs.

 

Elder Care Professionals and Organizations

Geriatric Care Managers:
A Geriatric Care Manager 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 Geriatric Care Manager assists clients in attaining their maximum functional potential.  The individual’s independence is encouraged, while safety and security concerns are also addressed. Geriatric Care Managers are able to address a broad range of issues related to the well-being of their client. They also have extensive knowledge about the costs, quality, and availability of resources in their communities. IMPORTANT NOTE: Credentials should include certification from the National Association of Geriatric Care Managers;
http://www.caremanager.org/, and always ask for references.

Elder Care Attorneys:
An elder care attorney focuses on the legal needs of the elderly; they may assist seniors and their families with locating/financing long term care, estate planning, and crafting alternative decision-making documents (i.e. power of attorney, advanced directives, etc.) IMPORTANT NOTE:  Check out the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys - http://www.naela.org/, for a directory of Elder Care Attorneys in your area.  Always ask for references.

Financial Advisors:
Asset protection and guidance with LTC decisions. Financial Advisors also work with local elder care attorneys.
IMPORTANT NOTE:  Make sure they are a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) – and ask the following questions: 1) Who do you know in the community? 2) How do you make money? 3) How long have you been doing this? 4) References.

Aging Service Access Points & Areas on Aging: 
State and Federal funded programs that support all areas on aging with many resources available. Massachusetts:
http://800ageinfo.com

Senior Move Managers:
Downsizing or relocated from a beloved home is easier with this elder care professional. A Senior Move Manager is a professional who specializes in assisting older adults and their families with the emotional and physical aspects of relocation and/or aging in place. Senior move managers provide a multi-faceted approach to the move process: from space planning in the beginning to post-move support and advocacy. IMPORTANT NOTE:
  Senior Move Managers should be accredited and certified through the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM: http://www.nasmm.org/) – Always ask for references.

Home Care Agencies:

Private home care agencies can be a great resource for assistance in maintaining independence in your own home.  Providing assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s), such as personal care, grooming, bathing, meal prep, errands, transportation, and companionship. IMPORTANT NOTE:   When choosing a home care agency – always ask the following questions: 1) Do they employ their workers and are they covered by workers’ comp, liability and bonding insurance? 2) Are the caregivers Certified Home Health Aides and/or Certified Nurses Aides? 3) Are the caregivers supervised by Registered Nurses? For more information: http://www.mahomecareaides.com/content/home.aspx

 

There are many options and resources to assist you with elder care services and planning.  You can also refer to your local Council on Aging and your Physician for recommendations. Do not hesitate to ask for assistance!

By: JoAnn Thibault

© The Elder Insider, LLC 2012