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What Aging Life Care Can Do For Your Family

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Aging Life Care™: What is it?

Aging Life Care (also known as geriatric 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 Aging Life Care Professionals™ provides 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.” Some of the services provided in Aging Life Care include: assessment and care planning, monitoring and advocacy, and education and caregiver coaching.

geriatric care manager with elderly couple

Aging Life Care Professionals™: The Experts in Aging Well

An Aging Life Care Professional (or care manager, or 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”.

Aging Life Care Professionals are able to address a broad range of issues related to the well-being of their client, to help that client attain maximum potential. They have extensive knowledge about the availability of resources in their community and their costs and quality.

Our Aging Wisely team of Aging Life Care Professionals brings a broad range of experience and expertise to the clients we serve in the Tampa Bay area of Florida (and families worldwide). With these resources at your disposal, your family can gain peace of mind.

Aging Life Care Association

The Aging Life Care Association, formerly known as the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM), is the professional association for practitioners in this field. ALCA members must meet stringent education, experience, and certification requirements, and all members are required to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Our Aging Wisely team has been actively involved in this professional association (and others) for many years. Our team members have been selected as speakers several times for the association’s national and Florida conferences and we have served in different capacities on various committees. We are proud to be involved in the continuing advancement of this profession so that families can find the qualified, professional help they need.

You can read more about Aging Wisely’s team members who are advanced members of the ALCA:

Linda Chamberlain, B.A., JD, CMC

Juliet Lewis, M.A., CMC, CCM

Susan Lewis, O.N.C., CMC

Adam Mullikin, OT/L, CEAS, CMC

Julie Scott, B.S., CMC, CCM

Susan Talbott, BSW, CMC

Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics for Aging Life Care Professionals™

Our Aging Wisely geriatric care manager team adheres to the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics for Aging Life Care Professionals. We use this, along with enhanced standards of operation and training, for all incoming team members, even if they are not yet certified or advanced members of the association.

The code of ethics provides: accountability to clients and the public, guidance for professional members, a framework for resolving ethical dilemmas and a means for reviewing complaints brought against members. You can read more about the Aging Life Care Professionals Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics here.

Stay tuned for more on the ways our Aging Life Care Professionals can help you and your family! Subscribe to our newsletter for monthly tips and updates.

*quotes/information from the Aging Life Care Association
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A Daughter’s Experiences in Eldercare

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A Tale of Two Transitions: My Divergent Stories about Helping Aging Parents Move to Assisted Living

A few years ago, my widowed mother-in-law began having trouble managing at home. We lived about an hour away and had been called three times when she fell or had a medical crisis and was taken to the emergency room. We also saw that she was limiting her movements in the home to one room and no longer cooking. My husband helped her with bill paying and visited regularly, but it was apparent it was time for a change. We felt the best option, especially as she seemed to be more lonely and isolated, was to find a good Assisted Living Facility closer to us (she refused to move in with us and we were busting at the seams with two teenagers at home anyway).

We asked around among some friends and went on a few tours of local facilities. We fell in love with a beautiful facility about 10 minutes from our home and thought it would be perfect for her. My husband went over to talk to her about what we thought would be best. Well, to put it mildly, the conversation did not go well. She felt blind-sided and had a lot of reasons why a move was “impossible”. My husband listened to her and decided to regroup and perhaps approach this slowly over time, i.e. “work on her”. I think a lot of her initial reluctance was fear and feeling overwhelmed with such a big change. We did eventually convince her and took her for a visit to the assisted living facility. She was very quiet and later told us she felt it was “awfully fancy”. We thought it was gorgeous and wanted to move in ourselves! We knew we’d have to help contribute some money to her monthly costs, but figured with the time we were spending running back and forth to her home, it would be worth it.

We arranged movers, helped go through her things (completely exhausting both her and us with the emotional draining process) and set up the move. The day of the move was not so great. She was upset; we were busy trying to arrange everything and we felt less than welcomed at the facility. They had a nice flower arrangement for her, and helped with logistics but things were fairly disorganized. Unfortunately, we arrived just after lunch (but without having had any ourselves) so we had to run out and get something for her as she missed the facility’s lunch time. Eventually, she began to settle in but remained reluctant to participate in the many activities offered. She began to need more assistance, and her fees went up quite a bit to get her the extra help. We realized our idea that we’d be saving so much time and stress were slightly off the mark, as we were at the assisted living facility or in touch with them almost every day.

She began having more medical issues and had a number of hospitalizations. At one hospitalization, we spoke to the facility staff and they felt her needs were beyond what they could handle, unless she got additional private-pay caregivers for many hours. She and we could not afford this. It was only later that we even began finding out about any options for financial assistance, some of which would have helped with better planning initially. The decision was made for her to move to a nursing home. Again, we were in the dark about which places were good but we looked up some information on the internet and picked a place. It did turn out to be a good place with good staff, but we were feeling very unsettled and anxious trying to make all these decisions. She never really recovered from her recent health issues and we lost her within a few months. I think we did all we could with what we knew and we certainly worked hard to do the best for her, but we learned quickly that you rarely “know what you don’t know” and we were in the dark about a lot of eldercare options and Florida aging services resources that could have helped.

Part 2:
As most of us “Boomers” can relate, this was not the end of our years of “caregiving” as my Mom and Dad were a bit younger but also beginning to have more health difficulties. After our prior experiences, we sat down and talked through a lot of these healthcare and aging issues with Mom and Dad. We asked them what they wanted should they need help and opened up a discussion about the financial side of things, so that we had a better idea where things stood for them and could begin doing a little research. We made sure they had their advance directives and legal paperwork in place and got introduced by them to their attorney and financial advisor. After Mom had a stroke, her financial advisor suggested we may want to meet with a professional who helps with aging issues, a geriatric care manager. We set up a consultation appointment with Aging Wisely. Mom wasn’t able to attend this first appointment, but Dad came along.

We filled out some paperwork before the appointment and had a great first meeting. It was reassuring to know we were talking to a Florida senior care expert, but one who wasn’t working for a particular facility and could help with anything from home care to assisted living to financial resources. We got some recommendations and began implementing them to get Mom home safely from the hospital. We decided after a couple months to hire the geriatric care manager to help oversee things and attend Mom’s neurology follow up appointments (in this case we lived over an hour away and we also knew the care manager had a better handle on the questions to ask and how to advocate for Mom). Mom and Dad had some wonderful caregivers to help them at home and the care manager had a number of suggestions which helped with their various needs. The biggest comfort was probably just knowing that if a crisis arose, I could pick up the phone and have an expert right there to help me (or even console me as I felt I was boring my friends with the constant stories and woes).

A couple years later, we were at a transitional point again as Mom’s health had worsened and both were feeling overwhelmed with the household. We delved once again in to the world of finding a good assisted care facility and making the transition. This time it was an all together different experience. Our care manager already knew Mom and Dad and helped us to quickly narrow down the options that were not only quality places, but the right fit for Mom and Dad’s needs (which can be even harder when trying to accommodate a couple, at varying care levels). Our care manager arranged for tours/lunches at each of the facilities for Mom and Dad and they felt very involved in the decision.

It is almost too much to list, but here are a few of the other things the Aging Wisely care manager did for us:
• Reviewed the payment options/contract and helped us ask important questions to ensure understanding, as well as negotiate some of the fees related to the move.
• Connected us with the local Veterans Service Office to begin the process of applying for Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits.
• Helped us map out the move process and move day to make it less stressful for everyone.
• Made arrangements the day of the move to reduce the stress on Mom and Dad as well as introduce them to their new home (and suggested things like how to integrate their favorite caregivers as they made the transition).

I share this story because I want others to know there are options. You care for your loved ones and will do the best job you can, but sometimes doing the best job means knowing who can help you. A professional knows the questions you won’t even think to ask. An independent advocate made such a difference to our family and I know they can for yours as well. When it comes to eldercare and resources for the elderly in the Tampa Bay/Pinellas County, Florida area, Aging Wisely is the go-to resource.

We appreciate being able to share stories from caregivers and welcome contributions that may help other families facing caregiving and eldercare concerns. Contact us at 727-447-5845 about sharing your story, or for more information and assistance with caregiver consultations and Florida geriatric care management and senior care services.

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Components of a Geriatric Assessment: Functional Areas

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In previous posts, we have covered The Benefits of a Geriatric Care Management Assessment and The Nutritional Components of an Elder Assessment.

A major area of any geriatric assessment is a review of the client’s functional status. A functional assessment reviews the client’s abilities to perform daily tasks. These can generally be divided in to ADLs (Activities of Daily Living, such as bathing, dressing, grooming/hygiene, eating and transferring/mobility) and IADLs (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, such as cooking, household maintenance, driving, using a telephone, shopping, financial management). The assessment also reviews cognitive status and any potential limitations there, which may affect functioning, safety and awareness.

The care manager reviews current daily routines, abilities and challenges with:

* eating
* dressing
* bathing
* hygiene/grooming
* toileting/continence
* mobility & fall risk
* household cleaning & maintenance
* meal preparation
* laundry
* pet care
* transportation

In looking at these various areas, the assessor reviews the person’s:

* cognition (memory, insight, judgment, problem solving)
* psychological well-being(mood, emotions)
* social supports
* sensory systems(hearing, vision)
* physical skills (strength, movement, mobility)
* use of adaptive equipment/environmental safety

The assessment provides an excellent picture of current status, gaps/concerns as well as recommendations to ensure continued safety. By conducting a face-to-face assessment in the home environment, the care manager observes the client’s abilities within the real-life environment. Gathering information from the client, family, and providers as well as careful, expert observation enables the care manager to form a complete picture. The assessment may be conducted over a few visits during different times of day or situations for gathering accurate data.

The findings of the functional assessment result in recommendations for immediately improving quality of life and safety, as well as considerations for the future and issues to anticipate as chronic conditions impact abilities and function. The geriatric care manager may recommend community services, home care assistance, home modifications, technology for aging in place, physical or occupational therapy and other specialty services. The care manager makes specific, easy-to-follow recommendations so that the client and family has a detailed road map for accessing good help, and the care manager can also assist in implementing recommendations if desired.

CONTACT US TODAY for more information or to schedule your geriatric care management assessment. We provide elder assessments in the Tampa, Florida area (Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties) as well as eldercare consultations for families throughout the U.S.

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Florida Senior Care – Eldercare Resources

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Helping Florida Serve the Geriatric Care Needs of its Senior Citizens

Florida has many great resources for senior care and aging assistance. Over the last century elderly people have been migrating to Florida for its warm weather and healthy senior environment. Many times they are geographically separated from loved ones but wish to stay in Florida, but need some eldercare support to do so. Here at Aging Wisely we hope to continue in this long tradition of serving our nation’s elderly parents, relatives and loved ones.

Below you’ll find a list of links and senior care resources we believe important to not only helping Florida seniors care for themselves but also nationwide and international citizens looking to make Florida their home and families at a distance concerned about elderly loved ones living in Florida.

Aging Wisely is your Florida Senior Care Resource Expert.
Click here to schedule a time to talk with a geriatric care manager about senior care resources to help you!

Below you can find resources dealing with Alzheimer’s, Florida Caregivers, Geriatric Care Management, Florida Prescription Drug Information, along with Housing and Legal Issues. If you’re trying to make the best healthcare choices, we offer specialized Medicaid and Medicare advocacy and analysis.

The following links are great resources as you navigate your senior care journey, but we know it can be confusing to figure this all out alone! We encourage you to contact us at 727-447-5845 for a personal needs analysis or reach out online for further information on Florida eldercare, healthcare or geriatric care management.


ALZHEIMER’S

http://www.alz.org – Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer’s Specialty Home Care in Florida

CAREGIVERS

http://www.caregiving.com – Solutions to caregiving situations, managing stress and making decisions

http://www.caregiver.org – Family Caregiver Alliance, a non-profit organization for family caregivers and the professionals with whom they work (provides research, education, awareness, advocacy)

http://www.easylivingfl.com/blog/-EasyLiving Florida home caregivers’ blog offers a wide array of information for family and professional senior caregivers.

http://www.parentgiving.com – Information & Resources for Caregivers

http://www.ec-online.net – Online community for elder caregivers

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CARE MANAGEMENT

http://www.caremanager.org – National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, information on the field of care management and links to geriatric care managers throughout the U.S. and in other areas of Florida.

Signs You Might Need a Geriatric Care Manager

Benefits of a Geriatric Care Management Assessment

DRUG INFORMATION

http://www.needymeds.com -This website offers comprehensive information on patient assistance programs and prescription drug information.

www.medicare.gov – Medicare’s official site

http://www.mypillbox.org – Allows you to make weekly medicine schedules, including pictures of medicines

http://www.ismp.org/ – Institute for Safe Medication Practices, a nonprofit organization educating professionals and consumers on safe medication practices

http://www.fda.gov/medwatch – FDA safety information and adverse event reporting program

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ELDER CARE/SENIOR ISSUES

http://www.easylivingfl.com – EasyLiving, Inc. provides home health care and senior home care services in Pinellas County, Florida.

http://www.eldercare.gov – The Eldercare Locator has a listing of government and local eldercare services (good place to find contact information, but will not offer recommendations).

http://www.benefitscheckup.org – Searchable listings of various benefits programs that help seniors pay for costs of food, utilities, prescription drugs, etc.

http://www.aoa.gov – Administration on Aging, created by the Older Americans Act

http://www.agingcare.com – AgingCare.com is an online community that connects people caring for elderly parents to other caregivers, personalized information and local resources.

https://www.agingwisely.com/category/blog/– Aging Wisely’s weekly blog posts cover the most current topics in aging, caregiver questions and insights from our eldercare experts. Leave us a comment or question you’d like answered!

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HEALTH ISSUES

http://www.nih.gov – National Institute of Health

http://www.caringinfo.org – Caring Connections from the National Hospice Foundation, information on end of life care and downloadable state-specific advance directives.

http://www.familydoctor.org – American Academy of Family Physicians’ patient information site, search for useful articles/topics related to seniors and family health

http://www.fdhc.state.fl.us – Florida Health & Human Services: Agency for Health Care Administration (state surveys of nursing homes, home health and other eldercare and healthcare organizations, healthcare regulation information and state updates)

http://www.apdaparkinson.org – American Parkinson’s Disease Association. The Information and Referral Center-West Coast of Florida can be contacted at 727-328-6246.

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HOUSING

http://www.leadingage.org – Previously called the American Association of Homes & Services for the Aging

Guide to Choosing the Best Assisted Living– Tips for choosing a care facility for seniors from our eldercare experts who know the inside scoop on care facilities

Florida Health Finder-Facility Locator – A listing of all regulated Florida health entities such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home health agencies, managed by Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration.

Senior Citizen Housing Information– U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s information for seniors on housing assistance and various programs

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LEGAL ISSUES

http://www.naela.org – National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys – assists lawyers, bar organizations and others who work with older clients and their families – resource of information, education, networking and assistance

http://www.nsclc.org – National Senior Citizens Law Center – advocates nationwide to promote independence and well being of low-income elderly individuals and persons wit disabilities, with particular emphasis on women and racial and ethic minorities

Ask us for a referral to a local Florida elder law or estate planning attorney!

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MEDICARE AND MEDICAID

http://www.medicare.gov – The official U.S. government site for Medicare information. Includes search tools for helpful contacts, Medicare personal plan finders, nursing home information and frequently asked questions.

http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/ – Center for Medicare Advocacy

http://www.cms.hhs.gov – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – information for consumers and professional regarding Medicare and Medicaid

Florida Health Finder’s Medicaid information – Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration’s portal for Florida Medicaid information and key contacts.

Medicaid Fact Sheet– The latest Medicare numbers and an overview of the various parts of Medicare, presented in a clear, concise manner.

Medicare Under 65 – Overview of information and resources for people under age 65 who may qualify for Medicare coverage, such as those with disabilities.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION & RESOURCES

http://www.aarp.com

http://www.va.gov – Department of Veteran’s Affairs

http://www.ssa.gov – Social Security Administration and Social Security Online

http://www.elderabusecenter.org – National Center on Elder Abuse

http://www.myflorida.com – The state of Florida’s official web portal, with a wide variety of information and links on government services. Contains specific sections on elders ans retirement in Florida with links to various senior services and information for older adults in Florida.

For more information about how you and your family can prepare for eldercare, contact us at 727-447-5845 and get your copy of our Essential Eldercare Checklist.

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Mission Statement

Our goal is to enable every individual we work with to live the most fulfilling life possible, with utmost dignity, focusing on their physical, mental, spiritual, family and financial wellbeing.