What is An Aging Life Care Professional0
On this show we spoke with Heidi Garvis of Caring Considerations and she walked us through what an Aging Life Care Professional is. We spoke about where to find them, regardless of where you are in the country; what they do; and importantly, how much they cost. We always strive to make these Podcasts very tactical for our listeners. That’s our mission. We hope as you listen, you can decide when and how you might be able to use the services of Aging Life Care Professionals. You will know right out of the gates how to plan and budget and whether it fits in your family’s budget or not.
Heck, maybe some in our audience will decide they want to be an Aging Life Care Professional one day!
I think that what they do is the best kept secret when we’re talking about aging issues.
– Heidi Garvis
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Price: Well, good morning everyone. This is Price Jett and welcome again to Elder Care 101. We have with us today a former guest of the show. She brought some very valuable information to us about what to do before, during and after hospitalizations. On that show a particular topic came up around Aging Life Care Professionals. That was relatively new topic, in concept, for some folks in our audience so we thought we would spend a little bit of time today bring Heidi Garvis from Caring Considerations back and we’ll talk about that topic. Heidi, welcome to Elder Care 101 again.
Heidi: Thank you for having me again Price. I’m glad to be here.
Price: Well, we really appreciate it and every time we talk to you we learn something new. Thank you so much for your time. Heidi, the topic today is Aging Life Care Professionals. What is that? What does an Aging Life Care Professional do?
Heidi: Well, I think what they do is the best kept secret when we’re talking about aging issues and the people that need to know more. Aging Life Care Professionals is a relatively new term, they used to be called Geriatric Care Managers. Aging Life Care Professionals is a better description of what they do. It is essentially a holistic client centered approach to caring for older adults or other spacing ongoing health challenges.
We work with families, we work with other professionals that serve older adults and their families. We help them in times of uncertainly. Where they come from exactly, it could be a background of nursing, social work, human services, gerontology, psychology, etcetera.
Price: Who typically engages an aiding Life Care Professional Heidi? Is it the family? Is it the senior adults? Who typically engages these folks?
Heidi: Well, usually it’s an adult child. When I say and adult child that is somebody that’s helping care for older parents or grandparents. They typically don’t want to spend a lot of time trying to understanding something that they haven’t been through before. None of us know what it’s like to be older until we get there. An adult child may be very frustrated at all the information out there. The best part about an Aging Life Care Professional is that we can do something in 2 hours that might take somebody weeks to do.
Price: Exactly. Talk to our audience about then the kinds of things that they do. The kinds of topics that they bring to bear that they educate families on.
Heidi: Good question. They talk about housing for the elderly. They help families evaluate and to select an appropriate level of housing, whether it be low income, or retirement communities, or assisted living, or memory care. They also help educate, and support, and manage home care services. Home care services are when you have a nurses aid or companion coming into your home helping you with the activities of daily living such as eating, dressing, mobility, toileting, medication management, etcetera.
They also help with medical advocacy or management. Attending doctor’s appointments. An Aging Life Care Professional might be able to go to a doctor appointment and ask the right questions. Understand what the implications are to the conversations the doctor and the patients are having.
Communication is a huge part of it. We keep the family members and professional informed as to the well-being. We’re sort of the hub of the wheel. Putting together all of areas of somebodies life where they need help.
Social activities is another one. Providing for people that may have dementia some good things to stimulate them, to get them out. Where to go, what to do. Legal issues, we’re not legal professionals, but we would support an Elder Law Attorney and help people get their fairs in order. Then there’s financial arrangements too. We might help a loved one get their daily money managed, writing checks, making sure their not taken advantage of.
Then the safety and security in the home is a huge one. We do a whole house evaluation on steps, rugs, temperature of water, all of the things that will make a person’s life safer as they age.
Price: Heidi, help our listeners at home wrap their heads around how it would work or what it would look like. You have a loved one, and I suppose there are people, the family is in the area and then sometimes the families could be on the other side of the country. Is that right?
Heidi: That’s correct.
Price: They would call an Aging Life Care Professional and that person would come in for 2 hours a day, 1 day a week. What does the typical interaction look like? Is there a typical interaction?
Heidi: I’m glad you asked that because it does vary a little bit, but typically there’s a trigger. There is some kind of a medical crisis. Now this is a generalization it could happen in all different ways. There’s a medical crisis that gives the phone call going here. Gets the discussion going. There’s always something that needs to be resolved. We are crisis intervention experts, but we also do look at the long-term needs too.
What might happen initially is a hopstial stay, an emergency room visit where we would be there as somebody’s advocate. Then as we put all of the support systems in place we wouldn’t have to see a client weekly, or excuse me daily we could see them weekly bimonthly. It really depends on what somebody needs and what the family may want.
Price: Got it. These Aging Life Care Planning Professionals they are, are they nationwide? Is there a network of them? Is there a clearing house? If we have listeners in Alabama and some in Alaska can they find someone in this role near them? Is there a website to go to? How do people find an Aging Life Care Professionals near them?
Heidi: Yes, there is a national association, it’s called The Aging Life Care Association. The website though is www.aginglifecare.org.
Price: Okay. Aginglifecare.org. I’m going to go there right now. You put in your zip code maybe? How do you find someone near you?
Heidi: You put in your zip code. You can look through people’s biographies, where they base their business out of. What their expertise is. Some people are a little bit different than others. You can get to know somebody before making that call.
The nice thing about all of them no matter where you are in the country they will be experts in their geographic area. For instance, somebody based in Virginia may not know what’s going on in Indianapolis. The Aging Life Care Professional in Indianapolis will know the services and resources for older adults in that area.
Price: Got it. Very helpful. I just put in my own zip code and the person who came up was someone named Valerie Hopson-Bell and I actually have heard wonderful things about Valerie. I see how it works. Then you would just reach out to that local person and they would start the conversation with you doing a house evaluation. Helping with questions around medications and those types of things. Is that correct?
Heidi: That is correct. You can pretty much ask them anything, they know a lot.
Price: You mentioned Heidi, senior living alternatives. Is this things like assisted living and the like? How does an Aging Life Care Professional help in that space?
Heidi: Well, first when an Aging Life Care Professional meets with the family they do a lot of interviewing and discovery. They’ll find out what’s important to them. What their life style is. What their history is. What they’ve enjoyed in the past. What they would like to do in the future. Getting to know somebody on a very personal level is extremely important because then we ask the questions about, would you like to remain in your home, age in place it’s sometimes called? Would you like to move to a senior community or would you like to live with your children or have children live with you?
I always talk about those are your 3 options when you need more help as you age. Senior housing options is one of those option which can be very beneficial for a family, it’s not the nursing home like people used to think years ago. There are wonderful communities out there that will help in many areas of life. There is the type of person that would like that environment more than others. As you get to know people we can ask the right questions and have a dialogue about what’s important to the older adult.
Price: Do you help them with figuring out which facilities and options align with their budgets? Do you get down into that level of detail?
Heidi: Absolutely. We look at their budget, and we also look at where do they want to live? Do they want to live near the daughter? What are the options near the daughter. We try to narrow down especially in certain areas of the country where there’s hundreds of options. We try to narrow down what makes sense for that particular older adult, and then we give them options. We also talk about the differences between a retirement community, independent living apartments, assisted living versus memory care. What’s the difference there and when would somebody need skilled nursing. That is what we used to call the nursing home.
There are reason for every level of care. There are reasons why somebody might choose independent living senior apartments over a retirement community. A lot does have to do with the budget.
Price: Heidi, for those that are listening and wondering, it sounds like a fantastic service. What does it cost? What can people be planning for if they think about engaging an Aging Life Care Professional? Is it expensive?
Heidi: That’s a great question Price, because people will look at a consultant fee, an hourly rate, and think that that’s very expensive. It doesn’t have to be hours and hours. I tell people it usually starts at about $110 per hour and it can go up to maybe a $180 an hour. Usually the initial assessment there’s a little more work involved and it’s a higher amount. It might a flat fee of say $500 to $800.
Then the other thing that people don’t realize is that they could spend a lot of time and effort, and even money going down some wrong paths. Again, an Aging Life Care Professional can do something in 2 hours that it might take somebody weeks to do.
Price: I suppose Heidi, it would also help people avoid some mistakes. I known several friends who moved into assisted living facilities and then when they got there they just realized that place was not for them. Some lost their deposits and partial deposits and other things as they eventually moved out and went somewhere else. I would image perhaps this could take some that risk out.
Heidi: It does. If you spend a few hundred dollars to work with an Aging Life Care Professional to find the right community, or at least narrow down your choices you can be assured that this is a good fit for me. That you’ve done your homework with the help of an expert. I often tell people when somebody needs assisted living they may pay $5,000 to $8,000 a month, and it varies depending on where you are in the country. That’s a lot of money to make a mistake, whereas spending a few hundred dollars in the beginning will help avoid that issue.
Price: Got it. We talked about doing a home assessment, perhaps helping find housing if that was a need. We talked a little bit about maybe even attending doctor’s visits. What are the other tops things that people engage a Life Care Planning Professional for? Anything that we’ve missed?
Heidi: I often talk to families about the benefit of a neutral party. Many times I work with families where there’s 2 parents and several siblings and nobody agrees. I think when you’re too close to the situation sometimes it’s really difficult to see what’s important or to understand everybody’s agenda. If you have an Aging Life Care Professional that can come in and talk to the entire family, either separately or together, it can give everybody peace of mind that their issues have been addressed and everybody can meet some common goals. That’s one benefit there.
Other times people have burn out, they’re confused, they might be taking care of their own children, the sandwich generation as we all know. It just may be difficult to do a good job and everybody wants to care for their parents in the best way possible. If we can just provide a little bit of help and a little bit if direction it gives people peace of mind.
Price: That’s wonderful. Heidi, I can certainly see how beneficial this would be. I mean it is, when we move into this space it is certainty a complex systems. It’s filled with emotions at times, confusing terms. Sort of having someone lead you through that time I could see would be hugely valuable.
Thank you for letting us learn a little bit more about what an Aging Life Care Professional is. It certainly was a new term to me and a new concept. Very very helpful. Heidi, if folks wanted to get in touch with you how would they do that? How could they learn more? We’ll post everything we spoke about today in the show notes, as well. They wanted to get in touch with you, how would they do that?
Heidi: I have a website, it’s www.caringconsiderations.com that’s 1 word caringconsiderations.com or they can reach me via email at Heidi@caringconsiderations.com.
Price: Wonderful. Heidi, thank you for taking time today to help us all get a little bit smarter in the elder care space. I greatly appreciate it.
Heidi: Thank you Price. My pleasure.
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