What are Geriatric Care Managers & Aging Life Care Specialists?
In this installment of Water Cooler Chat, we talk with Melissa Leedom, an owner of Secure Aging where they provide financial and care management for seniors. In this chat, Melissa describes the roles of Geriatric Care Managers, Aging Life Care Managers / Aging Life Care Specialists, and Nurse Care Managers during the aging process.
To learn more about Secure Aging, please visit them online at www.secureaging.com.
Interviewee: Melissa Leedom, Owner of Secure Aging
Interviewer: Jonathan Marsh, Owner of Home Helpers Home Care of Bradenton
Jonathan: Hello and welcome to this installment of Water Cooler Chat with Home Helpers of Bradenton. I'm Jonathan Marsh, the owner. Here with me today I have Melissa Leedom, an owner of Secure Aging, a financial and care management service for seniors here in our community. We want to welcome you today, Melissa. How are you?
Melissa: I'm doing great, Jonathan. Thanks for having me.
Jonathan: No problem and thank you for joining us. I do have a question for you today, Melissa. That question is "What is a Geriatric Care Manager and how can this person assist in the aging process?"
Melissa: Thank you for inviting us and for asking that question. We get that question a lot. The term Geriatric Care Manager has been changed in the industry to an Aging Life Care Professional. I personally and I know a lot of people still like the term Geriatric (Care Manager) because it's very well understood. So I'll describe to you what an Aging Life Care Professional does and what we do here at Secure Aging.
A Geriatric Care Manager is a licensed professional who has acquired experience and specialized training in the field and this person has a strong understanding of community resources. That's one of the key components: the person is very embedded in the community resources for seniors. Because it's a licensed position or a certification, there's an ethical component and the very high standards of care that come with it. This person will coordinate all of the needs along the aging process that a family might experience and that might include care management, might include advocating on the health side, and could include helping to mediate family conflicts. Believe it or not, I've done a lot of that (mediating family conflicts). Then also on the financial side, it can include helping a loved one or a senior family member to be able to continue to pay their bills and do the things that are important to them without losing dignity and enable them to keep a peace of mind.
So here our team we have Aging Life Care Specialists or Geriatric Care Managers on staff. We also have Nurse Care Managers on staff, which get very involved when there are significant medical needs, helping with doctor's appointments, and communicating and coordinating diagnoses, and helping families understand and make decisions about diagnoses. Then we also have a focus on financial. For example, my background is that I’m a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) by training so I get very involved and very deep when maybe someone hasn't yet lost capacity but they just need some assistance making sure the bills get paid, making sure that you keep the lights on so to speak.
Sometimes at Secure Aging, we give the analogy of a contractor. If you're building a house, you don't know much about building a house so you go hire a contractor to build the house. That contractor makes sure that the materials are high quality, the labor/the project stays on time. Those things in the life of an aging individual and all of the different types of things that need to be outsourced are coordinated and handled by an Aging Life Care Specialist. We really enjoy sharing with families the different types of support that we can offer and the local resources we connect to. Some of those categories include legal, financial, advocacy, health care surrogates, assisting with family needs, and helping sometimes with housing. Sometimes there needs to be downsizing and those are critical steps. So we'll reach out to downsizing companies, real estate agents. If there's a companion care need, that's where your company does a great job with that. We reach out to you guys and many others. So we really enjoy providing the service to our community.
Jonathan: Very good and I can see how an Aging Life Care Specialist can play an important role in any of our client’s lives. I can say first hand how Secure Aging has played a very critical role in the lives of many of our clients and we've seen a lot of successful outcomes. So we want to thank you and all the folks at Secure Aging. Secure Aging has been around for how many years now?
Melissa: Since 2005. Quite some time.
Jonathan: Wow. Well, thank you so much, Melissa. I appreciate it. It's been a perfect conversation for not only our clients but also the audience of our Facebook page. So thank you for joining us today and thank you all for joining us out there in Facebook world. We appreciate it and we'll see you in the next installment of Water Cooler Chat with Home Helpers. Thank you again.