Contributed by: Procino-Wells & Woodland, LLC
How is Aging in Place different than what I’m doing now?
“Aging in Place” has become a coined phrase in the healthcare industry, pointing to several solutions that when used together, help seniors live safely, independently and comfortably. Notably in our experience is the use of professional aging in place specialists. These professionals are sometimes referred to as “Elder Care Managers”, “Geriatric Case Managers”, “Aging in Place Specialists”, etc., but despite the title, intend to offer the same service of routinely evaluating the senior’s daily activities, behaviors, and changes in health. Their observations of daily challenges prompt them to establish proven solutions that might otherwise be overwhelming for the older adult to set up. They help seniors age everyday, compared to the senior experiencing aging for the first time. Some clients like to refer to this hired help as a “skilled relative” - someone with the professional and clinical experience to spot concerns and implement solutions, while caring for the client in a personal and familial way.
How do I consider this type of help?
Most aging in place professionals begin a client relationship with an evaluation of the senior’s daily patterns. Their evaluation might look for the answers to these and several other questions:
-What does the client’s day look like on average, and how can that daily calendar improve?
-What physician relationships are in place, what medicines are being prescribed and do the established physicians have an awareness of each other and the client’s comprehensive med list?
-Does the client live in a healthy and sanitary environment?
-Does the client get behind on bill payment and routine household management?
When to consider a consultation (not limited to):
-Difficulty with activities of daily living like dressing, bathing, meal preparation, toileting, etc.
-Increased confusion or agitation
-Decreased safety awareness such as leaving the door unlocked or being trustful of strangers
-More frequent trips to the ER, Urgent Care or Primary Care
-Overwhelmed with tasks like changing doctors or pharmacies, or changing/managing service providers like the cable company
-Difficulty keeping sanitary living conditions, or having hoarding tendencies
-Unable to manage medicines or not taking medicines as prescribed
If you, or a loved one in your care, are experiencing any of these changes, a consultation with an experienced aging in place specialist may be helpful.
Aging in place specialists have the goal of using their professional experience to help seniors spot areas in their lifestyle that if improved, would better their quality of life, and ensure their ability to remain in their home as long as possible. Their helping hand can impact all areas of an aging adults lifestyle from identifying needed services and supporting emotional challenges to discussing difficult topics with family and providing caregiver stress relief. In our experience, they are a key resource to seniors aging in place.