What is an Aging Life Care Professional?
An Aging Life Care Professional is a healthcare and human services expert who acts as an advocate and guide for families caring for aging loved ones or disabled adults. The Aging Life Care Professional is educated and experienced in several fields that may include gerontology, social work, end-of-life matters, specialized dementia care, and more, focusing on issues related to elder care and aging.
Aging Life Care Professionals are members of the Aging Life Care Association (ALCA) and must meet stringent education, experience, and certification requirements and adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards of practice. While an Aging Life Care Professional is often like a “coach” to clients and their families, at Stanton Aging Solutions, we see ourselves as your partners in care.
Aging Life Care Professionals assist clients in attaining their greatest level of function and independence, while also addressing health, safety, and security concerns and can assist with a wide range of issues related to client well-being. Aging Life Care Professionals are also knowledgeable as to the availability, quality, and cost of resources in their community.
What is a Geriatric Care Manager?
A geriatric care manager is typically a licensed nurse or social worker who specializes in geriatrics and helps clients and their families identify care needs and how to meet them. As a specially trained professional, the care manager can help locate resources to make daily life easier. They will partner with you to find the services you need right now and can also help you create a long-term care plan. When family members live far apart, a geriatric care manager can be extremely helpful, checking in with both the client and their family to make sure needs are being met and addressing any concerns or changes in needs.
What Do Geriatric Care Managers Do?
- Discuss complex and difficult topics, such as the need for a change in living arrangements, advance directives, and end-of-life care
- Make home visits, do assessments, and suggest needed services
- Address emotional and psycho-social concerns
- Make short- and long-term care plans
- Coordinate medical services and recommend/arrange care personnel and provide guidance through the process
- Evaluate living arrangements and help with aging-in-place or make recommendations for alternative living arrangements
- Provide education to caregivers and teach them coping skills for stress relief
View more information on what Geriatric Care Managers do.
What is Advanced Care Planning?
Advanced care planning is not just for seniors - it helps each of us live our life on our own terms, knowing that our plans will be honored and our future will be secure. Advance care planning helps you evaluate your needs, desires, and resources for where and how you want to live, financial considerations, and assists with important discussions for developing advance directives.
In addition, any one of us, regardless of age, could experience a medical crisis that could leave us unable to make our own health care decisions. Planning for future health care is an important step toward making sure you get the medical care you would want if you become unable to express your own wishes.
There are questions you can answer and decisions you can think about now so that you are prepared in the future, for example identifying who you would want to make decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself. Making some of these choices now will take some of the burden off of relatives and friends. Your preferences can be part of an advance directive, which is a legal document that only becomes effective if you are severely ill or injured and unable to speak for yourself, regardless of your age.
Learn more about advanced care planning.
What are Advance Directives?
An advance directive is a legal document that lets others know what type of medical care and interventions you want, as well as expressing your beliefs and wishes related to end-of-life care. Advance directives eliminate the guesswork for families in making decisions for loved ones during emotionally intense times, while giving them the freedom to move forward with the plan knowing that their loved ones’ wishes are being carried out. An advance directive is a living and dynamic document that can be revised if there are changes in your medical status or if your situation changes. Without advance directives, family members and doctors will make the decisions for you. Find out how we can help with your advanced care planning and advance directives.
Is Alzheimer’s the same as Dementia?
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of progressive brain disorder that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. It is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for up to 70% of all dementias. While Alzheimer’s causes dementia, there are other causes and types of dementia, such as vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, fronto-temporal dementia, Parkinson’s dementia, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, and mixed dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer who, in 1906, found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary, or tau proteins, or tangles) in the brain of a deceased patient who had exhibited unusual language difficulties, memory loss, and unpredictable behaviors. These plaques and tangles in the brain are still considered some of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease. While the causes of Alzheimer’s are still unknown, the most significant risk factor for the disease is advancing age. Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s or most other dementias, several medicines have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat people with this illness.
Diagnosing dementia and its type can be difficult. The physician must identify the pattern of memory loss and decreased skills and function and determine what a person is still able to do. Biomarkers have become available to more accurately diagnose Alzheimer's disease. A doctor will review medical history and symptoms and conduct a physical examination. He or she will likely ask close family members and friends about a patient’s symptoms as well. No single test can diagnose dementia, so doctors are likely to use several tests to help pinpoint the problem. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with dementia, we can help. We provide assessments, resources, and concierge dementia care.
I have been diagnosed — or my loved one has been diagnosed — with dementia. What should I do next?
A dementia diagnosis can be devastating, both to the patient and to their loved ones. If you or someone you love has just been diagnosed with dementia, you may feel shocked, scared, overwhelmed, even numb. You may find it difficult to take everything in. Such a diagnosis will take time to process.
In addition to talking to your (or your loved one’s) primary care physician and a neurologist, you may also find it helpful to talk to a counselor, as well as to family and friends for support. As difficult as it may be, the feeling of hopelessness about your illness will likely rise and fall over time, and the most helpful thing you can do is to make the important decision of moving on and planning for your future. When you feel ready, develop an action plan for the future while you're still able to make decisions for yourself. We are here to help you navigate this journey, for yourself or your loved one.
Learn more about immediate care needs here.
What are ADLs – Activities of Daily Living?
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are personal tasks and functions — fundamental things that people must do daily in order to take care of themselves. ADLs are used to assess whether seniors can or should continue living on their own or if some assistance might be needed. In addition to painting a picture of a person’s ability to live independently, ADLs may sometimes be assessed by insurance companies to verify needs before agreeing to pay for additional care or a nursing facility. There are 6 ADLs:
- Bathing: Bathes completely by oneself or needs help cleaning only a single part of the body (ex. an injured extremity).
- Dressing: Retrieves appropriate clothes from dresser or closet and puts them and outer garments on (e.g., sweaters or jackets) using fasteners (such as buttons).
- Toileting: Goes to the bathroom without help, including getting on and off the toilet, taking off and putting on clothes, and cleaning oneself.
- Transferring: Gets in and out of a chair or bed without assistance, except for perhaps a mechanical transferring aid.
- Continence: Has complete control over urination and defecation.
- Feeding: Transfers food from a plate into the mouth without assistance, though the food may be prepared by another person.
While not a perfect assessment tool, ADLs can be very useful in determining whether someone is safe or able to live independently and should be checked periodically for seniors living alone, especially if there is any cognitive or memory disorder or other illness that might affect the person’s ability to manage alone at home. If you are concerned about your loved one’s ability to live alone, or their safety, we can help and offer a free 15-minute telephone assessment
What is “Concierge Connection Care” as compared to home companion care or agency caregivers?
Companion care/home caregivers are typically provided through a home care agency. They can provide emotional support and socialization and may also assist clients with tasks such as meal preparation, transportation to appointments, keeping the home tidy, doing laundry, running errands, making the bed, and giving medication reminders. Agency caregivers also offer companionship, helping to reduce isolation, taking your loved one on walks, reading to them, and helping them engage with their environment and interests. View more on the differences between companion care and concierge connection care.
Companion care certainly plays an important role in home care, or as supplemental care for a loved one living in a senior community. We have several wonderful home care agencies we use when coordinating care for our clients. However, many clients benefit tremendously from a higher level of cognitive engagement, specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia care, meaningful pursuits, and non-pharmaceutical therapeutic strategies. That’s when it may be extremely beneficial to utilize our Concierge Connection Care (CCC).
Our CCC specialists are Certified Dementia Practitioners with extensive expertise and experience in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, cognitive stimulation, therapeutic interventions, and real-life purposeful activities. And since different kinds of dementia and neuro-cognitive disorders can vary in their symptoms, progression, treatment, and approach to care, we believe that providing specialized dementia care, therapeutic strategies, and enhanced connection will make a world of difference to our clients and their families.
Our CCC professionals are educated, compassionate, articulate, highly trained, highly skilled, and focus on the dignity of each and every person. We emphasize an individualized and positive, relationship-centered approach. We start with a holistic assessment of each client, their life story, their interests then and now, and tap into what we can learn about our clients to develop a care plan that will provide the greatest cognitive engagement, purpose, and quality of life. Learn more about our Concierge Connection Care services.
What is “aging in place”?
“Aging in place” is when a person remains in their residence of choice and ages there, for as long as they are able to, with the familiarity and comforts that are important to them. It may be the home in which they’ve resided for decades or a down-sized home they have recently moved to. The idea is that the individual can continue to live at home — whatever that home is — and receive the care, services, or needed support while continuing to maintain a well-rounded life.
Ideally, aging in place should seek not to merely maintain the person’s current quality of life, but also to make it better. Financial plans can be put in place well in advance of one’s “golden years” in order to be able to live out one’s life as comfortably as possible. We can help you or your loved one develop a plan to age in place, bringing together the information and resources you need to support your goals.
What is MOLST?
MOLST, or Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, is a portable and enduring medical order form covering options for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other life-sustaining treatments. The medical orders are based on a patient’s wishes about medical treatments, but the program is also designed to improve the quality of care seriously ill people receive at the end of life. MOLST is based on the patient’s current health status, prognosis, and goals for care. The discussion emphasizes shared medical decision-making that helps the patient understand what can and cannot be accomplished. Requirements are state-specific.
In the state of Maryland, the MOLST order form:
- Consolidates important information into orders that are valid across the continuum of care
- Standardizes definitions
- Reminds patients and clinicians of available treatment options
- Increases the likelihood that a patient’s wishes regarding life-sustaining treatments are honored throughout the health care system.
The order form may be signed by a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Every time a form is completed, a copy must be given to the patient or authorized decision maker within 48 hours, or sooner if the patient is discharged or transferred. The MOLST form is valid across the continuum of care, and is to be honored by physicians, nurses, and other health care providers, as well as EMS clinicians. Individuals must have a current MOLST order for admission to an assisted living or skilled nursing facility.
In the absence of a valid MOLST form or DNR (Do Not Resuscitate order), patients calling for ambulance service who are unable to communicate their health care wishes will receive restorative interventions under the statewide Maryland Medical Protocols for EMS Clinicians.
View more information on medical orders for life-sustaining treatment.
What are the fees for Stanton Aging Solutions services?
We offer a free 15-minute telephone consultation and can provide an initial assessment to determine not only what may be needed, but also what is desired or preferred by the client/family. At that time, we will provide our estimated fees based on our flat-fee structure. We believe in transparency and communication. Our billing is clear, understandable and fair, and our services are affordable.
Learn more about working with Stanton Aging Solutions.