“I am making decisions about my mom’s needs and I’m looking to hire either a homecare company or a Geriatric Care Manager (now Aging Life Care Manager) – which should I hire?” – Bill from Gainesville

Thank you so much for your question.

The answer to this is simple – you may very well need both.

In making your decision, it is most important to clarify the role and purpose of each service.

Homecare services (sometimes referred to as “sitters”) are a type of service that is privately hired by the family to perform a set of tasks that are needed for those with disabilities and care-related needs. These services may include companionship, general observation, assistance with activities of daily living, running errands, light housekeeping, light meal preparation, etc. These services are typically provided by a Certified Nursing Assistant. This person has received 80 hours of approved CNA training and have passed a state based exam prior to becoming a CNA. Some homecare agencies also offer skilled care provided by nurses for higher-level services such as wound care, care for tube feedings or IV’s, etc. Services are provided from 4 hours (typical minimal block of care) to 24 hours per day as is needed by the client and family. Upon admission and periodically, your loved one will be assessed by a nurse to ensure that the level of care being provided to your loved one is most appropriate.

Aging Life Care™ Managers are certified professionals who are also hired privately by families. The typical services of Aging Life Care™ Managers begin with a comprehensive assessment (SeniorCare Options refers to ours as a Comprehensive Needs Analysis) to look at the global needs of your loved one. Certified ALCMs hold professional degrees and have extended experience and exposure within the field of aging services – such as Master Level Social Workers, Registered Nurses, Licensed Professional Counselors, etc. They follow a strict code of ethics set by the national Aging Life Care Association™ and hold liability insurance. The goal of services is to best organize the current baseline of your loved one’s medical, psychoemotional, legal, financial, and safety needs – and to create a “hub” of information from which to provide clinical guidance, professional oversight, objective advocacy, crisis avoidance and management, coordination to and with other care providers (which may include homecare services above), review of medical record and discussions with current medical providers, etc. Care Management is traditionally a long-term relationship with the client and family as a support throughout the lifespan.

As described, the services are very different and it will be your family’s decision on how to best utilize either or both to ensure the best quality of life and care for your loved one.

Wishing the best to you and yours!   Lisa

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