Grandfather and granddaughter smiling, talking and drinking tea

Care Management

Beginning to develop the relationship with the client/family helps our credentialed Aging Life Care Managers, experts in the field find solutions that meet what the client and their family are searching for.

Our goal when we meet with client/families is to understand:

  • What the wishes are.
  • What needs are emerging.
  • What the expectations are.

Credentialed Care Managers work to:

  • Understand the clients and their expectations.
  • Evaluate the client from health, emotional, memory, and physical perspective.
  • Identify client needs and develop a plan of care.
  • Assure the resources sought are appropriate and cost-effective.
  • Continue to be a resource to client/family with regular communication and access.
Features of Hiring a Care Manager

  • Develops a care plan specific to the needs and wishes of the older client & family.
  • Coordinates and monitors the implementation of needed recommendations.
  • Acts as a liaison between family members to assure good communication and understanding.
  • Provides knowledgeable resources and referrals so you can focus on other priorities.
  • Evaluates and recommends other housing options when living at home is no longer possible.
  • Provides advocacy and education of community resources available to an older family member.
  • Offers counseling support to help relieve caregiver stress and burnout.
  • Helps families adjust and cope with the challenges within the process of aging.

Benefits of Hiring a Care Manager

  • Peace of mind knowing that a credentialed aging specialist is on board to help with the right level of care.
  • Improved communication between older adult, family and all healthcare providers providing care and by having a CM available to accompany the individual to doctor’s appointments to ask questions, clarify health issues, and bring up changing conditions.
  • Saving financial resources by recommending low cost or free programs and community resources that the older adult may qualify for that families are not aware of such as benefits through the Veterans Administration, utility companies and Medi-Cal.
  • Understanding long-term care insurance coverage, deductible days, filing a claim, billing the company for benefits and paying for care.
  • Reduction of unnecessary expenditures by reviewing insurance policies, pension benefits, excessive expenditures or telemarketing solicitations.
  • Avoiding lost wages or lost time at work by having the CM do regular check-ins with the older adult with reports sent to designated family members.  This allows vacations to relax and not be wrapped up in a family crisis around the needs of your older family member.

Sample Scenarios

Cost-Savings After Hiring a Care Manager (CM) with Resulting Benefits:

  • An elder who had been in a terrible accident was hospitalized and in a coma and transferred to a rehabilitation hospital. She was transferred to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) near their only child. The CM was hired when the decision was made to transfer her for long term care near her husband. Upon admission to the SNF, the son signed a private pay agreement for care following her Medicare days. He was eventually presented with a bill for $15,000 and the promise of future bills. After the CM discovered there was an error in the billing, she urged the son not to pay the bill, which was clearly in error. Though receiving several threatening calls from the SNF, the CM was right and the family did not have to pay.
  • The CM helped families advocate for lost dentures and/or glasses in skilled nursing facilities by getting the Ombudsperson involved.
  • Helped family negotiate for CM services with the parent’s long term care insurance company.
  • Advocated for more in-home care services covered by the county Area Agency on Aging.
    • Identifying the Right Level of Care to Meet the Families Specific Needs–
      After being assessed by a CM, a spouse who had her husband in a nursing home plus 24-7 care was able to move her husband to a small residential RCFE owned by a nurse. It cut the costs to the family in half. His wife didn’t know he could be maintained at a lower level of care.
    • Identifying the Most Cost-Effective Solutions–
      CM’s help families choose the most cost-effective care plan (caregivers, agencies, care management). They recommend what services are needed to age in place, oftentimes less expensive, and provide these options to the family. The family can then choose based on need.
    • Educating Families about Little Known Benefits–
      One veteran’s family saved $1,600 per month. This was money being paid out-of-pocket for home care services by the elder client’s son.
  • CM’s often know about free services that are location specific. For instance, one neighborhood provides free transportation to seniors for shopping at the grocery store, pharmacy, etc. There is a hospital that provides a volunteer help/companion service and transportation to physician visits.
  • CM is an objective third party who can accurately assess what an elder person needs and what problems or challenges may not be readily apparent to the family. Additionally, having a geriatric care management program in place allows family members to enjoy their elderly loved one without guilt, shame, or feelings of powerlessness that may overwhelm them without help.

Family Meetings

What is a family meeting? Do I need this?

  • A meeting.
  • A consultation.
  • Explore what the client’s needs are.
  • A time to “put the cards on the table” – someone close to you needs help.
  • A place to start – learning what the person will accept and how much it will cost.

The family meeting gives you a starting point by talking to an Aging Life Care™ Manager who is an expert in these matters. Family meetings can take place at the Elder Options office with client/family participating or in the client’s home. Free teleconferencing is available for family members who want to participate but live out of the area.

Having a Care Manager facilitate the discussion helps to clarify the objectives, identify resources in place, allow all participants to have a voice and begin to design a personalized plan that addresses the concerns of both the client and their family.

Beginning with a family meeting before big decisions are made will save time, money and help make the right decision for all concerned.

Options for Housing

When the difficult decision has to be made regarding a more supportive living situation, families may wonder what is the best choice.  Utilizing a professional, credentialed Care Manager (experienced Social Workers, Gerontologists, Counselors & Nurses) who will complete a client assessment can help greatly.

The client/family will better understand the appropriate housing choices, level of care, licensing & costs. client wishes, and what is appropriate for at this stage of the individual’s life.  It’s important to decide on the right place the first time with the right decision!

What Are Our Options?

Independent Living: Independent living or retirement communities are for those who are generally 55+ and require no assistance with their activities of daily living. However there may be other services available should an urgent situation arise. Often times, independent living communities consist of small homes or apartments where an individual can attend community dining and events. Costs vary depending on rental or ownership of housing, services offered, AOA fees, etc. Medicare does not assist.

Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities are for individuals who require regular assistance with daily activities such as, bathing, dressing, and walking and meal preparation. They consist of private or shared rooms and common eating/activity areas. Assisted Living facilities are often a large complex with numerous rooms. Staff can assist with medications, lifting/transferring, supervision for memory deficits, etc.  Costs for Assisted Living depend on the level of assistance the resident requires. Medicare does not assist.**

Memory Care: Memory care is typically part of assisted living and is a designated part of the facility that focuses on memory impairment. In memory care, individuals often require a higher level of assistance with daily activities. They too consist of private or shared rooms and the unit is often locked due to the risk of wandering. Costs for Memory Care are based on Assisted Living rates + supplemental rates for a secure or locked unit. Medicare does not assist.

Care Home: Care homes or board & care facilities are also considered assisted living. However, are in small homes that are usually equipped for 6-10 individuals. These homes have both shared and private rooms and staff is present to assist with daily activities. Licensed the same as larger Assisted Living facilities, Care Home rates may be slightly less expensive than the large nationwide facilities. Medicare does not assist.**

Skilled Nursing: Skilled nursing facilities provide 24/7 medical care to their residents. Staff assists with daily activities to include, bathing, toileting, feeding, and nursing services. In these facilities medical professionals such as, doctors, nurses, and physical therapists are present to attend to the medical needs of the residents. Most individuals enter skilled nursing after a hospital stay and are eligible for Medicare reimbursement for a time.  Once the facility determines the client has reached a “plateau”, the client is billed at a private pay rate.  Long term placement in a nursing home may necessitate a Medi-Cal application.

NOTE:  Eligible Medi-Cal recipients in California may qualify for a federal waiver program (ALWP) that allows eligible individuals to live in an approved Assisted Living.

Referral Fees – Elder Options is not a Placement Agency.  There are Placement Agencies around the country that advertise their services as “Free” to the older adults/families.  However, through agreements with specific housing facilities these businesses do collect up to and over 100% of one month’s rent from the facility when they place your family member.  Placement agents are usually not healthcare professionals but sales people who assess the older adult.  They limit the facilities they show to clients/families and recommend to those that will pay their fees. If the move doesn’t go well, they are “happy” to come back and re-place the person in yet another agency they have an agreement with.  And…collect another fee.

Our Standards of Practice and professional ethics prohibit taking referral fees.

Once a decision has been made for the move, the Care Manager can assist with the transition, meet with the client in the new setting to help with the adjustment, and ongoing needs if the decision of the client/family.

Brochures for Download

Care Managers will travel!