Help with Aging Parents

When is it time to call a certified care manager?
The pride and perseverance that made the Greatest Generation great, may be a detriment to them as they age. Seniors, like the rest of society, desire to remain at home and independent for as long as possible. In many cases they fail to recognize or admit that they need help. Additionally, their children may not live close by or are overwhelmed with their parent(s), and do not know where to seek help. A good recommendation is to call a certified care manager.


What is a certified care manager?
Many times families are confused as to where to turn. It is very common that many individuals present themselves as care managers. That is why it is so important to use a certified care manager who is a member of Aging Life Care Association (ALCA) - they are educated and certified through ALCA and must meet professional standards (RN, MSW, SW) and experience qualifications. Senior Solutions has been a member of ALCA formally known as the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers for 26 years.

Patty Kender, a certified care manager at Senior Solutions, characterizes herself as “a surrogate daughter who connects all the pieces of the puzzle.” The puzzle includes the physical, emotional, social, and mental states of the person. “We do whatever they need to keep them safe and improve their quality of life,” explains Kender who has been with Senior Solutions, a local care management and home care company, for over fifteen years. This includes helping them arrange a safe living environment and respecting their ways of living.

When to call a certified care manager
Common signs that someone should not be living at home or needs help to remain at home include not changing clothes, not bathing, eating the same food everyday, a lack of food in the refrigerator or the presence of spoiled food, stacks of papers everywhere, unopened mail, an individual being too thin or too heavy, not taking medications, not going to their physician, and the individual insisting that ‘everything is fine’. Sometimes the senior has bruises that often indicate that they have recently fallen.

“We receive frantic calls all the time,” explains certified care manager Lori DeHaas of Senior Solutions. “A daughter who lives out of state, or an adult child who visits a loved one notices a problem and calls us. They do not know where to start or what to do. In response to an inquiry, Senior Solutions will send a certified care manager out to perform an assessment of the individual or have a consultation with the family in our office.

What happens at a certified care assessment?
“We review the medical history, current health issues, medications, cognition, social support system, and look at their activities of daily living including how they bathe, dress, prepare meals, pay bills, house keep, ambulate, and their transportation situation to get a full picture of them,” says Kender. After the assessment the certified care manager compiles recommendations and presents the assessment recommendations to the individual and their family in a custom Plan of Care.

What do certified care managers do on an on-going basis?
Ultimately, a care manager provides independence to their clients and peace of mind to families. This includes finding or ensuring a safe place to live and that their needs are being met on a regular basis. Certified care managers ensure this by visiting the senior in their home to make sure they are taking their medications, by attending doctors appointments with clients, by coordinating care and other services including home care, recreation and social activities. In addition they can assist clients in receiving community resources such as meals and VA benefits. Certified care managers also ensure that doctor’s orders are being followed and complete ongoing assessments and consistently communicate with family members.

Often the care managers become close friends and confidants to the seniors, but it is not always easy. “It’s all about relationships. You have to be patient, and in most cases more patient than what a family member would be,” explains DeHaas. “We become very close to our clients and their families.”

If you know of an aging loved one who could benefit from a certified care manager then contact Senior Solutions at 610-435-6677 or Senior Solutions has offices in Allentown and Easton, and provides service to the entire Lehigh Valley.

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