Pro-active steps for health, safety, independence and quality of life.
By Linda Ziac
May 23, 2017
The Caregiver Resource Center
According to the Center for Disease Control, “Aging in Place is the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
Successful aging extends beyond physical health, incorporating cognitive function, social support, and satisfying life experiences.
A 2000 AARP survey findings found; 92% of people age 65 to 74, and 95% of people 75 and older, associated successful aging with aging in place.
A research study conducted by Clarity/EAR Foundation, “Aging in Place in America” found that 89% of Americans say that they want to age in place, while at the same time more than half of those seniors surveyed (53%), said they aren’t sure how to make this happen. The three main areas that seniors feel will challenge their ability to remain in their home include: health problems (53%), memory problems (26%), and mobility issues including their inability to drive (23%).
Source: Clarity/EAR Foundation strategic alliance August 2007
ONE THING WE CAN ALL BE SURE OF IS WE’RE AGING
While studies show that most seniors are healthy and function at high levels, it is inevitable that as we grow older, issues will surface related to our independence.
Meeting our current and evolving needs often requires a multi-disciplinary approach that encompasses many aspects of life such as healthcare, activities of daily living, transportation, finances, social, and emotional well being
To ensure the highest quality of life for the longest time possible, it is crucial that seniors, people with special needs and their loved ones begin a dialogue to discuss the topic of aging.
This process needs to focus on the person’s hopes and desires, short and long term goals, and their abilities and needs; while at the same time establishing a spectrum of resources that will address unexpected events as well as their evolving needs.
MAINTAINING INDEPENDENCE WHILE BEING PRO-ACTIVE
No one looks forward to an unexpected personal or medical situation that catches them off guard; which can be an overwhelming, complex, time consuming and often costly experience.
The time for a person to plan for their aging in place is now, while they are still healthy, active and able to make decisions on their own. Developing a comprehensive well thought out written action plan, can help prevent unexpected events from morphing into a crisis, which has the potential to negatively impact on the person’s health, safety, independence and quality of life.
KNOW YOUR OPTIONS
Currently, there are multiple options and each one has its own advantages and benefits.
In addition, there are a number of care options available for seniors who want to stay in their own home. If a person chooses to move out of their home, there are many different types of living arrangements and facilities.
The choices may seem overwhelming at first, but with a step by step approach, you can gather the necessary information leading you to what’s best for you and your family.
How do you evaluate these many options, and make the best possible decision?
EVALUATE YOUR NEEDS AND DESIRES
The first step in the decision making process is to decide what types and what level of care the person needs. This can be done by first arranging for a geriatric assessment by a trained professional.
Out of the following care options, what does the person most need and want?
- Freedom from house and yard maintenance
- Prepared meals
- Arranged activities
- A basic apartment
- Full-time medical and supervisory care
- Assistance with bathing and grooming
- Assistance getting around
- Assistance remembering and taking medications
If possible, discuss and put together a list of the person’s specific needs and desires. This list will help you and the care recipient get a fuller picture of what kind of care arrangements are needed.
RESEARCH YOUR OPTIONS
Now you are ready to research options and compare their features with your list of needs and desires.
Ask for recommendations from friends, speak with your doctor or other professional (e.g. certified case manager), or call your local Area Agency on Aging to get information about the different options in your area.
Most likely, you will find a variety of choices, and each one will offer distinctive features.
Keep in mind that depending on the specific situation, needed services may be provided in the home, day care program, assisted living facility, continuum of care facility or nursing home.
- If the senior would simply like a chance to socialize or you would like some respite time, it might be wise to consider local senior centers or elder day care options.
- If it is freedom from yard and house maintenance, qualified and screened people can be brought in to help, or a retirement community might be in order.
- If however, more help is needed; a caregiver, an assisted living facility or a nursing home may be an option.
You’ll need to match up what each service has to offer, with the needs and desires of the senior.
After focusing on the kind of services you’re looking for, you will be able to narrow down your options considerably.
After ordering brochures or collecting other information, schedule a visit with the service provider or facility. Accompany the senior for these meetings, and come prepared with a list of questions, as well as your wishes and needs.
If you are considering a facility, an on-site visit is usually the best way to get a feel for the day to day operations of a facility.
Also, try to stop by unannounced to get a feel for how the facility runs when they aren’t expecting a prospective resident or family to visit.
Keep in mind that many facilities will invite you to lunch or to recreational activities, as a way to get a better feel for the facility. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Source: Parlay International
THE ROLE OF A BOARD CERTIFIED CASE MANAGER
Certified Case Managers (CCM) are specialists who assist seniors, people with special needs and their families; in planning for and implementing ways to allow for the greatest degree of health, independence, safety and quality of life.
CCMs meet with the client and /or family members to assess their needs, develop a Care Team, and work with members of the Team to formulate a comprehensive Care Plan (a road map).
Once a plan is in place, CCMs are available to serve as the point person to monitor and coordinate services, and revise the plan as needed. The CCMs' role is similar to the conductor of an orchestra; ensuring that there is good communication, teamwork, and that everyone remains focused on the desired goals.
Case management is a collaborative process that consists of four steps:
2. Development of a Care Plan (based on the unique needs of the client)
3. Implementation & Monitoring of the Plan
4. Ongoing Evaluation of the Plan Effectiveness, and Plan Modification as Needed
A PERSONALIZED ACTION PLAN
The Caregiver Resource Center’s “Action Plan for Successful Aging” Program helps seniors and people with special needs take a proactive approach to addressing their current needs, while also planning and preparing for potential future challenges and crises.
Our successful aging strategies provide a wide range of services to meet the unique needs of the individual and their family. These strategies focus on health and mental health, case management and advocacy, home safety, transportation, and advance care planning to name a few.
Some Benefits of Our Services
• Well respected company serving the community since 1990
• All services are individually designed to meet the unique needs of the client and their family
• We are available 7 days a week by appointment, and 24/7 for emergencies
• Our services are provided onsite throughout the continuum of care (Home, doctor’s office, ER, hospital, short term rehab, assisted living, hospice, nursing home)
Photos from Microsoft
The information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
Please consult your health care provider for an appointment, before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.
Linda Ziac is the owner and founder of The Caregiver Resource Center. The Caregiver Resource Center is a division of Employee Assistance Professionals, Inc. which Linda founded in October 1990. The Caregiver Resource Center provides a spectrum of concierge case management and advocacy services for seniors, people with special needs and families.
Linda’s professional career spans more than 40 years in the health and mental health field as a CT Licensed Professional Counselor, CT Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Board Certified Employee Assistance Professional, Board Certified Case Manager, and Board Certified Dementia Practitioner. In addition, Ms. Ziac has 15 years of experience coordinating care for her own parents.
Linda assists seniors, people with special needs and their families; in planning for and implementing ways to allow for the greatest degree of health, safety, independence, and quality of life. Linda meets with individuals and family members to assess their needs, and develop a Care Team, while working with members of the Team to formulate a comprehensive Care Plan (a road map). Once a plan is in place, Linda is available to serve as the point person to monitor
and coordinate services, and revise the plan as needed. This role is similar to the conductor of an orchestra; ensuring that there is good communication, teamwork, and that everyone remains focused on the desired goal.