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Creating your network

Medical emergencies

Judy fell and broke her hip. She calls 911. She lacks a medication list. As a result, the hospital team is unaware of her chronic conditions. Her daughter lives far away and wonders if she should fly in.

Accidents by their very nature are unplanned. That doesn’t mean you need to be unprepared for a fall or a serious incident (e.g., a heart attack or stroke).

Those who are prepared and have a professional advocate, such as an Aging Life Care™ Manager, are more likely to get the care and the outcomes they desire. Plus, they can recuperate in a setting most in line with their personal needs and preferences.

To be prepared, you need

  • current documents. Key to avoiding problems is the ability to give emergency and hospital personnel a list of current medications, your medical history, and an up-to-date list of your doctors and their phone numbers. Copies of all your insurance cards will speed the clerical side of the process. You will also need an advance directive that names your health care decision maker(s) and your preferred treatments.
  • up-to-date decision makers. Does the person you have chosen know and understand your treatment preferences? Does the rest of the family know and respect that he or she “speaks for you”? Does your decision maker have a medical background? Is he or she nearby enough or able to drop everything and come to your side?
  • a professional advocate. Often family or trusted friends cannot be present at a moment’s notice. And most people are not conversant with medical procedures. A professional advocate, such as an Aging Life Care Manager, has met with you prior to the emergency. He or she can fill in the medical team and communicate your personal priorities. An Aging Life Care Manager can advise decision makers by providing insight about treatment choices: Pros and cons and likely outcomes vis-à-vis your values. An Aging Life Care Manager can keep long-distance relatives informed and make recommendations regarding the need to travel. When it’s time to leave the hospital, an Aging Life Care Manager can recommend the best support facilities on the basis of your resources and personal preferences. As you plan ahead for emergencies, you will want to make decisions about hiring a professional advocate. Some Aging Life Care Managers offer the option of 24/7 emergency, on-call coverage. Others do not.

Want help getting prepared for a medical emergency?
Give us a call: 301-593-5285.

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Assembling your support team

Much as we would like to imagine an elderhood free from troubles, the truth is, we are all likely to need help eventually. And on several levels.

Informal support. This is the kind of help that friends and family members can provide short term. Someone to run errands or mow the lawn, etc. Make a list of the

  • people you feel emotionally close to
  • people who live close by who are reliable

When the going gets tough. If you were hospitalized, who would you call to

  • make medical decisions for you if you were unable to speak for yourself
  • pay bills or perhaps even manage your financial affairs long term

Your health care team. Medically trained support:

  • Your primary care provider and any specialists
  • Your pharmacist
  • Allied health providers (e.g., therapists, home health)

Professional advisors

  • An elder law attorney for important documents. You will need an attorney to set up a trust or will for dispersing your assets after you are gone. Or, if you have no relatives, to arrange for a guardian to make medical and financial decisions for you when you can no longer do so yourself. In addition, an attorney can review contracts and catch important details about senior housing. And an attorney’s advice is critical if you are considering a reverse mortgage or spending down your assets to be eligible for Medicaid.
  • A financial planner to manage assets and strategize to liquidate them to pay for care.
  • A CPA to highlight the tax implications in any of the above situations.
  • An insurance broker for prescription, Medicare supplemental, life insurance, etc.

An Aging Life Care™ Manager. The choices are boggling when it comes to assembling your team. It’s difficult to assess quality of professionals or compare pricing. An Aging Life Care Manager is a “meta-advisor” whose experience can help you choose your team wisely and coordinate whom to call when.

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What is an Aging Life Care™ Manager?

Imagine your life as a movie. If you are the director, an Aging Life Care Manager serves as your production manager. He or she is a deeply knowledgeable guide (usually a nurse, social worker, or allied professional) who finds you high-quality help, arranges locations, and advises concerning needed services.

Aging Life Care Managers are part of a national organization with training requirements, codes of ethics, and a network of colleagues in case you need to move.

An Aging Life Care Manager draws upon many areas of expertise:

  • Advocacy. Communicating with doctors and navigating the very confusing eldercare network to get you the care you want.
  • Health and disability. Conducting an assessment and making recommendations so you and your family members can rest assured that a plan is in place if you need extra help.
  • Local resources. Recommending area service providers. Anyone can Google. But an Aging Life Care Manager intimately knows quality and reputation and can match best services for your budget and priorities.
  • Family. Helping relatives understand their role and work together to support your wishes.
  • Housing. Providing independent recommendations for the best fit based on your needs, priorities, and resources. No kickback referral fees to limit your choices.
  • Legal. Assembling needed paperwork and referring you to reputable attorneys as needed so you are well covered by a professional team.
  • Finances. Reviewing your options to identify eligibility for programs and ways to stretch your dollar wisely.
  • Crisis support. Helping you create a safety net you can depend on in emergencies.

To learn more, call us at 301-593-5285

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