Aging in Place Takes a Team

The daughter of Larry, an 88 year old man who was in rehab, called us.  His attorney had recommended they contact us.  We arranged a meeting at the rehab facility with Larry and some of his children from out of town and one from NYC.  Larry had already put a deposit down on an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) on the other side of town from his current apartment.  We carefully asked why he wanted to move and the reasons included too much clutter left behind by his deceased wife, wanting a social life, not wanting to be stuck with an aide he didn’t like.  He expected his friends would travel across town to visit him.

Our concern was that he would quickly need an aide at the ALF and might reach a point where he would need to move to a nursing home if he could not transfer out of a wheelchair on his own.  We doubted his friends would travel to visit him and he would not be in a position to visit them.  Nor were we convinced that the social life at an ALF would meet his expectations.  He was used to his books and his space and his way of cooking.  Instead, we suggested that we coordinate his kids in clearing out the things he did not want in the apartment, and that he hire a Geriatric Care Manager to assess the risk factors in the apartment and to help him interview and hire aides to his liking.   He is thrilled that he made that decision.  The Geriatric Care Manager we recommended worked with Larry and did a fabulous job helping him find the right aides.

Larry was not getting the kind of coordinated medical care he needed, so while he was still in the rehab facility, we helped him find a Geriatrician who is keeping tabs on the specialists he sees and the medications they prescribe.

From the financial side, we computerized his records, worked with his accountant on tax preparations, corrected errors by the IRS & NYS Income Tax, hired a payroll accountant for his aides, and arranged a meeting of Larry with his attorney and financial advisor to discuss the implications of his new financial obligations now that he had around-the-clock aides.

With the help of 24-hour home health aides he has continued to do what he likes to do and has been able to see his long-time friends more often.  He is working with a physical therapist, going out to dinner and to the theater, and a year and a half later, we helped organize his 90th birthday party.

The key to Larry’s successful return to his home was coordination of his medical, financial and home environment issues.  With a team in place to support him, Larry is continuing to live a fulfilling life at home.

A Team for Seniors – Resources
(use this as a checklist in working with the seniors in your life)

Daily Money Manager - American Association of Daily Money Managers -www.aadmm.com OR Financial Organizer - National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) - www.napo.net  - can help with bill paying, paper management, and act as a liaison with other professional advisors.

Elder Law Attorney - National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. (NAELA) - www.naela.org – will help with long term care planning and implementation as well as preparation of critical documents.

Trusts & Estates Attorney - estate planning and critical documents.

Financial Advisor - maybe for the first time if stock certificates and bonds are at home or safe deposit box.

Financial Planner - fee based for advice on investing.

Professional Organizer - National Association of Professional Organizers - www.napo.net - to help clear out residential clutter, downsize or move.

Handy Man - to help with small maintenance jobs around the house and coordinate larger projects.

Generational Coach - for help in talking to parents or assistance in building a strategy among siblings on how to work together with parents.

Geriatric Care Manager - National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) -www.caremanager.org - to assess living situation and help with hiring and/or supervision of aides.

Geriatrician - to coordinate health care.  Geriatricians are in short supply.  Outside of NYC, try www.doctorrelation.com/searchdocs/docshowstates.php?cat=119 

Home Health Aides - to help with living alone at home.  In making a decision about hiring a home health aide, a Geriatric Care Manager can provide guidance.

Accountant - for payroll for private pay home health aides.

Insurance Broker - for private pay home health aide workers coverage & for long term care insurance if a senior is eligible.

June 2008 - FEATURE
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