This heartbreaking article, ‘Invisible workforce’ of caregivers is wearing out as boomers age, is devastatingly accurate. I – and many of my clients – have had to make similar, difficult choices.
Many adults find it necessary to reduce their working hours and rearrange their lives in order to care for ill or aging loved ones. This is an incredible strain, emotionally, financially, physically, and mentally. There are no breaks or time off. To juggle work and other family obligations with caregiving can be overwhelming.
With that in mind, I wanted to take a moment to discuss the role of a Life Care Professional, and how you and your family may want to consider this person in your plans.
Every single situation described in the article above could have eased with the help of a Life Care Professional. In my personal and professional experience with aging and ill loved ones, I have yet to see a situation that would not benefit from bringing in a Life Care professional.
What is a Life Care Professional? Once known as Geriatric Care Managers, and then simply Care Managers, a Life Care Professional is often an RN who decided to work one-on-one with families, rather than in a hospital or corporate setting. Most importantly, they are advocates for the elder in need, and a resource of support for the elder’s family.
They are usually experienced or trained in: medical and/or psychological care; insurance; government benefits; programs and services that are available in the community; financial and housing options; legal issues; and much more.
A Life Care Professional will attend doctor’s appointments, review the myriad of drugs and therapies prescribed, ask the right questions, communicate with the family, and follow up appropriately. A Life Care Professional can construct an overall care plan, and also act as a problem solver and counselor within the family.
Even families that live geographically near an elder parent can benefit greatly by having a care manager on their team. Family members can be too close to a situation. It is priceless to have the experienced and rational voice of an informed, yet neutral, third party to help figure out the beloved elder’s actual abilities, and come up with a holistic plan that makes the most out of available efforts and resources.
Unfortunately, health insurance does not cover a Life Professional’s fees – though Long Term Care insurance policies likely will.
However, considering your own lost wages and sanity, combined with what these professionals may save you in terms of billing errors, hasty decisions, and services that may have been available at no cost, a good Life Care Professional may pay for themselves.
Please call us if you’d like to talk more about elder care planning in your estate plan.