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The Aging Life Care Association® offering free info sessions for National Aging Life Care™ Month

Aging Life Care Managers® offer a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults, dependent adults, and others facing ongoing health challenges. Sometimes called geriatric care managers, Aging Life Care Managers are strategic planners with key knowledge in crisis intervention, housing, health and disability, advocacy, family legal needs, and financial and local resources.

The Challenge

With Americans living longer than ever before, many are overwhelmed by the aging journey. “Often, family caregivers feel the brunt of stress in having to take extra time off work or away from their own children,” says Anne Sansevero, President of ALCA. “Many do so enthusiastically, but without knowing the ins and outs of what their loved one needs or how to advocate for them, they become overwhelmed.”

These pressures, along with escalating costs of long-term or specialized care and the COVID-19 pandemic have increased demands on multi-generational family caregivers. There are also an increasing number of people opting to “age solo” (who never had children) or parents who live far from their children or next of kin. Our members provide options for people who need additional, objective support and guidance.

By working with an Aging Life Care Manager®, people can return to familial relationships in their elderhood. An adult child can remain the adult child, not the care coordinator or evaluator.

Free Info Sessions: Ask an Aging Life Care Manager

In May 2023, ALCA is piloting a new means of support for family caregivers or anyone expecting to be a “solo ager.” Every Friday in May, ALCA is hosting free, thirty-minute sessions where attendees can ask experts questions about aging and planning for care. Attendees must register for the events as space is very limited to allow for more personal attention. To learn more and register, visit (and look under the “Events” tab).

The hope is that these sessions help people see that Aging Life Care™ is more accessible than they realized. ALCA CEO Julie Wagner hopes these “Ask an Aging Life Care Manager” conversations will increase awareness of the Aging Life Care™ field, “Families and caregivers are facing more pressure and challenges. We want people to know that help is available.”

There will be two sessions every Friday, where attendees can speak directly with an Aging Life Care Manager® and get guidance for their situation. The sessions are free, in recognition of Aging Life Care™ Month.

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by Melissa L. Johnson, RN, BSN, MHA, CHPN, CCM – Aging Life Care Association® Member

Palliative care and hospice care are both specialized healthcare models that focus on palliation, or relief of symptoms, associated with serious, debilitating illnesses. Such symptoms may include pain, difficulty breathing, nausea, or the need for additional emotional support. Palliative care and hospice care focus on improving the patient’s quality of life.

Palliative care is a component of hospice care, but hospice care is not always part of palliative care. In other words, hospice care comprises of palliative care to treat symptoms while palliative care stands alone as a care model. Hospice and palliative care were once thought of as just the elderly, however about 20% of U.S. hopsical patients are under the age of 65 (American Hospice Foundation).


Palliative Care

Palliative care, while focusing on symptom management, also allows for aggressive treatment. For example, an individual with cancer may choose palliative care for relief of pain and nausea, as well as undergo chemotherapy and radiation. With palliative care, an individual has access to resources throughout the process and can make informed decisions about their care. This synergetic relationship between symptom management and aggressive treatment often yields better results than aggressive treatment alone. If aggressive treatment is no longer feasible or desired, the individual may opt for hospice care.


Hospice Care

Hospice is a model of care that focuses on the end-of-life when aggressive treatments are no longer indicated or desired. It focuses on palliation of symptoms to allow terminally ill individuals to fully live the rest of their life to the greatest extent possible. Hospice goes beyond a medical model, considering all aspects of the end-of-life experience: physical, emotional, psychosocial, and spiritual. A team of specially trained professionals collaborate with the patient and their family to address end-of-life issues and goals for care.


Does Hospice Speed Up the Dying Process?

It is a mistake to call hospice “giving up.” Research indicates that people receiving hospice care may live longer than those who do not receive it. A study published by the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (March 2007) found that Medicare beneficiaries with either congestive heart failure or certain cancers lived 29 days longer on average than those who did not receive hospice services (NHPCO 2010). Another common misconception about hospice care is that terminally ill individuals are given medications, such as morphine, that hasten death. While medications like morphine are initiated, the dosage prescribed is at the lowest quantity needed to provide comfort. “Start low and go slow” is the motto hospices operate by when prescribing medications.


The Death Experience and Hospice Care

Death can be a beautiful and peaceful experience. I have many special memories of my time as a hospice nurse, but there is one that stands out: I was called to a patient’s house on Christmas night. It was pitch dark and I was in the middle of nowhere. There were many people standing outside the home as I approached. I walked into a small home with about 50 people inside – I was barely able to get to the patient! The patient was an elderly gentleman who was nearing the end. I talked to his wife about what had occurred that led to the call. As she explained the decline, family members argued in the background. Some thought the patient needed to go to the hospital while others stated that nothing more that could be done, and it was his wish to be comfortable.

I did my assessment and told the family that the patient was probably minutes from death. I am not sure what came over the family, but they all surrounded the patient’s bed and started to sing, “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”  The patient’s breathing became shallow and slow. As they sang the last line, “which nobody can deny,” the patient took a long, deep breath, let it out, and left this earth.

Immediately after, various wind chimes sounded. The wife stated, “He always loved wind chimes.” A death that I initially thought would be fraught became one of the most beautiful deaths I can recall. The family forever has that memory of their loved one’s death; one that was peaceful, calm, and brought them together.


Aging Life Care™ and End-of-Life Care

When facing a serious illness, Aging Life Care Managers® can help and support patients and their families throughout the journey.  An Aging Life Care Manager provides assessment and monitoring, advocacy, education, resources, problem-solving, and support while you make difficult decisions. An Aging Life Care Manager is also a resource to the family, providing information, explanations, support, and communication. To find a professional in your area, visit


About the author: Melissa Johnson has been an Aging Life Care Manager in Phoenix, Arizona since 2012. Melissa specializes in Dementia care and Hospice and Palliative Care. Melissa is the author of Embracing Dementia: Real-Life Experiences of Providing Optimal Dementia Care. She invites you to connect with her by visiting her blog  or following Melissa on LinkedIn.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association® and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

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Helping Your Aging Loved One Manage Their Finances

As our senior loved ones age, we may start seeing physical and mental signs of decline. While some signs are not worrisome, others may be more concerning: anxiety, depression, forgetfulness, and mishandling money. These could indicate more serious issues and are risky behaviors. So here are four things you can do to help your aging loved one manage their finances.


Four Ways to Help Your Aging Loved One Manage Finances

by Andrea Needham, Guest Columnist


1. Stepping Up to Help With Daily Tasks

As they age, your loved one may start having difficulty remembering important things such as taking their medications and getting refills on time. If you notice your loved one is no longer able to keep track of due dates for their bills or forgets to pick up their mail and leaves letters unopened, it is time for a conversation. Ask them if you can take charge of their finances in order to avoid overdraft fees, missed due dates, and other potential problems.

If you live far away or if you cannot visit regularly, consider hiring an Aging Life Care Manager® to check on your loved one, assess their needs, and recommend on-going services. Share a calendar with their care team to let them know about appointments, and make a readily-accessible list of phone numbers that include doctors, pharmacies, banking institutions, and emergency numbers.


2. Finding a Suitable Rental

Another consideration is your loved one’s living arrangement. A popular option is finding a new, accessible, rental home or apartment, which means less maintenance than owning a home. When scouting rentals, look in neighborhoods with the amenities they need. View online listings to find properties in their price range to locate the perfect place.


3. Getting Power of Attorney

Ask your senior loved one if they’re willing to grant you power of attorney, which will allow you to make medical and/or financial decisions for them when they’re no longer able to do so. A power of attorney is a flexible document that lets your loved one (the principal) specify what decisions can be made on their behalf by another person (the agent). The principal can amend or make changes to that document at any time, provided they are of sound mind.

Once you fill out the required forms and have them notarized, print extra copies for your records and put them in a safe place. Being legally prepared before your loved one becomes ill or incapacitated will give both of you peace of mind – taking the guesswork out of what should happen and knowing that your loved one’s wishes will be respected in the event they’re no longer able to clearly communicate.


4. Closing or Selling Your Loved One’s Business

When your loved one owns a business but can no longer manage it, it is time to close or sell it. There are many steps involved in dissolving an LLC or corporation, so consult with an accountant or attorney in order to avoid penalties. You will have to gather all documents pertaining to the company such as articles of incorporation and operating agreement and be able to provide a potential buyer with several years of tax returns, profit and loss statements, and client/vendor contracts, etc.

Get a professional business valuation in order to properly and objectively determine its value. A good business broker will help you come up with a number by analyzing the company’s management, capital structure, future earnings, and market value of its assets, and will facilitate and streamline the selling process.

It can be a difficult conversation, but it is important. Take time to discuss your loved one’s financial situation. Together, come up with a plan that will keep them financially secure. You’ll have greater peace of mind knowing that everything is in order.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association® and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.