Helene Bergman Blog, Elder Care Alternatives, New York, NY | Alliance ECA

Geriatric Care Management is now Aging Life Care™

alc-logoAging Life Care™ Professionals (formerly known as Geriatric Care Managers) assist older adults and their families to find solutions for the challenges of aging.  We are specialized health and human service professionals advocating for and directing the care of older adults and others facing ongoing health challenges.  Working with families, our expertise provides the answers at a time of uncertainty. Our guidance leads families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducing worry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers.

The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) has gone through a rebranding process, and as of May 1, 2015, they are now known as the Aging Life Care Association™ (ALCA). Why the change? Here are the reasons:

  • To better reflect the broad spectrum of services and expertise we provide
  • To distinguish our practices from others performing similar or some of the same functions
  • To distinguish our members through their education, experience, and certification
  • To highlight the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice which our members follow
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Caregivers Beware: “Money Woes Can Be Early Clue to Alzheimers”

Money Woes Can Be Early Clue to Alzheimer’s

NYT Article: Sunday, October 31, 2010

When is the time right for an adult child to get involved in a parent’s finances? When should an accountant or a financial advisor call a close relative of a client whose judgment and decision making have changed? Is missing three months rent or mortgage payment adequate evidence to a family member of an elder’s memory impairment? Or should an adult child or niece/nephew resist involvement until a letter from the IRS informs the forgetful older adult of a huge penalty added to unpaid taxes?

A client of mine was hospitalized recently following a fall. He had memory problems for the past five years following a previous fall but valued his autonomy so adamantly that he insisted on managing his finances.  He paid his bills when he received them and his accountant did his taxes. Yet, sometime two years ago, his long term care policy lapsed and noone knew. When it was brought to his attention, he didn’t even remember having such a policy! His previous payments for premiums for five years went to naught. Now he has to pay privately for 12hour a day home health aides and hope his resources will cover future care.

A 63 year old female client began showing odd behaviors years ago like arriving late for family events, not dressing as immaculately as she always had and walking in a strange manner. Until she got fired from her job, her family kept arm’s distance despite finding her apartment cluttered and unkempt. When they finally got involved, they learned that the client had not paid taxes for 10 years and had been giving hundreds of thousands away in a scam!

An elder with moderate stage dementia maintained control over her credit card despite advice to her family to put a cap on the charge amount. One day, she insisted her caregiver drive her to Tiffany’s where she charged over $20,000 worth of jewelry. Her family tried to reason with her to return this despite the fact she no longer retained the ability to reason. They were unable to return the jewelry and still were reluctant to remove her charge card from her wallet even though she mixed it up with her insurance card.

A client with advanced macular degeneration (and mild dementia) but severe pride kept his out of town daughter away from his finances. Every day he would walk one block to the ATM using the building walls as support and withdraw $200 or $300 with the help of a “very friendly man” man he met in the street. The daughter began to observe his assets progressively decreasing but he denied reality. After three months, she assumed responsibility but not before $20,000 was gone.

A very lively and verbal gentleman came to be reassessed when I was a research associate at NYU Alzheimer’s Research Center. He had a moderate stage Alzheimer’s and during the meeting, he would get up, go to the phone, take a paper out of his pocket and call his broker. He would ask for an update and make recommendations to sell. I asked his spouse about this and she reported that although she explained to the stockbroker, he insisted on listening to him and their assets were dwindling away. Her children advised her to take control but she “couldn’t take that role away from him.”

In western society, and moreover in the world at large, control over ones monies is equated with control over one’s life. Older adults hold tightly on to this control and often become unaware (or deny) when they can no longer manage their finances adequately. Family members (or concerned friends) are challenged with identifying the ‘right time’ to jump in and assume responsibility. Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut rule to follow but there are red flags to alert an adult child or a significant other that the older adult has become more vulnerable and needs some level of protection. Now is the time to prepare a financial Advance Directive (Durable Power of Attorney) to prepare you for that time.

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Welcome to Elder Care Alternatives

Welcome to our new web site. Please check this area regularly for new posts. Also be sure to visit the portfolio section to see some examples of what we do.

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