Name change illustrates refocusing on aging care priorities

May is filled with national observances to bring awareness to health and wellness topics, including American Stroke Awareness Month, Arthritis Awareness Month, Mental Health Month, National High Blood Pressure Education Month, Older Americans Month, National Mediterranean Diet Month and more.

May is also National Aging Life Care Month. The Aging Life Care Association, formerly known as The National Association of Geriatric Care Managers, is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for clients across the life span that are facing health or life changes or challenges.


The name change was necessary for many reasons. Aging affects everyone and is more representative and inclusive of the various age ranges with which an aging life care professional works. The term "geriatric" did not give an accurate representation of the population in which an Aging Life Care professional serves. The age range is far more inclusive than just the "geriatric" population. Additionally, we baby boomers do not seem to be embracing the terms geriatric or elderly very well and are finding more creative terms to refer to ourselves. No one relates well to terms that seem to stereotype and limit.

With the population of baby boomers busting at the seams, everyone seems to be trying to get into the action of offering services for "seniors" (another not-so-catchy title). Many of those offering various services have given themselves all kinds of titles and letters after their names, often promising that they are "experts" when they have little experience within the realms of health care, aging, dementia, financial implications, and the services, resources and references needed to navigate the maze of health care and aging. Claims of "free" services are often misrepresented and confusing to the public.

Aging Life Care professionals have a Standard of Practice and a Code of Ethics to which they conform. They must have a professional affiliation, which qualifies them to earn a higher certification before becoming eligible to become a member of the association. Many are social workers, nurses or professionals who have vast experience with navigating the world of aging and the resources and assistance often needed when challenges of a health crisis or aging issues arise.

An Aging Life Care professional advocates for their clients and families and provides guidance to ensure an increased quality of life, dignity, safety, and well-being while preserving as much independence as possible in the least-restrictive environment as possible. It is a tall order in the current health care climate in which fragmentation of the health care system seems to be at an all-time high and resources are at an all-time low.

Putting the pieces together and coordinating services, communication, understanding of resources, and making the connection between the financial and legal implications is what an Aging Life Care professional does. The expertise of the professional is like the hub of the wheel connecting the eight core knowledge areas of health, financial, housing, family, local resources, legal, advocacy and crisis intervention.

The challenges facing those aging, disabled, experiencing mental health issues, increasing medical complexities, or living with dementia and the uncertainty and stress associated with any of these issues can be overwhelming. Aging Life Care professionals guide and support their clients and families to give them peace of mind in a time of uncertainty. Direction and guidance can increase clarity of the situation and lead to higher life satisfaction.

With the increase in challenges associated with our health care system, rising health care costs and the prevalence of dementia and age-related disease processes, Aging Life Care professionals are becoming a more-recognized partner in care. The new branding will hopefully bring greater awareness to the profession and reach more of those in crisis or in need of planning so that they do not have to travel the path of uncertainty alone.

To find an Aging Life Care professional, visit www.aginglifecare.org and click on "Find an aging life care expert."

Jill Rosner is a registered nurse, certified geriatric care manager and owner of Rosner Healthcare Navigation. She provides patient advocacy and care management services to clients with health and aging issues. Contact her at JillRosnerRN@aol.com.