What is a Care Planner?
A care planner is a health and human services specialist who helps families and caregivers navigate the web of available services. A care plannerr is trained and experienced in any of several fields related to care management, including, but not limited to nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care.
A care planner assists older adults and persons with disabilities in attaining their maximum functional potential. In addition, a care planner is an experienced guide and resource for families of older adults and others with chronic needs, including helping those suffering from Parkinsons or exhibiting symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.
Do I Really Need a Professional Care Planner?
When you are considering whether you need the services of a Care Planner, you should evaluate whether you have the time, inclination, or skills to manage the challenges of geriatric care by yourself. If you are not sure, ask a trusted advisor to help you decide if an elder care expert may be helpful. Enlisting the support of other family members to consult a professional is a good way to build a consensus on the solutions.
Questions that you may wish to consider:
Are the problems that you or your loved ones are facing becoming larger and more complex than you can comfortably manage?
Are other demands and responsibilities now so great that you are not able to provide the desired level of supervision and attention to your loved one’s problems?
What are the Benefits of Using a Care Planner?
Professional care planning services are offered in a variety of settings. Careplanners can serve the needs of their clients by providing:
Personalized and compassionate service — focusing on the individual’s wants and needs.
Accessibility — care is typically available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Continuity of care – communications are coordinated between family members, doctors and other professionals, and service providers.
Cost containment — inappropriate placements, duplication of services, and unnecessary hospitalizations are avoided.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS)?
The Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation was developed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelors™ Council, in collaboration with the AARP, NAHB Research Center and NAHB Seniors Housing Council.
A CAPS certified professional has been trained on the unique needs of seniors, modifying homes so someone can live there longer as they age and addressing the most common barriers in a home.
Through the use of universal design principles, CAPS professionals will work with you to create a safe, comfortable and more independent life in your home; both now and for the future. But, it doesn’t stop with addressing design. CAPS professionals are trained in common remodeling projects and costs, accessibility issues, product recommendations, codes and standards, and the process and resources needed to provide a complete aging in place solution.
When you use the services of a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, you can rest assured that this person has been reliably instructed on how to craft solutions that meet the needs of seniors.
What is Aging in Place?
Aging in place is a term used to describe living in the residence of your choice as you age, while being able to have any services (or other support) you might need over time as your needs change, for as long as you are able. To be clear, though, aging in place is one phase of a person’s life. It is not the answer to anything. Rather, one period of time that a person can enjoy and still get the things that they require.
Why is Aging in Place Important?
Currently, the majority of people aged 65 and older are living either with a spouse or alone in their own home. Many of these elderly people struggle with everyday tasks, their health care and the lives they lead in their homes. For many, their quality of life goes down as they get older.
As of 2000, there were approximately 35 million Americans over the age of 65. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030 there will be approximately 71.5 million Americans over the age of 65. That number is more than twice what it was in 2000 and represents nearly 20% of the entire projected U.S. population in 2030.
The challenge this number of older Americans will bring to the country is unprecedented. Given the facts surrounding the current economic problems, a failing health care system and the lack of local support systems needed to support older people, this is a serious predicament for our country. But, more importantly, it is a very big problem for millions of Americans who are aging in place (or wish to).
What does Aging in Place mean to my family?
Issues that families will continue to have to deal with include home remodeling (accessibility, universal design), support issues (finding more time for themselves, balancing work and family responsibilities of caregiving, and managing emotional and physical stress), answers to common problems (home remodeling ideas, long-distance caregiving for those caring for aging parents, lack of a support system), independent living, education and more. All of these issues will need to be dealt with in a way that empowers those aging in place and their caregivers, so people can make informed decisions about their lives and care.
What does Aging in Place mean to me?
A Safer, More Comfortable Home - As we age, our bodies experience natural changes that can dramatically influence the safety and comfort of our own home. Often these changes occur gradually, almost undetectably, until suddenly there is a fall or a deterioration of independence. Eventually, each of us will experience these developmental changes to one degree or another. And although the medical and cosmetic world have tried for years, there is very little we can do to prevent these changes from occurring. Home modifications can help to counterbalance these physical changes allowing you to remain in your home in comfort and with confidence..
Improved Mobility - Modifying your home can improve mobility. Such small changes as providing wider doorways, low-lip entries, removing clutter and removing/securing throw rugs can instantly improve mobility, as well as safety. These changes are positive for people of all abilities, not just those looking to age in place.
Improved Lighting - Adding additional lighting can have significant impact on your environment. The addition of more lighting allows you to better focus on tasks and allows you to see better in order to maneuver throughout your home.
Improved Stability - Installation of the proper equipment can help your stability and improve your ability to age in place. Adding grab bars, shower chairs, raised toilets and other items that help people maintain stability can help to prevent falls and greatly increase the safety of your home.
Increasing Appeal - The number of baby boomers 55 and over is increasing at a staggering rate. As this trend continues, the demand will increase for homes that are already suitable to age in place. Baby Boomers are going to modify their current home or purchase a home where they can age in place. Having a home that is properly modified will increase the number of potential buyers and separate you from competing houses that have not been modified.
Decreased Move-In Cost for Future Buyers - A home that already has been modified will reduce the to-do list that a potential buyer has to address in order to move in. Since Universal Design positively impacts the lives of people with all abilities, having a modified home is positive for all potential buyers.
Updated Appearance - Modifying your home provides an updated appearance and helps increase the resale value. While you are working on your age in place modifications, think about current trends in the market. Current trends may dictate your choices that will help update the appearance, while maintaining improved functionality of the space.
Properly modifying your home can greatly increase its livability as well as improve your ability to sell in the future.
When should I consider incorporating Aging in Place upgrades into my home or the home of a loved one?
When someone in your family is experiencing some type of physical limitations, temporary or permanent
When your parents are starting to have some difficulties living in their own home, but don’t want to move into an assisted living facility
ANYTIME you’re preparing to start a new remodeling project around your home
Some upgrades you may not want to include in your remodeling project right now, but by planning ahead for future upgrades you can save yourself a lot of time and money, for example: let’s say you’re in your mid-forties and getting ready to remodel your master bathroom; you may not want to install grab bars in your new tiled shower right now, but while the walls are opened up, go ahead and take a few minutes and install some 2x10 blocking between the wall studs, this way when you want or need to install a couple grab bars in the future, you don’t have to worry about where the studs are located or having to use specialized fasteners…just drill your holes where you know the blocking is located and screw them in place!