Life, Elder, and Geriatric Care Managers

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Our Elder Care Services

Whether an older adult needs home care services, in-home care assistance, referrals to geriatric health care providers and attorneys, assistance with relocation or placement in a nursing home or assisted living facility, or help with other age-related issues, Options For Elder Care can coordinate the full range of services, helping families make the best decisions and able to deal with anything from an immediate crisis to advance planning for the long-term care for a loved one. Below, please find some of the services we offer. You can also check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page. Feel free to read some testimonials about our elder care services from some of our clients as well.

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 Some Elder Care Services We Offer:

  Options For Elder Care Services

psychiatric assessment study of mental health care 

Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the client's health, psychological, social, and environmental needs in order to develop a plan of care

After an initial telephone consultation - offered free of charge - an assessment is typically necessary for care managers to understand the environment that the older adult is living in, their level of functioning and their current support network. The assessment involves interviewing the older adult and family members, gathering relevant medical records, developing an individualized action plan and discussing the options with the older adult and caregivers to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate a comprehensive care plan.

  • Assessment

    A geriatric assessment is a comprehensive evaluation designed to ascertain what is needed to optimize an older person's ability to enjoy good health, improve their overall quality of life, reduce the need for hospitalization and/or institutionalization, and enable them to live independently for as long as possible. The life care manager will gather relevant information by interviewing the older adult, family, friends, clergy, health care providers, and others in order to propose a comprehensive treatment plan, set realistic goals & objectives and seek appropriate alternatives for the older adult. This plan will take into consideration cultural milieu and value system of the client.
  • Planning

    A Care Plan is an outcome of a geriatric assessment, and is essentially an action plan for future care. A Care Plan lists all identified problems, suggests specific interventions or actions required and makes specific recommendations regarding resources needed to provide the necessary support services. We will engage the client and family in the planning process as the primary decision makers and goal setters along with the entire health care team.
  • Facilitation

    Options For Elder Care will always be available to facilitate, coordinate, communicate and collaborate on behalf of the client and family to achieve goals and maximize positive health care outcomes. This will include facilitation of such things as the delivery of medical services, home care assistance, health insurance and medicare benefits, nutritional and emotional support, hospice care if needed and help with any aspect of eldercare where the family needs professional information or advice.
  • Advocate

    Options For Elder Care will advocate understanding and respect for the beliefs, value system, and decisions of client.
  • Monitoring

    We will employ a process of ongoing assessment and will monitor the quality of care, services and products delivered to the client to determine if the goals of the plan of care are being achieved.
  • Evaluation

    Options For Elder Care will evaluate the entire care management process by assessing the client's response to the plan of care. The evaluation will engage the client, family, and other health care providers whenever possible to determine the impact and effectiveness of their services and other interventions and outcomes to determine whether or not the We will also evaluate the elder's hygiene, nutrition, medical status, and social interactions in order to determine whether or not the physical and psycho-social needs of the individual are being met and if any change in care is necessary. This is especially important when conditions progress such as when the elder has severe physical handicaps, impaired cognitive abilities (including Alzheimer's and dementia) or a progressive or terminal illness.

chronic illnesses and depression in elderly people   Back to Quick Index of Eldercare Services

cost-effective alternatives to institutionalization of elders 

Screen, Arrange and Monitor In-Home Services

Whenever possible, the Life Care Manager (LCM) helps older adults remain at home with as much independence as possible. There are many options for in-home assistance that the LCM may recommend depending on the assessed need. Options For Elder Care will determine if the older adult qualifies for visiting nursing, occupational and physical therapy, hospice care, durable medical equipment or older adult entitlement programs. We will recommend the most appropriate, available and cost effective service. The LCM will also provide ongoing supervision and communication to relatives, including those living at a distance. Below are some in-home care services can be utilized:

  • In-Home Personal Care Assistance:

    Options For Elder Care will assist families in obtaining in-home care providers and monitor the care they are providing. Services that could be utilized include:
    • In-home personal care assistance that will assist with bathing and other personal needs, meal preparation and light cleaning
    • Companionship services to provide transportation to doctors appointments, grocery shopping, companionship or other needs
    • Night sitters for elders who live alone or who are not ambulatory or have other special needs
  • Visiting Nurses, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Other Services in the Home:

    The LCM will assess if the older person has a skilled need for the above services that could qualify for these programs under the older person's health insurance. Options For Elder Care can also provide these services on a private pay basis.
  • Durable Medical Equipment:

    The LCM will determine what equipment or home modification is needed to optimize the home environment safety for the older person and determine the most cost effective method for obtaining that equipment or home modification. Durable Medical Equipment includes items such as hospital beds, walkers, wheel chairs, commode chairs, scooters, aspirators, ventilators and oxygen delivery systems. Medicare often covers the cost of these items when used in the home.
  • Hospice Care:

    When an older adult has a life-limiting illness Hospice can help you and your loved one to remain at home in peace, with comfort and dignity. Hospice's goal is to give individuals the chance to die with dignity along with supporting the family during this living process. Hospice care typically offers nursing care, nursing aide care, respite care, medical equipment, and coverage for medications that are related to one's hospice diagnosis.

    The life care manager can determine if you insurance has coverage for Hospice, arrange for, and lead the entire Hospice care team to assure continuity of services. The mission of Options For Elder Care is to provide care for the whole person, physically, emotionally, socially, and mentally in their home when ever possible. With such goal capability, it is easy to see why over half of our patient's are utilizing Hospice services. We will be glad to arrange for and oversee all services in the end-of-life care needs of your aging relative.

    For additional information about hospice, please see our Articles and Information About Hospice Care section.
  • Telephone Reassurance:

    A volunteer service, which makes calls once a day to older persons to reassure, support, and provide an outside link
  • Emergency Response Systems:

    These systems allow older adults to call for help in the event of a fall or emergency when they cannot get to the phone
  • Meals On Wheels:

    Provides nutritious meals to shut-ins or ailing seniors on a sliding scale fee basis

cooks, maids, housecleaning, drivers, hospice care workers   Back to Quick Index of Eldercare Services

Nursing homes, retirement villages, night sitters, 24-hour care 

Selection, Evaluation, and Transition to Alternative Living Arrangements

Making the decision to move from your family home can be a daunting, but there are many options for individuals to meet their current needs. Options For Elder Care has the expertise to assist families through this transition. We can even coordinate the entire move, assuring a smooth transition.

Options For Elder Care life care managers work in your community and know the facilities with the best reputation and quality of service. Most facilities welcome the involvement of a life care manager and we work with the staff, assuring a smooth transition and that all necessary services are ordered and provided.

The list below has been compiled to assist families interpret the current senior housing entities terminology:

Independent Living Communities and Apartments

These facilities are not licensed or regulated by any party. Older adults are tenants and must be physically able to care for themselves. These facilities cater to older retired residents who enjoy some degree of socializing and community activities, and usually offer such services as meals, activities, transportation and housekeeping. If custodial or medical care becomes necessary, residents in Independent Living for seniors are permitted to bring in outside services of their choice.

Boarding Homes and Residential Care Facilities

Board and Care Homes, adult care homes or residential care facilities are housing facilities designed for seniors or for individuals with disabilities who want or need to be in a group living situation and who may need assistance with personal care and daily living activities.

Typically, a Board and Care facility is selected when 24-hour, non-medical supervision is needed or desired. Board and Care homes were the first widely recognized form of assisted living, and as such, they are often, but not always, regulated by government agencies. The rent generally includes room, board, utilities, house keeping, laundry and regular contact with staff who take responsibility for the care of the resident.

Assisted Living Facilities for Seniors

Most assisted living facilities offer residents private living quarters with a sliding scale charged depending on the level of care needed. This type of facility offers residents the opportunity to participate in scheduled social events and interact with others. There is 24-hour personal care staff available, prepared meals served in a dining area, medication distribution, laundry service and some assistance with activities of daily living provided. These facilities serve people who do not have severe medical problems but who need help with personal care such as bathing, dressing, grooming and eating. Residents usually do not require continuous nursing care.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) offer a range of housing alternatives with varying levels of support in one location, all designed to meet the changing needs of the older person. For example, there may be housing for independent active older adults, assisted living complexes and a skilled nursing facility for those in need of continuous nursing care.

Residents entering Continuing Care Retirement Communities sign a long-term contract that provides for housing, services and nursing care, enabling seniors to remain in a familiar setting as they grow older.

Many seniors enter into a CCRC contract while they are healthy and active, knowing they will be able to stay in the same community and receive nursing care should this become necessary. Seniors who invest in a Continuing Care Retirement Community have adequately planned for housing and care for the remainder of their life, and have the financial means to support it.

Nursing Home Care | Skilled Nursing Facilities

Also referred to as a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), Nursing Homes provide care for seniors with chronic illness, disabilities that require daily attention of registered nurses (RNs), those who can no longer care for themselves due to physical, emotional, or mental conditions, or for persons needing short stays following a hospitalization. SNFs provide 24-hour care by registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing aides. A licensed physician supervises each patient's care. Should the older adult qualify for rehabilitation, physical, occupational and speech therapists are available.

Rehabilitation Centers

After a hospitalization for any surgery or acute stay that may have deconditioned the older adult below their normal level of functioning, they may qualify for a short stay in a rehabilitation facility. The older adult could receive intensive rehabilitation from rehabilitation nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, psychiatrists, rehabilitation (PM&R) physicians, and other rehabilitation personnel.

Doctors, therapists, counsellors, professional help   Back to Quick Index of Eldercare Services

government programs and health insurance plans 

Helping Families Understand, Navigate and Choose Insurance Policies and Medicare Options and Benefits

There are numerous quality companies that provide medical coverage that "fills in the gap" in coverage that is not covered by Medicare. Some older people purchase more insurance than they need or select a plan that does not meet their individual health concerns. Options For Elder Care has years of experience in this field and specializes in the interpretation of health insurance policies for the Medicare population, and can recommend the most suitable coverage to meet the older persons specific need.

Additionally, if you believe your insurance policy is not covering a service that it should, Options For Elder Care can interpret the benefit and assist in an appeal for coverage.

Below are some examples of health insurance options available in the Pittsburgh area:

  • Medigap Insurance Policies:

    As the name implies, a Medigap insurance policy is designed to pay for the gaps in coverage not covered by Medicare, namely the deductible and coinsurance. These policies, also known as Medicare supplemental insurance, are sold by private insurance companies. Insurance companies can only sell you a "standardized" Medigap policy. These Medigap policies must all have specific benefits so you can compare them easily.

  • Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO) Point of Service (POS) and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO):

    When this coverage is chosen, it replaces Medicare with coverage through the health insurance company. It is different than traditional Medicare in that for a higher level of coverage and more benefits, the insured agrees to receive services in a network of providers. There are certain advantages that Options For Elder Care believes can far out weigh the disadvantages of this type of coverage.

  • Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit:

    The prescription drug benefit is a complex program offered through private health plans that requires older adults to evaluate hundreds of programs and options to meet their specific medication need. Each Medicare drug plan has a list of the prescription drugs it will cover. These lists are called formularies or preferred drug lists. When comparing plans, it's important to find the plans that cover all or most of the drugs you take. Options For Elder Care would be glad to assist you in the determination of the most care and cost effective plan for the older person's specific medication needs.

  • Medicaid:

    Commonly referred to as medical assistance, Medicaid provides health insurance for persons who meet certain financial eligibility guidelines. The older population most commonly sees Medicaid as paying for extended coverage in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). The process of depleting one's assets to become eligible for Medicaid is called "spending down". If you have questions about assets and Medicaid eligibility, Options For Elder Care can offer recommendations and also provide referrals to elder law attorneys and financial planners.

  • Long Term Care Insurance:

    One out of every two people will need long-term care at some point in their life time. And over 70% of those over 65 will require long-term care. Long Term Care Insurance is a relatively new form of insurance that pays for nursing home care, assisted living care, home care or other long-term medical care not covered by Medicare or Medicare policies and supplements. The choices involved in deciding if one needs Long Term Care Insurance can be difficult and confusing. Options For Elder Care can assist any adult between the ages of 50 79 who is in relatively good health consider whether a long-term care policy is appropriate and which long-term care policy meets their needs in terms of both cost and coverage.

prescription drug benefits plans   Back to Quick Index of Eldercare Services

long-distance relationships to family caregivers 

Overseeing the Care of an Aging Relative for Out-of-Town Families

Large geographical distances and even the time it takes to travel shorter distances with congestion and snarled traffic - can add a unique and complicated challenge to what is already an often stressful job of caring for a family member whose health is deteriorating. Long-distance caregivers are often required to miss work to see to their relative's care, may need to manage and supervise paid care providers from a distance, and feel left out on decisions made by health care professionals who are on-site. Many families find it helpful to hire a life care manager to oversee the care of their aging relative. Below are just a few of the services Options For Elder Care can assist with:

  • Develop a comprehensive plan of care with the family
  • Offer recommendations on licensed agencies for in-home care
  • Assure that the family member is in a safe environment at all times
  • Make, transport and attend doctor's appointments
  • Oversee the care in a assisted living facility or nursing home
  • Assure that the family is kept abreast of the family member's progress

home safety emergency report elder abuse   Back to Quick Index of Eldercare Services

living wills, advance directives, dnr, elder lawyers 

Work As a Team Member with Other Healthcare Professionals, Attorneys, Trust Officers and Financial Planners

When families are faced with issues surrounding the care of an elderly loved one, they often turn to doctors, nurses, trust officers, and lawyers to assist in their area of expertise. A life care manager can tie the pieces together so that important information from each professional isn't missed and taken into account when making long term care decisions. Options For Elder Care can help families who are faced with difficult decisions know where to go and what to do when faced with the difficult task of planning long term care for an elderly loved one. Below are just a few examples of where we can help:

  • Assist in obtaining recommended health care documents such as a durable power of attorney, basic will, living will or advanced directive, healthcare power of attorney, or "do not resuscitate order" (DNR). We facilitate a family discussion so that everyone is aware of the documents and of the wishes of the client.
  • If an older person is considering applying for Medicaid and wishes to preserve some assets for a spouse or other family member an elder law attorney should be consulted for estate planning. We will work with the attorney to assure they have the full healthcare picture before offering recommendations.
  • Since our life care managers are registered nurses, we have the expertise to communicate with your loved one's family doctor, nurses, physical therapists, discharge planners and other health care service providers to assure a seamless plan.

durable medical power of attorney and legal questions   Back to Quick Index of Eldercare Services

health care screening for aging people 

Screen and Arrange for Older Adult and Public Eldercare Services or Entitlement Programs

Some public service programs are available to those who meet eligibility requirements based upon income. These services are also referred to as entitlement programs and are offered through the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. Options For Elder Care can assist in the determination of income qualification for these programs, which are listed below.

  1. PDA Waiver Program:

    Nursing Homes are not the only option for individuals when their health declines. There are several alternatives for individuals who are eligible for placement in a nursing home, but who wish to remain in their own home. The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) Waiver Program is one option available to income-eligible individuals who require more extensive care. The services offered are typical of those provided in nursing homes.
  2. Long Term Care Capitated Assistance Program:

    Another option available to persons needing nursing home care but who wish to continue living in their own home is the Long Term Care Capitated Assistance Program (LTCCAP). During the day, services are provided at a special day care center.
  3. Family Caregiver Support Services:

    An income-based public service program designed to assist income-eligible older adults live at home safely. In Pennsylvania, an older adult could qualify to receive some or all of the programs and services listed below (see also the National Family Caregiver Support Program):
    • Home Delivered Meals
      Often referred to as "meals on wheels", a nutritious, balanced meal is delivered Monday through Friday to older adults individuals whose have difficulty in cooking or leaving their home.
    • Personal Care
      Assistance for individuals with limited ability to perform daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and ambulating.
    • Home Health Care
      Assistance in the consumer's home, including nursing care, home health aides, speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, light housekeeping and grocery shopping.
    • Respite Care
      Relief for family caring for and living with an elderly homebound individual.
    • Chore Service
      Semi-skilled and unskilled home maintenance tasks and minor home repairs.
    • Senior Companions
      Provides friendly visitors to older adults in their home. Companions may assist with simple daily activities, provide an escort to shopping, medical, or social outings or may provide caregiver relief.

senior companions, respite care, elderly homebound citizens   Back to Quick Index of Eldercare Services

low-income costs and financial assistance 

Options For Elder Care Can Arrange for the Completion of Paperwork for Qualification to the Programs Below:

  • Financial Assistance:

    There are numerous entitlement programs available to seniors such as: Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Property tax assistance programs, Rental Rebate, property tax deferral loans, home maintenance and repair programs, fuel assistance programs and home equity conversion plans.
  • Veterans Benefits:

    A supplemental pension benefit program titled "Aid and Assistance program" is available to aging veterans or their widowed spouse to cover out of pocket expenses for personal care. Options For Elder Care can refer you to free government services that assist with completion of this application.

veterans benefits for deceased husband and wife   Back to Quick Index of Eldercare Services

locate elder law states 

Assist Families to Resolve Elder Care Issues or Conflicts

A crisis can bring a family closer together and illustrate strength and love; or it can drive a wedge of resentment between members. When a loved one's health, safety, or well-being becomes a concern, it is important to be proactive and address your loved one's issues. If the issues come to a point of a family crisis, families often spread across several states need to call themselves together to discuss the changes which are occurring and how they will deal with them.

Options For Elder Care can help facilitate this meeting by acting as the moderator. Our life care managers are highly skilled facilitators who can lend experience and balance to difficult family dynamics. Below are a few rules of thumb we use when planning these meetings:

  • Establish a "goal" for every meeting that is agreed upon ahead of time by all participants
  • Address one issue at a time incrementally
  • Select a comfortable and neutral location
  • For a smooth meeting, try to have no more than 7 participants
  • Invite close relatives only
  • Collect and share background information such as a fact sheet on Alzheimer's disease or legal documents
  • Prepare and stick to a short agenda
  • E-mail or snail mail all materials to all participants ahead of time

home care and hospice caregivers   Back to Quick Index of Eldercare Services

If you need assistance with caring for an elderly loved one, are new to elder care or uncomfortable with elder care decision-making, are faced with having to make a sudden decision or major change such as a health crisis or change of residence, or simply want some advice about any aspect of elder care, please don't hesitate to contact us at any time.

Barbara Kolonay, Life Care Manager, Registered Nurse

Barbara Kolonay, RN, BSN, MHRM, CCM
Options For Elder Care
Allison Park, Pennsylvania
(412) 486-6677

      About the Aging Life Care Association (ALCA)

ALCA is a nonprofit professional organization representing the field of Aging Life Care™ (also known as geriatric care management). ALCA promotes high standards of practice, professional ethics, and continuing education for its members. Membership is open only to individuals qualified by education and experience. Since its formation in 1985, ALCA has become the recognized and respected lead organization of practitioners in this field. Primarily a national organization ALCA also has members in Canada and other countries. For more information please visit or call (520) 881-8008.

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