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Frequently Asked Questions

...and a few answers

What does an Aging Life Care Expert do?

ALCA Experts are specialists in assisting older people and persons with disabilities and their families to plan for and implement ways to allow for the greatest degree of independence, safety and comfort. They meet with families, assess the client's needs, and develop a comprehensive plan with input from caregivers, professionals, and others. They then assist with any appointments, interviews, and other paperwork and make all preparations for needed in-home care or arrange for a transition to a facility. They review all options clearly and discuss them with the family. Once services are set up, they can monitor and coordinate them, and revise the plan if needed. This gives the family assurance that an objective, knowledgeable professional is available to maintain personal contact with the older person, caregivers and family.

What kind of background does an Aging Life Care Expert have?

ALCA Experts come from a variety of backgrounds and fields of experience. Usually, they are licensed social workers, nurses, therapists, and typically have education at the Master's level, and they may have experience in family work, client advocacy, long-term care, and/or psychotherapy.

Do all ALCA Experts do the same thing? How do I know what to look for?

All ALCA Experts provide assessment services along with a wide variety of other services. These range from counseling, crisis intervention and care management to guardianship, housing placement, money management, advocacy, and referrals. The first step in locating the right professional in your area is to call Aging Life Care Association® New England Chapter at 617-277-2669 or to search for an ALCA Expert by clicking on the “Find a Member or Affiliate” tab above.

Who uses an ALCA Experts?

Families who live at a distance rely on ALCA Experts to provide a trusted link to their elder parents. Attorneys may use the services of an ALCA Expert for a professional assessment of complex clinical situation in a home care facility or in the community. Trust officers find that an ALCA Expert plays a key part in a professional assessment to assure the provision of well-targeted, cost-effective care for elder. Physicians and other health care professionals welcome the specialized individual services that an ALCA Expert can offer to the elder and families as a means to prevent clinical crises and avoid unnecessary hospitalization.

What unique services can an ALCA Expert bring to their client?

ALCA Experts assist the elder and the family in a comprehensive way by first conducting an assessment, establishing objectives and following through on them. As ALCA Experts, they establish a personal relationship with the elder and a personal commitment to their clients. Typically, an ALCA Expert does not provide actual hands-on care for the older person, but instead arranges, coordinates and monitors this care to be provided by the most qualified professional available. The ALCA Expert may draw from a number of options to assist this process, and this is due to their knowledge of the local providers and accessibility to specialized resources.

Are ALCA Expert services covered by Medicaid, Medicare or health insurance? How will I pay?

Services are billed privately on a fee-for-service basis. Care Management services provided by ALCA Experts are not covered in most policies and currently are not recognized, billable services by either Medicare or Medicaid. Clients may be able to bill some services to health or long term care insurance companies depending on the background of the individual case. An ALCA Expert can outline the general cost of services to assess the most advantageous way to provide cost effective services for the older person, ALCA Experts may also refer to any of a number of other professionals if that is more appropriate.

How can an ALCA Expert be located in a different state and how is contact maintained with the family?

The Aging Life Care Association has a referral network that encompasses every part of the country. You can use the “Find a Care Manager” search engine by clicking on the “Find a Member or Affiliate” tab above or by going to the ALCA site at AGINGLIFECARE.ORG.  Once located, the individual ALCA Expert may provide the family with regular updates by phone or written reports. They will keep the family informed of any unexpected events or emergencies and maintain involvement in any major decisions.

How is a choice made about which ALCA Expert to work with?

Each ALCA Expert brings individual experience and training that may be targeted to the specific needs of the elder. It is strongly encouraged to conduct an interview of possible ALCAs to make a determination of their qualifications and areas of expertise. As with other professionals, a number of factors help determine the choice of an individual, such as geographic location, specific training, education, fees, accessibility, and years of experience.