Pull together 2,000 professionals with degrees in counseling, gerontology, mental health, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology or social work who have a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care, and you have the Aging Life Care Association® (ALCA).
May is National Life Care Month and the 2021 ALCA theme is “ALCA Innovates” Staying up to date on clinical, business and ethical issues and technology is foundational to Aging Life Care Professionals® who work with older adults, people with disabilities and families who need assistance with caregiving issues.
Diversity and inclusion are ethical issues that are integral to ALCA membership and clearly stated in the ALCA code of ethics. “The Code of Ethics acknowledges the vulnerable population we serve and makes explicit the highest standards of practice.”
2020 saw every business pivot, including that of Aging Life Care Professionals®. While they grappled with the ways to continue to provide services to vulnerable populations during COVID-19, they also grappled with the frustrations around racial injustices.
In 2020, the ALCA published this statement: “An Aging Life Care Professional behaves in a just and fair way in all professional and business relationships. An Aging Life Care Professional does not promote or sanction any form of discrimination such as discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or socioeconomic status.” And “ALCA members recognize diversity in our society and embrace a multi-cultural approach to support the worth, dignity, potential and uniqueness of each client.”
ALCA’s commitment to this strategic initiative continues in 2021 with national convention events on diversity and inclusion and webinars such as “Why does race matter?” open to its members. The recognition of our diverse society and commitment to a multi-cultural approach to all interactions is at the core of Aging Life Care Professionals® work.
“I credit the ALCA with giving me the opportunity to have mentorship, round table open discussions and opportunities to hear from seasoned practitioners like Tim R. Johnston, PhD from Sage who presented ‘Advocacy and Family Dynamics with LGBT Elders’ at our national conference in April. His insight and understanding of how language can be offensive without our meaning it to be was so helpful. I didn’t know that for some of our elders, including the Q at the end of LGBTQ might be offensive. For their generation, the Q doesn’t mean questioning. The connotation is queer and that is offensive for many individuals.”
“ALCA pays deliberate attention to improving on goals for our diverse elder population with ever-evolving training. This allows me to be mindful and start where the person is at. Being mindful affects all my interactions starting with the intake process. Instead of asking ‘Are you married’ or ‘Do you have children?’, I can ask ‘Who is important to you?’ It lets me stay with the language they give me and be mindful that not all close relationships are with the family of origin. If someone has no family left or identify as LGBT, then family of choice defines their close relationships.”
“I like to infuse my work with the idea that we are in a fluid dance with each person we meet. We often work with those who have been labeled and marginalized by others due to their unique diverse situation and life. In our work, we are dealing with people who bring a rich history with them. Being able to see the beauty and intrigue in their history and diversity and being able to embrace someone for all that they are is how we learn to dance gracefully and stay in the dance.” Annette Murphy, Director of Home Care and Care Management, Springpoint at Home