The Compass Difference
You want to hire the best expert for the senior in your life but how do you know? An excellent strategy is to seek a geriatric care manager, also known as an aging life care™ professional, who is certified by the Aging Life Care Association™. The association designates member levels, including the highest Advanced Professional category that requires specific higher education levels, supervised work experience and a specified professional designation. Alissa stands out in the Denver Metro area by achieving this gold standard of membership, offering confidence that you are choosing an exceptionally knowledgeable, skilled and trustworthy professional.
The National Academy of Certified Care Managers awarded Care Manager Certified (CMC) ranking to Alissa in 2009. CMC is one of only four professional designations accepted by the Aging Life Care Association to qualify for Advanced Professional standing.
Alissa is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® as well. A CSA certification does not mean the person is an expert in any profession, however it can enable the individual to better apply their professional knowledge to seniors.
The following table illustrates the requirements for each certification. Vetting individuals by asking the questions in the left column is a wise way to ensure that the person is qualified to guide you and your loved one through the complex and broad field of elder care.
While some geriatric care companies offer advice on whether a senior should remain at home or move to a care community, they also benefit directly because they offer home care services. Compass does not provide home care services, assuring unbiased guidance. Alissa is, however, very familiar with home health and home care agencies—as well as care communities—and can direct families appropriately.
Only an elder care professional who has worked at care communities in management and direct care positions truly understands the inner workings of this often-confusing field. Alissa offers that valuable experience. That's important to you because if your loved one should require care away from home, you need someone who knows what to expect and how to plan for a successful transition.
Compass is much more than a placement or referral service, which is an outside sales and marketing agency that contracts with care communities. Placement agencies are able to offer "free" services to clients because they are paid by care communities to refer seniors. Alissa never accepts money from care communities, maintaining her objectivity and avoiding the appearance of impropriety. Seniors and their families can be assured that Alissa is working only for their best interest.
Alissa firmly believes elder care is not a one-size-fits-all proposition and does not rely on geographic directories of care communities to make recommendations. Alissa, a trained geriatric care manager with years of experience, meets with seniors and their family members to learn about their values, needs and goals before developing customized plans of action.
Alissa Schramm, president and chief operating officer of Compass Elder Care Specialists, Inc., has helped seniors in a professional capacity for more than 21 years.
Alissa's long career in elder care encompasses experience directly related to seniors, an important distinction to merely working in the vast health care field.
While enjoying a successful writing career, Alissa was inspired by her experiences assisting her grandmother and a dear elderly friend. A native of Cleveland, Alissa enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Degree Program in the Social Sciences at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The program is designed for students wishing to pursue focused inquiry into areas of contemporary public interest. Alissa studied aging issues in Sociology, Social Work, Philosophy, Social and Preventive Medicine, Nursing and Counseling departments and earned a master of science degree.
Alissa relocated to direct the opening of an assisted living facility in Arvada, Colorado, hiring and training staff members and admitting all the residents. Next, Alissa served as the manager of a memory care residence at a retirement community in Denver. She provided hands-on care and family guidance at both buildings, enabling her to bond with residents and their relatives.
Interested in the emerging field of care coordination, Alissa sought a position as a geriatric case manager at a private agency in Denver. For more than seven years there, she planned and directed the care of people with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia and seniors with complex medical conditions.
Alissa at a Glance...
- Master's Degree in the Social Sciences with a Concentration in Aging (Gerontology) from the State University of New York
- 21 years of elder care experience working directly with seniors and their families
- Owner of Compass Elder Care Specialists, Inc., 8 years
- Geriatric Care Manager (a.k.a. Aging Life Care Manager), Advanced Professional certification - the highest standing
- Care Manager Certified
- Certified Senior AdvisorŪ
Curriculum Vitae – Alissa Schramm
Certifications, Memberships and Affiliations