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.
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 27 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.
In 2008, Alissa launched Compass Elder Care Specialists with a focus on assisting out-of-state families with Denver-area seniors, many of whom have Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.
Alissa at a Glance…
- Master’s Degree in the Social Sciences with a Concentration in Aging (Gerontology) from the State University of New York
- 27 years of elder care experience working directly with seniors and their families
- Owner of Compass Elder Care Specialists, Inc., 14 years
- Geriatric Care Manager (a.k.a. Aging Life Care Manager), Advanced Professional certification – the highest standing
- Care Manager Certified
- Certified Senior Advisor®
M.S., Interdisciplinary Degree Program in the Social Sciences, Gerontology Concentration, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1997. B.S., Dual Major: Journalism and Criminal Justice and Corrections, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, 1984.
Geriatric Care Manager and President/Chief Operating Officer, Compass Elder Care Specialists, Denver, Colorado, 2008 to Present.
Geriatric Case Manager, Human Services Consultants, Denver, Colorado, 2001-2008.
Manager, Special Care Center for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Marriott’s Brighton Gardens of Denver (CO), 1998-2001.
Startup Director, Sterling House of Arvada (CO) assisted living community, 1997-1998.
Companion, Services for Seniors, Buffalo, New York, 1995-1997.
Newspaper Reporter and Technical Writer and Editor, Ohio, Indiana, Texas, New Jersey and New York, 1977-1995.
Certifications, Memberships and Affiliations
Care Manager, Certified, National Academy of Certified Care Managers, Colchester, Connecticut.
Aging Life Care Manager – Advanced Professional, Aging Life Care Association, Tucson, Arizona.
Aging Life Care Manager – Advanced Professional, Aging Life Care Association, Western Region Chapter.
Certified Senior Advisor, Denver, Colorado.
Colorado Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (MOST) representative, National POLST Plenary Assembly, October 2017 to Present, and MOST Subgroup co-chair, October 2021 to Present.
Volunteer, We Don’t Waste food recovery and distribution non-profit organization, Denver metro area, September 2022 to Present.
Volunteer MOST Chair, Colorado Advance Directives Consortium, October 2017 to April 2019.
Volunteer MOST Revision Work Group Chair, Colorado Advance Directives Consortium, December 2013 to March 2015.
Volunteer MOST Educator and Member, Colorado Advance Directives Consortium and Center for Improving Value in Health Care, 2010 to present.
Member of MOST Group recognized with “Outstanding Achievement Award” granted by the Colorado Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, 2011.
Volunteer Guardian, Guardianship Alliance of Colorado, Denver, 1998 to March 2019.
11 Gallon Donor (89 donations), Vitalant Blood Center, Denver, 2003 to Present.
Volunteer, Garden Tour Committee, The Conflict Center, Denver, 2009 – 2016.
Volunteer, Arapahoe County Adult Protection Team, July 2010 – March 2016.
Volunteer Delivery Person, Basket of Joy Program, Volunteers of America, Denver, December 2017
Medicare does not pay for geriatric care management. Services are private pay only. Some long-term care insurance policies may reimburse clients for care management services.