Who we are
Aging Optimist's purpose is to foster resilience by sourcing excellence in crisis or calm.
We are also guided by these philosophies: Be open to experiences and people. Find out everyone’s strengths and how to leverage to help others. Be of service. Listen, ask questions, understand needs, establish goals, and teach back.
Create care plans that include self-care for client and caregiver. Provide the best solution in a timely manner critical to the client’s success. Always put the client and their family or responsible parties first, even if it means losing the client to another care manager.
Admit when wrong, and learn from mistakes. Provide a plan of action which may include referrals to best practices or practitioners, because we seek to serve the client to the best of our ability, which includes bringing in expert resources or referring to others if we cannot personally provide the best care.
Aging Optimist, LLC is a member of Aging Life Care™, a U.S. association of care management professionals. Aging Life Care™ is also known as geriatric care management, a holistic, person-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing ongoing health challenges.
Working with families and responsible parties (Bank Trustees, Attorneys), Aging Life Care Professionals provide answers in times of uncertainty. Our guidance leads families and responsible parties to actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for whom they care. The primary benefits are reducing stress and time off of work for caregivers through:
Assessment and monitoring
Planning and problem-solving
Education and advocacy
Aging Life Care Professionals are members of the Aging Life Care Association™ (ALCA) and differ from Patient Advocates, Senior Advisors, Senior Navigators, and Elder Advocates. ALCA members must meet stringent education, experience, and certification requirements of the organization. All members are required to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
AS BETTE DAVIS ONCE SAID, 'OLD AGE AIN'T NO PLACE FOR SISSIES.'
Who we help
The ideal client is the one who is preparing for the future or in the midst of unexpected chaos and is willing to accept help for their own peace of mind, professionally or personally. Family caregivers are not the only people who can’t sleep at night; trust officers, financial planners and attorneys carry the burden too.
Although Aging Optimist is located in Charlotte, NC, we are available for phone consultation and face-to-face visits in underserved areas. For example, in one case, we coordinated move management services from N.C. to Cape Cod, MA.
The move included downsizing, fair and equal distribution of belongings amongst family, hiring packers and movers, choosing the senior care community, unpacking and decorating, vetting local medical professionals and referring a local Aging Life Care Professional to assume responsibility for the client upon relocation.
Our clients reside locally in Charlotte, Wilkesboro, Concord, and Hickory, NC as well as from Greenville and Columbia, SC, and Atlanta, GA. If we are not the best fit for you or your family, we will refer to another member of the Aging Life Care Association.
Family are not close, physically and/or emotionally or no family
The client’s care is medically complex.
The family/client needs an advocate with healthcare knowledge
Client has memory loss, poor physical health or mental health issues.
Client needs help choosing the best senior living and negotiating the contract.
Client needs guardianship, POA or HC Proxy.
Assistance during emergencies/crises
Coordinating and monitoring medical care
Facilitation of communication among client, family and health care facility
From a fiduciary responsibility perspective, attorneys and trust officers may hire an Aging Life Care consultant to lessen the financial burden on the family/client
Legal and financial professionals do not have the expertise nor the time to care for their clients’ medical needs
Provide an objective assessment of a client’s needs and resulting overarching care plan for clients
Assess, plan for long-term needs
Review Long Term Care Insurance policies and how to implement
Preserve client’s independence
Get client to “open up” and consider options
Arrange outside activities to enhance the client’s social support and quality of life.
Communicate client or family status changes
Completion of paperwork associated with the client’s insurance, benefits or finances.
DISTINCT TRENDS WE WORK TO MITIGATE
Lack of resources and service for seniors and cuts to services
Inability to get a single answer from providers
Increasingly complex medical issues, provider communication and health coverage questions.
Lack of understanding of benefits provided by Medicare.
I can’t thank [Aging Optimist] enough for everything you did for us. Mainly, thank you for being a ray of sunshine when I was in a tunnel of darkness.
Julie is a wealth of information regarding elder care. She is very experienced, professional, polished and genuine. She always makes her clients and colleagues feel comfortable and her presence just truly lifts people by the way she lights up a room.
MELISSA PLOURDE, LSW, CDP
Hospice Community Liaison
Hospice Services of Massachusettes
I have had the pleasure of working with Julie for almost 2 years. She is extraordinarily adept at managing the geriatric needs of clients and has a superb understanding of what next steps to take which is incredibly handy for future planning. As the Director of Client Support, her regular contact with doctors, guardians, social workers and eldercare attorneys on behalf of clients gave clients comfort in knowing her support and advocacy was unwavering. She was privy to concerns and ultimately a lifesaver. She worked tirelessly to ensure important doctor appointments were not missed, and caregivers received the right training thus helping clients fulfil their goals of living a safe and healthy environment at home. She makes a remarkable resource of information and engages clients at levels that instill a sense of safety, ultimately simplifying their transitions of life. Her strengths in advocacy, pulling resources and ensuring a continuum of care makes Julie great at managing the overall care of clients.
Julie’s passion for working with seniors began as a child, in her grandmother Helen's kitchen, and in her grandfather B.C.'s greenhouse. She volunteered at a senior center in high school, and her entrepreneurial parents had a large influence on her upbringing. Her mother initiated and executed programs for seniors, replicated by churches city-wide. Her father developed and managed senior living communities in the Southeast.
After a career in technology sales, Julie took her skills to the senior care market where she quickly rose to leadership positions in sales, marketing, operations and programming.
Realizing her ambition to make an even greater impact, she completed her Master of Science in Gerontology in 2012 with Honors from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her thesis on brain nutrition, presented at the American Society on Aging Conference, was the impetus for the launch of the Brain Health and Wellness Center at the 2013 International Alzheimer’s Conference Boston. She enjoys being partner of a certified therapy team through Dog B.O.N.E.S.sm with her dog named Biskit.
Prior to moving to Charlotte, Julie worked at Long Life Matters, serving the financial and care management needs of seniors in Boston. She served on the GeriJoy board of advisors and helped found Mature Caregivers, a homecare company that provides employment opportunities for older adults.
She also has experience developing innovative memory preservation and enhancement programs, teaching classes on communication and dementia care, and integrating digital tools to manage individual care plans while improving the caregiver experience.
Julie is a Certified Manager of Care (CMC), Certified Dementia Practitioner® (CDP®), Certified Animal and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (AAT) and certified by the Alzheimer’s Association in Habilitation Training.
Biskit* is an international dog of the world. Her mother is a white Bischon Frise from France; her father is a black Havanese from Cuba. She was born on St. Patrick’s day (so she’s Irish) in South Carolina and spent most of her life as a Yankee in Boston. She was the most precocious of her family and first to leave the puppy pen. Her first job, at three months, was in Assisted Living in Chestnut Hill where she thrived and enjoyed filet mignon and belly rubs. She graduated from therapy dog school and quickly moved on to skilled nursing, hospital and hospice visits. Her skills at dance, roll and speak led to children’s day care visits and spreading joy to folks living in memory care communities and adult day centers.
In her spare time, she enjoys long walks on the beach, paddle boarding, kayaking, bike rides in her basket and co-facilitating support group meetings.
*Although she spells her name phonetically, Biskit is a tribute to her “biscuit and gravy” southern heritage and credited to her God sister, Rebecca.