How to Understand and Retain Your Aging Clients

By November 7, 2017Professional Tips
Working with aging clients can be complicated, impacting your bottom line. How can you best talk with them? This blog will provide tips and answers.

Working with aging clients can be complicated, impacting your bottom line. How can you best talk with them? This blog will provide tips and answers.


Has your older client been missing appointments? Has she forgotten to pay invoices although in the past she has always been organized and punctual?

While you may shrug off these slip-ups as “normal for her age,” there’s no denying that relationships can be complicated when working with aging clients.

And even as you tell yourself it’s none of your business – that it’s a family matter best left in the hands of her children or spouse – these symptoms of aging upend the meaning of business-as-usual and potentially impact your bottom line.

So it is your business.

Communication Gaps Lead to Missed Opportunities When Working With Aging Clients

I’ve seen how the specific needs, actions, behaviors, and emotions of older adults effect professionals like yourself. A senior’s slightly disheveled appearance can quickly devolve into an inability to manage day-to-day matters including signing the change-of-beneficiary document or trust agreement that will impact both her future and your ability to protect and grow her assets.

I’ve seen professionals like yourself stand by and watch family tensions lead to a breakdown in communications with you, and ultimately, to the loss of an opportunity to continue serving that client’s family over time.

With a heavy heart, I’ve noted that in conversations with older clients, professionals like yourself often spot the small changes – reports of pain, discomfort, loneliness, confusion – pointing to broader issues such as illness, dementia or depression that need attention.


Yet… What can you do?

If you speak up and earnestly express your concerns, you run the risk of upsetting your client, of straining or potentially jeopardizing your relationship. But if you work with aging clients as if everything were normal, you risk a breakdown of the process – not to mention an opportunity to connect on a fundamental, human level and lend support to somebody in need.

Know When to Counsel Aging Clients and When to Refer

As an attorney, a financial planner, or a fellow professional, nobody expects you to be an expert in elder care. Understanding, supporting and caring for the members of our aging population — now the largest generation in America — takes a village. Or a team. And it requires a specialized approach.

That’s where your third option comes in: a trusted outside party with the right expertise to counsel aging clients who show symptoms of decline. At LivHOME, my team of geriatric care managers and I have that expertise. We know how to:

  • Support your aging clients and their families in making crucial decisions
  • Help your aging clients access the resources they need.
  • Identify mental health issues and provide guidance for seeking treatment.
  • Recognize cognitive conditions and advise on best-practice approaches.
  • Assist with family dynamics
  • Recognize medical conditions that affect seniors and make referrals to the right specialists.


Practical Advice For Working With Aging Clients

This new blog will shed light on the needs, actions, behaviors, and emotions of older adults as they affect both professionals like yourself and families. Drawing on 30-plus years of experience counseling aging clients as a geriatric care manager, I will provide insights into topics such as:

  • How to get ahead of the curve and serve older adults successfully.
  • How to identify the warning signs when a senior needs help.
  • Common psychological problems older clients face, and how to react.
  • Effective strategies to understand older adults’ vulnerabilities and gain their trust.
  • What prevents seniors from taking action that will lead to change?
  • How to recognize cognitive impairment and work with affected seniors.

Our goal is to help you understand and work with aging clients so that ultimately, you can better manage your relationship and transactions with them, improving outcomes while contributing to their enhanced well-being.

Feel free to join the conversation, through comments, social media or subscribe to my newsletter.

My team and I are here to help.

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Steven Barlam

Author Steven Barlam

Steven Barlam, MSW, LCSW, CMC is the Chief Professional Officer and Co-Founder of LivHOME. Since 1985, Steve has worked exclusively in the field of geriatrics, working directly with clients and their families, and developing innovative service delivery models. He has served as President of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. Steve is a regular lecturer at local universities and national conferences on topics relating to care management, technology, and patient/client care.

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