In senior care, there is a world of options available for those who seek out services for themselves or a loved one. From national corporations to sole proprietors, there is someone, somewhere, offering a product to enhance the life of an elderly person. What isn’t available, yet, is government regulation to oversee the immense variety of options or the people who provide them. Although the vast majority of service providers operate with strong ethical responsibility, there are many who do not. In a field where there is little regulation, training requirements or even background checks, it can be difficult to know which business has the customer’s best interest in mind. Due to the ease of entry into the business of providing elder services, it’s easy to find individuals with no experience, education or training handing out promises along with business cards.

Enter the self-regulatory association. Relatively new to the senior industry, there are now associations that strive to offer a higher standard of business ethics by regulating their own members. The Aging Life Care Association (ALCA, the Professional Association of Senior Referral Specialists (PASRS and the Arizona Home Care Association (AZNHA are three unique organizations that fill the vacuum of an absence of government oversight.

Within the associations there are professional members who are performing a particular service (such as Care Management or Senior Placement) and then there are affiliate members who provide complementary services that are often needed. The professional and affiliate members of a particular association frequently refer to one another, secure in the knowledge that each abide by the associations code of conduct. The confidence of knowing a client will be treated with the same ethical guidelines by all members of the referral process allows a business owner to refrain from trying to provide services outside the scope of his or her own niche. Since a self-regulatory association often provides members with a grievance policy, the referrer receives support from the association should there ever be a breakdown of communication.

For industry partners, a self-regulatory association is an important way to find like-minded business owners. For the consumer, all that’s necessary is knowing the person you’ve chosen to provide a service not only holds him or herself up to a higher standard of ethics, but only works with those who do the same.

At Desert Care Management we encourage and support the high standards that the above organizations represent and are members of The Aging Life Care Association.