As the baby boom population ages and average life expectancies climb higher, financial advisors must tackle one more topic in their conversations with clients: elder care.

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management will now offer its clients access to elder care coordination services from PinnacleCare, a health advisory firm based in Baltimore, Maryland. The initial package of services from PinnacleCare, which provides services separately from Morgan Stanley, includes a health assessment of an elderly family member, patient medical record coordination, in-home evaluation of the person’s ability to live unassisted, research on the person’s Medicare coverage, and assistance with insurance claims. Clients are charged a flat fee for these initial services. Additional services are charged separately, or clients can pay an annual subscription fee for on-going assistance.

The new offering expands a long-standing relationship between the firms. Morgan Stanley has referred clients to PinnacleCare for guidance on health care issues ranging from chronic disease to terminal illness for almost nine years. PinnacleCare helps organize care, including identifying the top local specialists and securing appointments with those doctors.

The idea for a new expanded offering for elder care started in June of last year. The firm began rolling out the elder care program to its regional offices in February, and is now available to all of its financial advisors.

The new specialized elder care offering was inspired by an “outcry” from the firm’s advisors on how to better serve families who are grappling with these issues, said Deanna Rodriguez, executive director of Lifestyle Advisory Services at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.

“Just as we have helped clients plan for college educations, our advisors were being asked, ‘How do I plan for caring for my parents?” Rodriguez said.   

As part of the new initiative, Bruce Spector, chairman and founder of PinnacleCare, has toured Morgan Stanley’s offices throughout the U.S. to educate the firm’s financial advisors about what it entails.

The elder care assessment was not offered by PinnacleCare prior to Morgan Stanley’s request for it, Spector said. Now, this partnership can give the firm’s advisors a new way to differentiate themselves from the competition.

The services give Morgan Stanley advisors “the ability to connect with clients in ways that others can’t,” Spector said.

Morgan Stanley private wealth advisor Peter Chieco, who is based in Greenwich, Conn., said he regularly invites Spector to speak at events to educate clients on PinnacleCare’s offering. Chieco, who has been referring his clients to the company for the past five years, said the new elder care service expands what he can provide to his clients who are increasingly concerned both about aging relatives and the effects of new health care legislation set to go into effect next year.

Chieco personally used PinancleCare when his own mother needed a heart valve replacement. The service, he said, helped his family quickly secure an appointment with the right doctor.

PinnacleCare also helped resolve an issue with one of his client’s sons, a 23-year-old suffering from cystic fibrosis. By using PinnacleCare’s services, that patient was able to discover that the symptoms he was suffering from were a result of being overmedicated with pain medication and opiates, and not a result of the underlying disease.

Chieco said he is glad to have a resource that will help address clients’ concerns surrounding elder care.

“This is like what we do in investments,” Chieco said of PinnacleCare. “It’s not that individuals can’t do this on their own, but a lot of times the advice and counsel of an expert adds a lot of value.”