As I travel around the country doing presentations on caregiving-related topics common themes that arise are people not knowing how to assess what their aging loved ones need and where to find the right services. There are an estimated 43 million people in the U.S. currently helping at least one of their parents according to The Family Caregiver Alliance. The Pew Research Center reports “47% of U.S. adults say it is likely at some point in their life they will be responsible for caring for an aging parent or another adult family member.” You may be members of this group now or in the future. How do you know what to do or where to go for help? Geriatric Care Managers are a hidden treasure that many people are not aware of.
What is a Geriatric Care Manager?
Geriatric care managers usually are trained in a healthcare profession like nursing or social work. They bring this professional expertise to families who are struggling to understand the best ways to help a senior loved one who needs additional assistance and support. Geriatric Care Managers should be licensed. They can help you put together both long and short-term health care plans that best suit the needs of the senior and the caregiving team members.
What Services do They Offer?
Geriatric Care Managers offer a wide variety of services including:
- Helping you to start the caregiver conversation with a loved one.
- Assessing the care needs for a senior.
- Helping both seniors and members of the caregiving team identify where the proper help can be found.
- Evaluation of both in home care needs and services available outside of the home.
- Addressing emotional concerns of both caregivers and care recipients.
- Acting as a mediator between caregivers and care recipients.
- Providing caregiver support and stress relief.
- Helping caregivers and care recipients gather and understand information from physicians, in home health care providers, and care providers outside of the home like assisted living programs and skilled nursing facilities.
- Are available to come in and reassess current care needs with the ability to amend and construct a new care plan for patients and members of the caregiving team.
The costs for a geriatric care manager vary based on the type and frequency of services that are needed. Unfortunately, these services are not covered by insurance. But I believe it can be money well spent. Be sure you are clear on costs and how they are determined when you are considering hiring somebody. Get this information in writing. Also inquire about how long they have been working and if they are a licensed geriatric care manager. Ask about getting references. Another important issue to clarify is how and when they are available if an emergency should arise?
How to Find a Geriatric Care Manager?
You can find a geriatric care manager by going to the Aging Life Care Association website. You can just put in the area code for where the care is need to find local available geriatric care managers who can offer assistance. You can also call them at 1-520-881-8008. This resource was formerly called the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.
Geriatric Care Managers are an excellent resource for a variety of reasons. They are especially helpful in situations where family members are not local and need help assessing the needs of a long distance loved one. They have good knowledge of what local programs are available and the quality of the services offered. Identify how you will have ongoing communication with a geriatric care manager and how frequently the follow up will occur. Geriatric care managers can offer peace of mind for all concerned.
Editor’s Note: You can find Iris’s book “Role Reversal” on Amazon.
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