A geriatric care manager is a specially trained professional eldercare advocate who will make your daily life caring for yourself or a loved one easier. They will work with you to help you form short and/or long-term plans and connect you with services that match your finances. Whether you live in the same town as your loved one or if they live far away, these ‘professional relatives’ can help you target your needs and assist with ways to address them, to help make sure your loved one is well cared for.
What Can They Help with?
Geriatric care managers offer expertise navigating our confusing healthcare system during stressful and unexpected situations. They can help you make more informed decisions in the following areas:
- Life planning – creating and executing a holistic care plan for a senior’s future
- Housing – help families evaluate and select the appropriate level of housing or residential option, including “aging in place”
- Home care services – determine the appropriate services and then assist with obtaining and monitoring those services
- Medical management – while geriatric care managers cannot provide medical opinions, they can attend medical appointments to facilitate communication between doctor, client, and family
- Communication – keeping family members and professionals informed regarding the wellbeing and changing needs of the client
- Social activities – help provide opportunities for the client to engage in social, recreational, or cultural activities that enrich the quality of life
- Legal concerns – assist with referrals for an elder law attorney
- Financial issues – can help with bill paying or consultation with the client’s accountant or Power of Attorney
- Entitlements – provide information on Federal/state/local entitlements, social services, and programs
- Long-distance care – coordinate the care of a loved one for families that live at a distance
- Crisis management
How Do I find A Geriatric Care Manager? What Do They Cost?
The federal government’s National Institute on Aging suggests consulting the website of the professional organization Aging Life Care (www.aginglifecare.org) to help you find a local Geriatric Care Manager. While specializing in elder care, they come from a variety of professional backgrounds including nursing, gerontology and social work.
You should ask questions about their qualifications and background, including:
- Training, experience, educational background
- Accessibility – are they accessible 24/7
- Licensing and/or certification
- Rates – rates will vary and many Geriatric Care Managers will offer you a free initial consultation to ensure they are able to provide assistance with your specific need and importantly to ensure you have chemistry with them
- Do they have references and/or on-line reviews
Navigating the complex healthcare system can be overwhelming. However, engaging an experienced and compassionate Geriatric Care Manager can provide security and peace of mind in knowing that your loved one is being well taken care of.