What is a Geriatric Care Manager?
Caregiving is a very large responsibility and can carry a great amount of weight on your shoulders. Worrying about your loved one’s health, well being, finances, and navigating the medical system can be exhausting. You may feel that you are having trouble balancing caregiving with your own life. There is a very steep learning curve preventing you as the caregiver from knowing what questions to ask and steps to take to manage a situation without having gone through it several times (and nobody would wish that upon you). Family caregivers may not realize that a geriatric care manager can provide several services that will help alleviate these responsibilities, and your stress.
A geriatric care manager is a health and human services specialist who is trained in several fields of care management, such as nursing, social work, psychology, and can help with advocating for your loved one. They can even supervise the overall care of your loved one. Typically, geriatric care managers are either educated as social workers or as nurses, and have clinical experience in those fields. A geriatric care manager can offer guidance in decisions on living environment, home modifications to provide a better living and care environment, and even decisions on important life changes for your loved one, such as whether or not he or she should stop driving or needs to move into a nursing home. They can attend doctor’s appointments, while ensuring medical orders are followed and unnecessary hospital visits and stress are avoided.
Caring for your loved one can be quite expensive. Even though a geriatric care manager does not come free, he or she can help you develop a plan to avoid unnecessary costs and act as a liaison between your elder law attorney, financial planner, and your loved one. They can help “speak doctor” and cut through a lot of the complications and ambiguities that happen when there are many people staffed and assigned to someone else's care. They do not provide legal or financial advice themselves, but they will often know about ways to maximize insurance or governmental benefits to pay for the best care possible.
If your care manager establishes a good enough relationship with your loved one, he or she may also be privy to concerns that your loved one may have been afraid to share with you him or herself. As always, be sure to check the credentials of the care manager you are considering hiring. Make sure they are certified by the proper boards and check references. It is equally as important that the care manager has a good chemistry with you and your loved one. If you feel that you could benefit from having a geriatric care manager to assist you with the many interactions you're facing with medical professionals and the environment your loved one is in, give us a call, and we will make a recommendation for you for no charge at all.
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