Hiring a geriatric care manager (GCM) can help alleviate a great deal of stress for elderly persons and their families. Since each individual has a different set of circumstances, lifestyles, resources and medical issues everyone’s situation varies significantly. Often the rule of thumb is the sooner a geriatric care manager becomes involved the more options are available, and the greater the chances of client being able to maintain a higher level of independence for a longer period of time.
Even when family members live nearby or are involved in professions that are healthcare related; sometimes parents are unwilling to listen to recommendations from their children or other family members. More often today elderly are living independently and their children or family members are living in other areas of the country. Sometimes, regular phone calls, supportive church members and neighbors that regularly check in on the client seem to be enough. In these cases, an evaluation by a geriatric care member can provide reassurance, and act as an as- needed resource. In short, each situation in unique, but clients and families need to be aware of the value that a geriatric care manager can bring to the situation and the importance of gaining help early enough to still have viable options. Geriatric care managers can provide a great deal of help in a crisis situation, but they can also assist in putting a plan together to avoid a crisis.
Here are five questions to help identify when a geriatric care manager can be helpful:
1. What resources are available or how do I access these resources?
When you know that based on your own observations, and the advice of other involved parties that your family member needs more assistance.
2. Is it possible for me to take care of my immediate family responsibilities and possible employment while managing the care of my family member in need?
Although clients and families may find resources to help in individual situations, often coordinating this care requires continual monitoring and adjustment. Furthermore, as diseases progress and change, the resources needed also change; this can be overwhelming to manage for family members.
3. Is my family member going to benefit from a central person to help coordinate physician’s appointments, social outings, and other day to day responsibilities that I can simply not provide?
Geriatric care managers can be very helpful in making sure that the all of the day to day scheduling is taken care of so that family members can continue meeting the demands of their own busy lives. As people get older, there are typically many involved parties and it is important to communicate regularly with each discipline so that the client is cared for in the most holistic manner possible.
4. Do I fully understand the insurance benefits, and other community resources available to my loved one and family?
In our ever changing healthcare environment it is essential to fully understand all available options. Hospital stays, ambulance transport, skilled nursing costs, Medicare, Medicaid, assisted living rates, and homecare are just a few of the areas families are being forced to attempt to understand. Geriatric care managers are well versed on these topics and can help clients and families navigate this ever changing environment.
5. Do I feel overwhelmed?
As clients enter their senior years a host of issues will inevitably arise. It is important to enjoy this time and a geriatric care manager can help alleviate stress and make an overwhelming situation much more manageable.