Understanding the Role of a Geriatric Care Manager in Elder Care
Those of us who provide care for a loved one have probably heard the term “Geriatric Care Manager” on a regular basis. However, even though the phrase is a familiar one, we may not know exactly what one is since it’s a relatively new profession in the field of eldercare.
What is a geriatric care manager?
A geriatric care manager is a licensed professional, often a nursing or social work specialist, with expertise in geriatrics. Families hire them to evaluate their loved one's needs and coordinate care using community resources. This profession proves particularly valuable when families live far away or are unable to manage all caregiving responsibilities themselves. Geriatric care managers can act as "professional relatives" supporting the family.
Responsibilities of geriatric care managers:
During an initial 1-2 hour meeting held at the older adult's home, the care manager assesses the living space, ideally with family members present. Based on their observations, they may offer recommendations to enhance safety and independence. Additionally, the care manager gathers information about the loved one's health needs and current caregiving structure.
Following the evaluation, the geriatric care manager develops a care plan that identifies issues, evaluates eligibility for assistance, and provides recommendations for local resources. Depending on the family's needs, the care manager's involvement can extend to check-in visits, accompanying clients to medical appointments, and offering support and education for both the client and caregivers. They can also arrange and monitor in-home help, as well as additional health and mental health services, if required.
Benefits of working with a geriatric care manager:
Apart from the practical support, geriatric care managers excel in facilitating sensitive discussions about topics like finances, legal documents, driving abilities, and personal hygiene. They can guide families in exploring alternative housing options such as assisted living or nursing facilities and assist with the transition process.
Finding a geriatric care manager:
To locate a geriatric care manager near your loved one, resources like the Eldercare Locator website and the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers are invaluable. Additionally, you can ask your healthcare provider for a referral.
Geriatric care managers play a vital role in supporting families and older adults in need of care. By understanding their responsibilities and benefits, families can make informed decisions and access the appropriate resources to enhance the well-being of their loved ones.