Stephanie Chong, Assistant Director, ESM Cares
Geriatric Care Managers are professionals who help older adults and their families handle the unique health and lifestyle challenges associated with aging. Through a comprehensive assessment process, Geriatric Care Managers evaluate an individual’s physical health and wellness, memory and mental health status, ability to perform activities of daily living (such as bathing and dressing), informal and formal social support network, financial resources and living environment.
Geriatric Care Managers develop a relationship with the older adult to gain an understanding of his or her personal wishes. A Geriatric Care Manager makes recommendations based on the information gathered from the assessment, coupled with an understanding of the client’s needs and desires. Geriatric Care Managers partner with their clients to devise a plan that ensures their safety and wellbeing, while preserving their individuality and dignity.
Professional recommendations may include, coordinating services such as home care, transportation, grocery/meal delivery, identifying a senior living community and assisting with the transition. In addition, Geriatric Care Managers can offer counseling through periods of stress, illness and change. Care Managers may liaison and facilitate communication among older adults, their families and healthcare providers and offer on-going monitoring of services. Additional recommendations can be made when changes arise.
Geriatric Care Managers are typically social workers, nurses or other human service professionals in gerontology. Services are offered on a fee basis. Geriatric Care Management is not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private health insurance. Some long term care insurance policies do cover this service.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Geriatric Care Manager?
Hiring a Geriatric Care Manger is helpful for older adults who do not have family to rely on or who recognize a need for assistance but are having difficulty navigating through the various services available to them. Families often discover the value of hiring a Geriatric Care Manager when the stress of caring for their family member has become overwhelming or has negatively affected their relationship. Families who do not live nearby find peace of mind in knowing their loved one has an advocate.
How Do I Find a Geriatric Care Manager?
The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) offers a directory of members throughout the nation. You can find a Geriatric Care Manager in your area, as well as learn more about the profession at www.caremanager.org or by phone at 520-881-8008.