Why Consider a Geriatric Care Manager?

January 11, 2017

Eventually, many of us will find ourselves in the position of helping with care arrangements for a loved one.  It might be a parent that needs some help around the house, or a sibling suffering from a disabling condition.  Whatever the reason, when the need for care arises, it’s usually an urgent matter that needs to be addressed quickly.  Unfortunately, most have not prepared for this eventuality and lack the experience or knowledge of care options to feel confident we’re making the choice that’s right for our loved one. 

Have you ever considered a geriatric care manager?  Maybe you’ve heard of them, but aren’t sure if you need one, or maybe you’re overly wary of scams that take advantage of vulnerable seniors and their families. Geriatric care managers are indeed a thing.  They’re trained and highly educated professionals who can navigate the complexities of elder care for you, which can be a nearly impossible feat for the average person.  It can be very stressful trying to untangle all the intricacies of elder care.  Making the wrong care choice can have real consequences, such as multiple failed care arrangements, wasted time and money, and worst of all, a possible decline in your loved one’s health.  For example, do you know what assisted living facilities or other care communities are required to provide to their residents? Do you know the difference between personal care and home health?  Do you have to pay the facility for the week Mom was in Arizona visiting your brother?  What are your rights if the facility threatens eviction?  What factors should be considered in a good care plan?  Don’t know?  You’re in good company, most people don’t.  And worse, many people don’t have the time or the patience to do the research.  A geriatric care manager might seem like an unnecessary expense but think of it as an investment with a potentially huge payoff for everyone in time, money and health.    

There are other reasons to consider a geriatric care manager that are more personal.  Regardless of how close your relationship is with your loved one, there are probably things he or she may not be telling you.  But even in the most trusting relationships, you may not be able to stay objective when it really counts; it’s by no means a character flaw; it’s simply a result of loving someone.  It’s nearly impossible to separate emotion from knowing every detail about how Mom or Dad’s health is deteriorating or how dependent they’ve become, especially when they’ve always been the ones on which you’ve depended.  The last thing you need to be is emotionally charged when it’s time to make decisions regarding care or deal with caregivers.  Implementing an objective and comprehensive care plan is critical.  Care managers can help with those situations as well – sometimes it’s just easier to talk to someone other than a family member regarding very personal matters, such as when you can no longer control your bladder or handle your own hygiene. I’ve personally witnessed that phenomenon countless times in my work with seniors and people with disabilities. 

The aging process can be difficult enough, and it’s only compounded by the loss of independence and the realization that your well-being may eventually be in the hands of others.  Tough stuff, but help is out there if you know where and how to look for them.  It might be costly, but in the end, a geriatric care manager might be the only thing that can put all the pieces of the puzzle together, save your sanity, and ensure your loved one gets the care they need and deserve.

About the Author

Doug Breuer is co-founder of MyCareMatch.com and has worked in senior care for the last 9 years for the State of Oregon. From investigating cases of elder abuse to managing the delivery of long term care to residents of Central Oregon, Doug has been involved in all aspects of senior care.

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