For most, caregiving is new territory. It is an enormous responsibility that must be addressed along with all of life’s other important duties like family, home, and work. Even with the best of intentions, it can be difficult for families to coordinate caregiving duties while balancing other roles. A geriatric care manager can improve the family caregiving experience by providing support, resources, and services for the senior who needs care. The Manager can also provide peace of mind for family members who will know that the senior’s needs are being met appropriately. Here are three ways in which a geriatric care manager can improve the family caregiving experience.
1. Devising a care plan: It can be difficult to know all the services that a senior loved one needs. Family members usually aren’t clinicians and trying to determine what services are needed for ongoing support at home based on specific health needs can be daunting. A geriatric care manager will conduct a comprehensive health assessment of your loved one and then create a care plan to meet identified needs. The care plan will take into account your loved one’s physical, emotional and mental status. It will also address health needs including medications, nutrition, and therapies; such as physical and occupational therapy. The care plan will also include referrals to agencies that can provide some of the support needed. In short, the care plan will coordinate care for all of the senior’s health needs so the family knows that those important issues are being addressed.
2. Arranging services: Once the care plan is created, the geriatric care manager will begin to line up services to support those identified needs. These services can include counseling, support, assistance with moving the senior to different types of housing, advising families on power of attorney and other legal matters, transportation, serving as a liaison between the family and healthcare professionals, and serving as an advocate for the senior. The geriatric care manager can lift a lot of weight off the families of the senior and guide them to services that will make caregiving easier.
3. They monitor needs. Once the assessment and care plan are complete and services are in place, the geriatric care manager ensures that they are performing as expected and supporting your loved one. The manager will conduct frequent re-evaluations of the services and then adjust them as necessary. As your loved one ages and his or her health changes, services will be adjusted as to provide effective care. The manager plays an important role in making sure that your loved one has a high quality of life and that all the moving pieces of their care are working toward that singular goal.
Many families wish they had known there were avenues to help the transition before they needed it. Don’t wait until it’s too late and you are already feeling the pressures of added responsibilities. There is no shame in asking for professional assistance when it comes to geriatric care management. Properly trained professionals can bring sense and calm to a stressful and uncertain time. They know all the in’s and out’s of caring for seniors. They understand the legal, financial and clinical aspects of care. Perhaps most importantly, they know how to navigate it all and make it work to your loved one’s best interests. That’s a winning formula for care.