Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging. You need to know how to provide care in a way that meets their needs, especially in the presence of chronic or worsening health conditions. If you are the long-distance caregiver you will need to find resources and support in a community that is miles away from you, complicating matters even further. Where are you supposed to find all of these things and who can help? The answer is a geriatric care manager.
The bottom line is that geriatric care managers make a caregiver’s life easier. They are professionals who have an in-depth knowledge of health care and all the complex systems that weave around and through it including health insurance, referrals, housing and transportation support, transfers to specialty and rehabilitation care, financial issues and more. Here is how a caregiver and/or the family work with a geriatric care manager it results in better caregiving for the senior:
A Comprehensive Plan of Care
You want to ensure that you are providing care that meets the specific requirements of the disease or illness your loved one is suffering from. A comprehensive Plan of Care, put together by an advanced-degree geriatric care manager in coordination with your loved one’s providers, will provide that road map for you. The home care assessment evaluates your loved one’s needs in order to give them as full and healthy a life as possible. The assessment looks at the following areas concerning your senior loved one:
- Personal values and preferences
- Physical health and medications
- Emotional health
- Functional abilities
- Home and neighborhood safety
- Cognitive ability
- Risk factors for falls, nutrition, depression, and isolation
- Socialization needs
- Review of insurance, legal, and financial issues
- Quality-of-life concerns
Unbiased advice to explore all options
Once the Plan of Care is in place, the geriatric care manager will help you and your family to make the best choices for the best care. It can be a daunting task to figure out which providers are best, which day care is reputable and will be enjoyed by your loved one, or which long term care facility will deliver the best care. The geriatric care manager will use his or her years of experience in social work, nursing, gerontology and/or mental health to find the highest quality care that specifically meets the needs of the senior.
A geriatric care manager helps you make great decisions, especially when a family is confronted with:
- A loved one who is resistant to care
- A new health diagnosis
- Conflicting family goals
- Medication noncompliance
- Dementia or chronic illness
- Family living at a distance
- Difficult life transitions
- Diminishing financial resources
- High caregiver turnover or burnout
Help with coordinating a loved one’s care
As a long-distance caregiver it is difficult to know if a loved one is receiving the quality care they deserve if you can’t see if for yourself. A geriatric care manager can be your eyes and ears and ensure that the Plan of Care is being implemented. Their senior network will give you access to the right resources you need to support your loved one from a distance.Their services save long-distance caregivers time and money and give them peace of mind.
A geriatric care manager understands the medical community as well as the senior care and affiliated health service community. He or she can connect your loved one to the public services they need for food, housing and transportation.
- Help with relocating family members, the caregiver, or the senior by finding realtors, move managers, placement agencies, and care facilities.
- Access public benefits through government and private programs.
- Connect the senior with senior services in the community.
- Find In-home assistance including caregivers and interventions that allow seniors to age in place.
- Legal, financial, and insurance matters.
- Protection services to address and prevent potential elder abuse, neglect, and undue influence.
- Caregiver support including educational materials, community organizations, support groups, and other resources for family caregivers.
- Medical, mental health, and allied services.
Don’t try to be a caregiver on your own. Providing full-time care while juggling the demands of your personal and work life can lead to caregiver burnout. If you rely on a geriatric care manager for support, you will have the strong foundation you need to provide great care to your loved one.