What is Geriatric Care Management?

If you are caring for a senior, geriatric care management is something you should know about. It is the discipline of coordinating all care that a senior is receiving. It provides important coordination and communication between all parties. Geriatric care managers are advocates for older adults. They are trained to assess, plan and coordinate services for seniors and their families. They are a fountain of information and can help families to integrate healthcare, psychological care, housing, home care services, nutritional services and more. In short, geriatric care management holds the potential to make your life easier and your senior’s life better.

Read more: I wish I had known about this service years ago.

When care is coordinated a senior’s quality of life can improve. Services are selected appropriately and delivered at the right time and in the right way. Seniors with physical and/or mental impairments have their needs cared for and plans are put in place for supporting them as their condition worsens. Geriatric care managers know the entire care landscape and can help to ensure that the senior remains as independent as possible for as long as possible. Then, when additional support and a change in living circumstances is required, plans can be made for that as well.

The author of an article published in the New York Times in 2008 related the reason she hired a geriatric care manager when her mother was in a nursing home.

“We weren’t rolling in money, but the care manager helped solve a series of complex problems that I doubt I’d have solved by myself, mostly involving brokering a compromise with the facility, whose management wouldn’t let me hire a private aide for my mom but could not provide what she needed.”

“Relations had soured to the point that all I could do was scream at them, which was making a bad situation worse, so having an advocate was a blessing. Also, the care manager, who visited regularly with my mother, often was privy to concerns she was keeping from me, and she was always there for me by telephone, which was a lifesaver.”

As a caregiver, you can only do so much. Even with the best of intentions and a full-time approach to caregiving you can’t know all the resources that are available. Your loved one will receive a comprehensive in-home assessment and a geriatric care manager has the credentials to conduct one. A geriatric care assessment can take place during one in-home visit with your loved one and includes conversations with family members. The assessment looks at a wide range of factors including:

  • Personal values and preferences
  • Physical health and medications
  • Emotional health
  • Functional abilities
  • Home and neighborhood safety
  • Cognitive ability
  • Risk factors
  • Socialization needs
  • Review of insurance, legal and financial issues

It is a comprehensive assessment that looks at the many factors that comprise quality of life. It also gives the geriatric care manager the information necessary to develop a comprehensive care plan for the senior and begin to line up appropriate support services.

These services can be of enormous support and help to family members that are striving to care for a loved one, but lack the resources to do so. Geriatric care managers can also become a confidante to a senior who doesn’t want to tell his or her children everything. As the reporter for the New York Times said, “The care manager visited regularly with my mother and was often privy to concerns she was keeping from me.” That is invaluable help and information that will help to keep the senior healthy and living a high quality of life for as long as possible.

Keep reading: Three ways that a geriatric care manager supports caregivers »

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