by Margaret Wallace, LSW
Geriatric Care Managers, also known as Care Consultants, Care Coordinators or Elder Care Managers are professionals who specialize in working with seniors and their families to coordinate their care needs. A Geriatric Care Manager may be a nurse, social worker, counselor, psychologist or gerontologist who has training and experience specifically in working with older people. Geriatric Care Managers help with short-term projects or can be involved in a more on-going relationship. Geriatric Care Managers offer a large variety of services to assist older people and their families in meeting their care needs.
Geriatric Care Managers can:
- Assess current strengths and potential needs to determine what, if any, assistance is needed to help the senior live as independently as possible
- Research and arrange community resources, such as home management or home health care services, transportation or meal services
- Facilitate family meetings regarding care thereby enabling families to reach consensus on caregiving solutions
- Review financial and legal issues and offer referrals to specialists in estate planning, asset conservation, elder law and related professions
- Evaluate current and potential living options, accompany family on tours of facilities and coordinate moving
- Act as a liaison and the “eyes and ears” for out-of-town/unavailable family members, keeping them up-to-date on the senior's status
- Advocate with doctors and health care providers to ensure understanding and approval of the treatment and approach provided
- Attend appointments and ensure information is relayed in a timely manner
- Assist with organization and submission of health insurance claims, forms and medical bills to ensure maximizing of benefits
- Act as an advocate for the senior, especially those residing in long-term care facilities
- Offer counseling and support for both seniors and caregivers
Most Geriatric Care Management services are not covered by long term care, private, or Medicare/Medicaid insurance policies at this time. Fees are negotiated with the company and vary based on services requested.
Geriatric Care Managers are highly knowledgeable of the issues specifically facing seniors and their caregivers and are experienced in accessing and using resources efficiently. Working with a Geriatric Care Manager can be the key to remaining as independent as possible for as long as possible.
To learn more go to http://www.aginglifecare.org/. Geriatric Care Managers can also be found by referral through your doctor, financial planner or other professional; through a nursing home or assisted living facility; by word of mouth; or in the phone book/Internet directory.
One Geriatric Care Management company is Pathfinders and they can be reached at www.pathfindergcm.com/ and 612-729-9096.