Aging presents a new set of challenges for many as they experience physical and cognitive changes. There are a myriad of options available to meet ones changing needs; however, trying to navigate and make the best decisions can be an overwhelming task. This, coupled with the fact that time and resources may be limited, can make a challenging situation even worse.
Although some older adults have family nearby, many do not. It’s not uncommon for the nearest relative to live hundreds of miles away making active support difficult. Many families are reaching out and hiring a Geriatric Care Manager.
A Geriatric Care Manager wears many hats by serving as a consultant, navigator, coordinator, liaison, and expert advocate. They have the knowledge, experience and professional partnerships necessary to effectively navigate the complexities of aging. Their past education or experience often relates to nursing, social work, gerontology or other health services. They follow a professional code of conduct and ethics, which are designed to ensure their aging clients remain at the center of their unbiased guidance.
A Geriatric Care Manager offers a holistic perspective by not only considering a client’s physical needs, but their cognitive, emotional, spiritual, financial, and social needs as well. They can provide an assessment of the current situation; establish a care plan; offer recommendations; make referrals, coordinate care services and schedule appointments; monitor care; attend medical appointments and care team meetings; assist with selecting a facility for short-term or long-term care needs; provide family mediation; review financial entitlement options; and much more.
The right GCM is one who serves as an extension of family. They serve as the eyes, ears and voice for older adults. You can find a local Geriatric Care Manager by going to www.caremanager.org.
Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Melinda R. Bixler, a Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Elder Healthcare Solutions, LLC.