Is There Such a Thing as a Geriatric Health Manager?
Is there such a thing as a geriatric health manager? My parents are in their late 80's, in relatively good health, but I would like somebody to do an evaluation to see what services would be benefit them. They called the local Elder Care Services office and were told that because of their income level (too high), they were not eligible for any of their services. I live at a distance, so I cannot be there for doctors' appointments. etc. Mother does not drive anymore and Father is the one who is developing health problems, needs doctors visits, etc.. He was the primary driver.
Yes, there are geriatric health managers, often called geriatric or senior case or care managers, and they certainly can help you assess your parents, even from a distance. Many are social workers, psychologists, or nurses and work as consultants, charging per hour. Some work for agencies, hospitals, or senior nonprofit organizations. Geriatric managers usually operate as planners or organizers, identifying and coordinating all the care your parents might need, from housing to medical. It sounds like your parents might be able to afford hiring a manager, at least for a one-time consultation. It also sounds like this is a practical way for you to get information, and a good way for you to get peace of mind.
Hiring a geriatric care manager is like hiring anyone to do a personal service. You should interview a few people, and choose who you like best. To find candidates start by asking your parents' medical providers. You may also want to ask family friends in the community where your parents live; the local senior center or churches. Referrals are extremely helpful, but you can also do an internet search, or look in the old-fashioned phone book. Caring.com's eldercare directory is another excellent way to find local geriatric care managers. Most urban areas have many geriatric care managers; it's a growing field. It's certainly possible for you to hire someone from afar, by phone. But you might want to consider visiting your parents to make a final selection, as nothing can quite replace meeting in person.
If you check the phone book section that contains the various government agencies and phone numbers, you will find many listings for services that offer recommendations for various care levels.
"nursing,""residential Care Services" for example.
You need to get some help and to talk with the appropriate professionals. My mom and dad both passed away about 10 yrs ago (at home, by the way). I can't tell you how frustrating it was to be unable to find a place for either of them to live comfortably and get good care...so they stayed home and I moved in with them for several months. Fortunately I had power of Attorney for both of them. Good thing.
I would discourage you from sending out requests for help from complete strangers. Try a State Agency or, if possible, the pastor of your local church.
I own an in-home care agency in Mount Vernon, Washington, North Cascade Right at Home. As an ongoing part of our business we maintain a care plan. We work closely with our client, family caregivers, and the client's doctors to keep the care plan current. This, I believe, is one of the benefits of paying a little more for an agency home care aide.
We provide wellness checks for about fifty dollars per visit. The price may vary a bit for folks who live in remote locations where milage fees would come into play. This is an ideal service for seniors who are still active but the family caregivers are beginning to worry about how their loved one is doing. We provide another set of eyes to help the family head off any developing health and safety concerns proactively.
I do frequently encourage families to use Independent Geriatric Care Managers. The Care Managers that I refer to are always certified professionals and they are generally a person who has a Masters degree in social work (MSW) or a Registered Nurse (RN). Independent Care Managers can be particularly helpful when trying to solve complex situations. For example, all of the family members may not be in agreement about how an aging loved one should be cared for and what the best setting for care should be. The Geriatric Care Manager provides an objective set of eyes on the situation. A great resource for finding an Independent Geriatric Care Manager is the Web site for the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (http://www.caremanager.org/).
I own a geriatric care management company called Geriatric Care Consultants in the Los Angeles area. I am a solo practitioner who is nationally certified as a care manager and I hold an advanced degree in gerontology. In-home or in-facilities are often necessary when the family does not know the next step and they need someone who is professionally trained to do the evaluation, care plan, and implementation of the care plan. We are specially trained to understand the medical, social, psychological and spiritual factors involved in helping families in crises make care decisions. I am a member of NAPGCM (national Ass. of professional geriatric Care Managers) and we often do peer conferences ongoing continuing education and a part of a larger network of GCM's across the country to help us collaborate on challenging cases. We (professional) are strictly private pay and GCM's at our caliber charge from $100-200 an hour-so it isn't inexpensive. But well worth it in the long run saving family time and money.
Jennifer E. Voorlas M.S.G C.M.C President Geriatric Care Consultants www.geriatriccareconsultants.com
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