Geriatric Care Managers: Who Are They And How Can They Help?
What does a geriatric care manager do?
A geriatric care manager specializes in helping elderly clients and their families sort through the variety of options for home-based and community care as well as housing needs. This can be a difficult task, especially for family members who are trying to participate in the care of their elderly relative but have other demands on their time or don’t live in close proximity.
Geriatric care managers can help navigate the choices for medical care, housing and other services. They know which housing options are appropriate for their clients’ particular needs and what resources are available for mental health care, chronic health care and disability care. They can also help clients and family members understand the role of health insurance as they make some of these choices. Geriatric care managers aim to optimize quality of life. Their goal is to make sure their clients maintain as much independence as they can, while minding safety and security.
What are their qualifications or certifications?
As for qualifications, qualified geriatric care managers need to obtain and maintain different licenses, according to their specialties and as required by state law. The various specialties include social work, nursing, gerontology, psychology and others. A decade ago, the Aging Life Care Association approved a requirement that all members must have at least one of four approved care management certifications. Many care managers also have degrees from top colleges and universities.
A “certified” geriatric care manager is a member of the Aging Life Care Association who has attained a number of credentials, including formal higher education, supervised work experience and professional certification. But there are a variety of other designations that a geriatric care manager may attain, including licensed social worker and certified registered nurse. For more information on the variety of professionals who work in this area and specific professional requirements, go to www.aginglifecare.org.
How can I find a geriatric care manager who will be a good fit for my family?
If you are considering hiring a geriatric care manager for a family member, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind when reviewing candidates for the job. You’ll want to review credentials and degrees, according to their area of specialization, and whether they are licensed in that profession. You’ll want to know what professional affiliations they have and how long they have worked in care management.
You’ll want to ask what specific services they provide, including at-home services, what their fees are, and whether they are available for emergencies. Lastly, you’ll want to know how they plan to communicate with you, your family and your elderly family member. References are also essential.
It all starts with a conversation.
This workbook can help.
Don’t wait until there's an emergency to have a conversation about the long-term care needs of aging parents. Download this free workbook that helps families begin the conversation.
Engaging Aging Parents
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