How Geriatric Care Managers Can Help Busy Caregivers

Geriatric care managers, or care coordinators, are a hot new health care area. Researching and coordinating all of the care options for seniors is time consuming. Many services are locally administered, even if they are federally subsidized. Other services are totally dependent on where the senior lives. If the adult child of the senior or other primary caregiver lives at a distance from the care receiver, it can become nearly impossible to research and track all of the options and check up on the care receiver's needs.

For many adult children who work outside of the home in addition to their caregiving duties, even if they live in the same area as their elders, the time all of the research and coordination of the elders' care can be too large a drain. Many would rather use their precious time visiting with their parents, rather than juggling red-tape laden paperwork.

Geriatric Care Managers: A Relatively New Profession

The profession of geriatric care coordinator or manager - they go by various names - is a profession that has evolved out of an obvious need. There are legions of harried caregivers, social workers and nurses have a front row view into what a caregiver's life is like. Some of these professionals came to believe that maybe they could make a profession out of helping these caregivers. These entrepreneurs hung out their shingles and a profession was born.

Geriatric Care Managers are not Uniformly Credentialed

Most geriatric care managers are social workers, nurses or others who have worked in the elder care field. Agencies such as in-home care, assisted living and nursing homes, generally have care coordinators for use within their agencies. We are looking, here, at people who coordinate care for an elder throughout the spectrum of agencies.

Credentials and regulations have yet to hit this industry, and in general, they do charge fairly steep fees. So, ask for references, and ask also what qualifies them to do what they do. If they just happen to "like seniors," well, that's nice but not enough. They don't have to be nurses or social workers, but they should have some experience behind them to show you that they know the ropes - preferably better than you do. The references should be from people who have been happy with their work. Ask for more than one reference and check them all. You can even call local agencies and see if they can give you a referral.

Read more about: geriatric care for seniors
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Over the span of two decades, author, columnist, consultant and speaker Carol Bradley Bursack cared for a neighbor and six elderly family members. Her experiences inspired her to pen, "Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories," a portable support group book for caregivers.

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