A geriatric care manager (GCM), also known as a care coordinator or an “Aging Life Care Professional,” is a valuable resource that seniors and their caregivers have been slow to adopt. These professionals are skilled in using a client-centered approach for healthcare management, finding and maximizing resources for seniors, and coordinating transitional care. Busy and long-distance caregivers can hire a GCM to supplement their efforts, provide expert guidance and keep an eye on their aging loved ones.
A care manager is typically educated in relevant fields such as gerontology, nursing, psychology and social work and can lend their expertise to families who are overwhelmed with the caregiving process and/or a loved one’s chronic illness. They will devise a comprehensive senior care plan for the family and physicians to follow, and their assistance can relieve family members of some of their caregiving duties. These services help to prevent caregiver burnout and maximize a loved one’s functional ability and quality of life.
Depending on each care manager’s background, education and experience, they are able to offer their clients a wide range of services. As a senior and their family members try to navigate changes in health, living arrangements, safety and legal and financial needs, a geriatric care coordinator can assist with many of the following challenges.
GCMs typically accompany their clients to doctor’s appointments, organize records and assist the client and their caregiver(s) in adhering to medical orders.
A GCM typically does not have firsthand legal experience, but can consult with or refer their clients to a local elder law attorney for guidance and necessary documents. They will also advocate for a client’s care and wellbeing across all care settings.
In conjunction with managing care, a GCM will also assist with carefully supervising a client’s financial situation. They can assist a financial POA with bill paying, budgeting and more.
GCMs can help connect families with financial aid and help them apply for programs like Medicaid and VA benefits as well as local and community based assistance.
Since a GCM’s primary objective is their client’s mental and physical wellbeing, they can also focus on finding opportunities for social involvement and recreational activities in their area. These things are vital to an elder’s quality of life.
A GCM facilitates team work and communication in the execution of a loved one’s care plan. They are experienced in conflict resolution and provide counsel to seniors and their family members.
Ensuring that a client has a safe living environment is a large priority for GCMs. They will conduct a safety assessment and then make any recommendations for the addition of adaptive equipment, home modifications or a change in living situation.
Depending on a client’s unique care needs, budget and personality, a GCM will help them find independent living, assisted living, memory care or a nursing home that meets their requirements.
GCMs can assist family members in learning caregiving skills and use continuous assessments to recommend care plan improvements, such as in-home care services.
A GCM monitors and coordinates all of the above pieces of the caregiving puzzle in order to lighten the load on family caregivers.
Like lawyers, care managers can assess fees in many different ways. Some may bill on a monthly or weekly basis while others might require payment after the completion of certain objectives. The average rate for a geriatric care manager ranges from $50 to $200 per hour. It is important to note that clients may also be charged for caregiving supplies, mileage and other out-of-pocket expenses their consultant incurs while providing services.
When searching for and selecting an advisor to assist your loved one and your family, it is important to thoroughly vet each candidate. Below is a list of questions to ask a professional during an interview or initial consultation.
Learn more about how geriatric care management can benefit your family with these articles written by elder care experts and experienced caregivers.