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Choosing a Geriatric Care Manager

Aging Life Care Professionals

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Geriatric Care Manager meeting with senior couple. 

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A Geriatric Care Manager coordinates care and services to meet the full social, emotional, physical, and healthcare needs of your loved one. Geriatric Care Managers do not specialize in all areas so it is important to find out whether a specific care manager has experience in dealing with your specific needs.

An Aging Life Care Professional, also known as a geriatric care manager, is a health and human services specialist who acts as a guide and advocate for families who are caring for older relatives or disabled adults.

Making the decision as to which geriatric care manager a family chooses can seem like a daunting task. Such an important role should be carefully thought out, and there are many factors that could influence a senior's decision, or that of his or her loved ones.

Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a care professional.

  • Credentials. When it comes to selecting a care manager, credentials are just as important as they would be when choosing a doctor. Families will want a GCM who is experienced and knowledgeable, as well as one who holds the right certifications. A crucial factor to check is that the care manager is a certified member of the Aging Life Care Association (ALCA) - not an associate member.
  • Availability. One critical part of senior care is the ability to respond to any potential emergencies in a timely manner. For this reason, it's essential that a family's GCM has an availability that is convenient and matches the needs of the senior. It's likely that the care manager will be involved with most major medical processes, including emergency response, so selecting a GCM who doesn't have around-the-clock availability may not be the best choice.
  • Personal factors. In addition to knowledge, training and specialization, there is a whole other dimension of interpersonal factors that must be considered. A GCM will spend a great deal of time interacting not just with a senior but with his or her family as well, so it's important that there is positive chemistry between all parties involved.

Services Provided by a Care Manager

  • Assess needs to identify problems and eligibility for assistance;
  • Screen, arrange, and monitor in-home help or other services;
  • Review financial, legal, or medical issues for wise care choices;
  • Provide telephone support, personal visits and crisis intervention;
  • Coordinate care;
  • Act as a liaison to families at a distance, and local professionals;
  • Assist in establishing parameters to help people determine when itís time for more services or move to or from a retirement complex, care home, or nursing home;
  • Providing consumer education and advocacy;
  • Offering counseling and support;
  • Serve as a single access point to community resources for seniors;

Costs

Geriatric Care Managers charge clients in a variety of ways, but typically their hourly rates are between $50-$200 / hr. Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance very rarely pay for these costs, long term care insurance might, but most often this is an out-of-pocket cost.

In addition to the convenience and security they provide, Care Managers usually save families money despite being an out-of-pocket cost because their needs assessments align an individualís present condition with only those services that are necessary at that point in time. This prevents unnecessary fees from home care providers and assisted living residences. Costs Source: www.payingforseniorcare.com

Important Questions to Ask a Care Management Company

It is important for the wise consumer to ask questions. Some of these include:

  • What are the primary services provided by your agency/business?

  • How many Aging Life Care Professionals are in your agency/business?

  • Is there a fee for the initial consultation and, if so, how much?

  • What are your professional credentials?

  • Are you licensed in your profession?

  • How long have you been providing aging life care or care management services?

  • Are you available for emergencies?

  • Does your company also provide home care services?

  • How do you communicate information?

  • What are your fees? (These should be provided to the consumer/responsible party in writing prior to services starting.)

  • Can you provide me with references?

The answers to your questions will assist you in determining whether that particular Aging Life Care Professional and agency/business has the qualifications important to you for a successful relationship. If you have a specific issue that requires immediate attention, be sure to inform the Aging Life Care Professional of this during the initial conversation.

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DISCLAIMER: Links to other websites or references to products, services or publications do not imply the endorsement or approval of such websites, products, services or publications by Elder Options of Texas. The determination of the need for senior care services and the choice of a facility is an extremely important decision. Please make your own independent investigation.

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