Geriatric Care Management

What is a geriatric care manager?

A professional geriatric care manager is a specialist who has expertise on issues related to aging and elder care.  They usually have a degree in the field of health and human services (social work, psychology, nursing, gerontology, counseling, rehabilitation) and are familiar with the community services available in their locale.  They work with older adults or their families to develop a “Plan of Care” that will meet the specific needs of the older adult.  They help families understand their loved one’s needs and the available options.  Care managers strive to treat older adults with respect, compassion and sensitivity, while maximizing their well-being and safety.

When should you consider a geriatric care manager?

  • You are concerned about the safety and well-being of a family member and want a professional assessment of their care needs
  • The demands of your own work schedule make it difficult for you to adequately deal with the health care needs of your family member
  • You are overwhelmed with your caregiving duties for a spouse or loved one
  • You are an out-of-town, adult child or relative of a frail senior and don’t know where to begin locating services for your family member
  • You are going on vacation and need someone to monitor your family member in your absence
  • Your recently widowed mother or father is unable to handle personal affairs and needs someone reliable and professional for oversight and support
  • You see the need for one person to coodinate all services for your relative and communicate with all service providers and physicians
  • You need assistance in transitioning your loved one to a new residence and need someone to make arrangements for all or some aspects of the move

What does a geriatric care manager do?

  • The first step is to conduct an in-home assessment of the older adult and identify care needs and options available.  This is usually provided to the concerned family in the form of a written care plan.  It covers such topics as: nutritional needs,  home safety, mental health, functional abilities, memory status, need for legal and/or financial assistance.  Recommendations are made and may include suggestions for home modifications, purchase of home safety equipment, medical referrals, information on the cost of long-term care options, names of agencies that supply caregivers, local support organizations, etc.  A phone or face-to-face conference occurs after the family has had time to review the care plan.
  • The family can decide which options they would like to pursue from the care plan themselves or can engage the care manager in arranging for implementation of any or all of the recommendations from the written care plan
  • In lieu of an in-home assessment, the care manager can provide phone consultations or arrange for a family conference to discuss long term care options.  Many recommendations can be provided through this type of contact with a geriatric care manager.