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What Is A Geriatric Care Manager? Everything You Need To Know! (Ep #012)

 

Imagine you live in DC and your aging parent lives alone in Michigan and needs support and resources. You’ve been to visit your parent a few times to help get them set up with services, but you’re finding it more and more difficult to take the time off work and leave your life in DC every month, not to mention that the cost of travel is weighing you down...

AND, when you get to Michigan you have no idea of where to start looking for the resources your aging parent needs.

On the third trip to see your parent, you think you have everything set up, only to return home to DC to discover that there are countless other needs your parent has. You’re in a bind! You can’t take any more time off of work, you have to manage your own needs in DC, and at the same time, you know that your aging parent needs your help! 


This is where a Geriatric Care Manager can come in! 


In this Blog/Video I am going to walk you through everything you need to know about Geriatric Care Managers! 

 

 

What is a Geriatric Care Manager?

A Geriatric Care Manager is typically a licensed nurse, social worker, or master’s level gerontologist who specializes in older adults and who is familiar with common needs and concerns older adults and their families are facing. 

 

Geriatric Care Managers are very familiar with the community resources available to support you and your aging parents. 

 

They are specially trained to help find resources to make life for you and your aging parent easier. They also help you plan for what may be in store in the future.

 

Some people call Geriatric Care Managers a "professional relative" who can help you and your family to identify needs and find ways to meet your needs.

 

They can be especially helpful if you're a long-distance caregiver and live far away from your aging parents! Or, if you live near by, but don't have much time. OR, if you have a super complicated relationship with your parent and it's healthier for your relationship to hire someone else to help!

 

Geriatric Care Managers have many names:

  • Geriatric Care Manager
  • Geriatric Care Consultant
  • Geriatric Care Expert
  • Aging Life Care Expert
  • Aging Life Care Consultant.

And so many others.  For the purposes of this blog, I’ll be using the traditional Geriatric Care Manager.

 

 What Do Geriatric Care Managers Actually Do?

Geriatric care managers do a variety of things to help older adults and their families.

As you set out to find a Geriatric Care Manager, you'll want to ask questions to be clear about exactly what the Geriatric Care Manager you are interviewing does.

Some of their services may include:

  • Initial assessment to identify you aging parents needs (this tends to be the most expensive cost and can range from a couple hundred to $1,000)
  • Develop and Provide an Aging Care Plan
  • Provide education about aging and older adult needs
  • Discuss difficult topics and complex issues
  • Make home visits and suggesting services
  • Assess in-home care needs to help your parents age in place safely
  • Provide emotional support
  • Help you or your parents to select care staff
  • Coordinate medical services
  • Evaluate senior housing options
  • Provide you with support and reassurance

 

How Much Does A Geriatric Care Manager Cost?

 
The cost of an initial evaluation varies and may be pretty expensive (like from a couple hundred dollars to more than $1,000). But, depending on your family circumstances, it may just be worth it!
 
Geriatric care managers charge by the hour and each set their own rate. It's important to note that most insurance plans DO NOT cover Geriatric Care Management. Meaning that you'll likely have to pay out of pocket. But, call your insurance and ask anyway, just to be sure!
 
 

How Do I Find A Geriatric Care Manager?

 
1. Call your local Area Agency on Aging and ask for recommendations
 
Ask for a list of Geriatric Care Manager/ Aging Life Care Expert. I explain how to do this in the first item above!
 
Simply link to this eldercare locator, put in your parent's zip code, and contact the aging agencies they list. Get started here!
 

2. Call your local chapter of a specific "illness" agency and ask for recommendations
 
This can be especially helpful if you're already involved in support services through an agency.
 
If you are affiliated, call and ask a local counselor. Or,  if you attend a support group, ask members of the group if they have worked with any Geriatric Care Managers who they recommend!
 
Here are a couple of examples of what I'm referring to:
 
3. Join a local Facebook caregiving group & ask for recommendations.
 
Ask fellow Facebook Group Members for recommendations for a Geriatric Care Manager.
 
If there's no Facebook Caregiving group in the region that you are looking for support and services in, you may just think about starting one yourself! I'm confident that you are not the only caregiver in the area needing support and resources!
 
 
As I mentioned earlier, Aging Life Care Expert is the new name for Geriatric Care Manager.  The Aging Life Care Association is the accrediting association for Geriatric Care Managers. On their website, they describe their ethics code, the certification process, and provide an overview of the field of Geriatric Care Managers.
 
They also have a search engine to help you find a Geriatric Care Manager here!
 
 

And FINALLY, What Do You Need to Look For in A Geriatric Care Manager?

 
The Aging Life Care Association recommends that you ONLY work with a LICENSED Geriatric Care Manager.

They also recommend that when you first speak with a Geriatric Care Manager that you ask the following questions:

  • 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?
  • Are you able to help me find senior housing options?
  • How will you communicate information with me?
  • 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? (I suggest that you ask for 3 references)

You can learn more about working with Geriatric Care Managers here, or you can call the Aging Life Care Association directly at 1-520-881-8008.

 
As you can see there are some pros and cons to working with a Geriatric Care Manager
 
Pros: They're licensed providers that can help you with more than housing. This can be especially helpful if you're a long distance caregiver, if you have a complicated relationship with your aging parent, or if you simply don't have the time to assist.
 
Cons: Working with Geriatric Care Managers can be expensive. You'll likely be paying out of pocket. You'll need to spend time making sure that the care manager is licensed and a good fit for you, your parents,  and can address your parents' specific needs.
 
That’s all for today! I hope you found this overview of Geriatric Care Managers Helpful!

Lots of love to you and your family! Bye for now! 

Dr. Regina Koepp

 

PS: I have no affiliation with any Geriatric Care Manager or the Aging Life Care Association. I simply wanted to share this information with you so that you have options when it comes to caring for your aging parents!

I'm Dr. Regina Koepp!

I'm a Stanford trained, Board Certified Clinical Psychologist specializing with older adults and families! I'm an Assistant Professor at Emory University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and a staff Psychologist at the Atlanta VA Health Care System. I'm a mom of two little kids and a daughter to aging parents.

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