Caring for an elderly loved one can be quite a daunting task, particularly if you live far away or have other competing responsibilities, like work or a young family. There are thousands of people in this situation. The media refers to some as the Sandwich Generation, caught between two generations of family that need them. If you are in this predicament, there are professionals available to help you make the important decisions and arrange for the care of your loved one. There are doctors, elder care lawyers, social workers and a relatively new breed of professionals, Geriatric Care Managers. Selecting the best care solution for your loved one is critical and selecting the right Care Manager can help achieve that goal.
What is a Aging Life Care Manager?
An Aging Life Care Manager is an individual who specializes in helping families who are caring for older relatives. These professionals are often trained in other fields like nursing, gerontology, social work, psychology or a more business oriented field, like finances. They apply this background knowledge to issues related to aging and caring for the elderly.
Trying to make the best decisions about care-giving can be difficult for you and your aging loved one. Asking for help is a big step. There are many organizations and professionals that can help you. A Aging Life Care Manager is just one of your options.
Aging Life Care Management is a rapidly developing, newly recognized profession which helps families adjust and cope with the challenges of an aging loved one.
Aging Life Care Manager’s are health advocates for seniors and disabled adults. Managers provide needs assessments, screening, arranging, and monitoring in-home help, counseling and support including family conflict mediation and crisis intervention. They assess the ability to remain safely in the home or whether the person may need to be relocated to an alternative residence. Determining appropriate living arrangements and necessary supportive assistance are among the many services they offer. Additionally, managers’s help to facilitate legal, financial, medical and end of life services.
Aging Life Care Managers become liaisons to families who are separated by long distances from their elderly loved ones making sure they are managing well,
and alerting them to any concerns or problems that may arise. Managers’s have extensive knowledge about the services and resources in their communities.
Aging Life Care Managers hold Bachelor Degrees, Masters Degrees, or Doctorates in a human service related field such as Gerontology, Social Work, Psychology, or Nursing. As the aging
population continues to grow, the need for strict Aging Life Care standards is increasingly critical.
The National Association of Aging Life Care Managers recognizes the following credentials as exceeding the standard of expertise in being a Aging Life Care Manager;
CMC, CCM, A-CSW & C-SWCM. The certification exam to be a CMC is facilitated by the National Association of Certified Care Managers (NACCM). These certifications re-quire testing, ongoing continuing education and peer review in order to re-certify.
Because there are some individuals working either independently or for a different professional and who refer to themselves as “Care Managers”, it is important for the wise consumer to ask questions when considering hiring a PCM. Some of these questions include:
How much experience does Aging Life CareManager have in healthcare?
When selecting either a Professional Care Management Agency or an Individual, the process should be comprehensive and cautious. The answers to your questions will assist you in
determining whether that particular Agency or Sole Proprietor has the qualifications important to you for a successful relationship.
There can be different expectations from those involved pertaining to Care Management. It is the responsibility of the one hiring a care manager to verbalize their expectations and have an understanding with the care manager so a trusting relationship can be built. This relationship is vital for the Aging Life Care Manager to produce positive outcomes.
An Aging Life Care manager is a professional who specializes in helping older people and their families with long-term care arrangements. Aging Life Care managers often have training in gerontology, social work, nursing or counseling. They also have extensive knowledge about the cost, quality and availability of services in an older person’s community.
Very often children take on the responsibility of looking after their parents as they grow older. While this is admirable, the increasing complexity of health and financial issues facing today’s elderly can become overwhelming. And the stress of trying to negotiate the maze of financial and health-related issues can often put strain on the parent-children relationship.
A geriatric care manager (GCM) can help. A GCM will look after the client’s finances search and apply for helpful programs and benefits, and administrate claims on insurance and Medicare. They can use their experience and contacts to suggest high quality assisted living facilities, in-home care providers, and nursing homes should the need arise. A GCM can also help locate reputable legal help for estate planning, wills, powers of attorney, health care directives, and Medicaid. When children live too far away or lack the considerable time it takes to care for a loved one, a GCM can even do shopping, pay bills, balance the checkbook, and protect a senior from scams.
The primary benefit of a good GCM is peace of mind, but choose with great care. Unscrupulous individuals are out there, so be certain your GCM has a spotless reputation. Monitor the GCM’s handling of your loved one’s affairs closely. An excellent resource is the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers website, www.caremanager.org.
HERE ARE THINGS to consider when enlisting the services of a Aging Life Care manager: