Expert and Impartial Advice on Senior Care

The challenges:

  • You live in one state and the person who needs care or help with their affairs is in another state.
  • You want an impartial expert to occasionally check on your loved one and assess their health or living conditions.
  • You are already overwhelmed with your work and family responsibilities and want someone else to take over your care giving or decision making responsibilities.
  • You and your siblings are constantly at odds concerning care for your loved one. You desperately need an impartial expert to step in and offer expert advice.

The solution is a Geriatric Care Manager (GCM). They are possibly the best resource available for people giving or getting care and come from a variety of backgrounds including nursing, social work, physical, speech, and occupational therapy, and mental health.

Geriatric Care Managers are experts in assessing or evaluating the need for care and determining where that care is best provided and who might pay for the services.

Example: Your mom breaks her hip and is hospitalized. The Geriatric Care Manager comes to your mom’s hospital room and you have him or her

  • Monitor your mom’s care in the hospital.
  • Assist you in selecting the nursing home your mom will go to after her hospital stay.
  • Be at the nursing home when your mom is admitted and then serve as liaison with the nursing home staff.
  • Help you and your mom plan for her return home and determine if your mom needs home care and equipment like a hospital bed.
  • Arrange any required home care and perform a home safety check.
  • Monitor your mom’s home care and health.

Example: Carol, a 75-year-old woman, lives with her 82-year-old husband Bob. Carol falls, breaks her hip and will be out of their home for weeks.

Carol’s daughter is a dentist in private practice, living 900 miles away. The daughter arranges for a Geriatric Care Manager who:

  • Evaluates the family and home situation in place before Carol breaks her hip. The Geriatric Care Manager asks, “Was Carol helping anyone?” It turns out that Carol was managing medications for her husband and someone will need to do that while Carol is hospitalized.
  • Checks in on both Carol and Bob. She arranges for a home care provider to come in daily to cook meals for Bob and make sure he is taking his medication.

The ideal situation is for us to talk to a Geriatric Care Manager well before any crisis hits. It may feel awkward suggesting to your parents that they meet with a Geriatric Care Manager to discuss how to prepare for things that might happen in the future. However, it might turn out to be a huge relief for all involved to have a discussion with an expert guide.

Geriatric Care Managers perform evaluations (also called assessments) of individuals who may be in need of care. It can be as basic assessment or a full assessment. A basic assessment usually includes:

  • Physical ability – Can the person perform the ADLs and how is their overall mobility?
  • Cognition – Does the person appear to have some sort of cognitive impairment?
  • Location – Is the home hazard free, clean and in good condition? What support currently exists?

If key warning signs appear during a basic assessment a full assessment is performed. With a full assessment, the Geriatric Care Manager visits more than once and at different times of day and includes conversations with other family members, caregivers and medical providers. This helps the Geriatric Care Manager in obtaining a complete picture of the situation. Multiple visits at a variety of times are also important because:

  • They offer a better chance to see the real condition of the person (it is difficult for people to hide cognitive conditions over a long period of time). It is not uncommon to discover someone who appears fine during the first visit, however, has not changed their clothes by the second visit. Multiple visits also give the chance to check if the patient has refilled prescriptions or is contradicting earlier statements.
  • People can function differently at various times of day. Some people may be able to do all the ADLs in the morning but not later in the day when a physical condition like arthritis may slow them down. Also, many types of severe cognitive impairments get worse starting in the late afternoon and going into the evening, something called “sun downing”.

To find a Geriatric Care Manager click here.