Senior citizens, those aged 65 and older, number 46.2 million. We are living longer and will need healthcare as we age. A geriatric care manager can help.
Older adults make up 14.5 percent of the U.S. population and continue to grow, according to the Administration on Aging. By 2060, that number will double in size.
Finding the services we need as we get older and going through the maze of what’s available can be confusing and overwhelming. That’s where geriatric care managers come in. Also known as elder care and aging care managers, these professionals will guide you and adult family members through the gauntlet of services and programs that you’ll need.
Educated in social work, psychology, nursing, and gerontology, geriatric care managers understand the system, even though it can be trying at times. Hiring one takes an enormous weight off adult children of older parents. “I’m what they call the sandwich generation,” Janet Rowe said. “I have two teenagers and an elderly mom. I thought I could handle getting my mom the services she needs. It was overwhelming. A friend recommended someone who is helping her mom with her medical bills. He’s saving her money.”
“I was a bit worried about spending money on something that I thought I could do,” she said. “If you factor in the time that it takes to research various health options and services for your elderly parents and the time spent waiting on the phone, it’s ridiculous. I could be working and spending my time more productively. Hiring someone who knows the system way better than I do makes perfect sense. My mom’s care manager is saving me time and money.”
If you are considering hiring a geriatric care manager, talk to your parent’s doctor or get a recommendation from a friend. Look for a geriatric care manager who can do the following:
- Develop a care plan and a plan for long-term services as you move forward.
- Make sure there are no glitches in the plan and that everything is running smoothly.
- Make sure the provided services are done in a safe and friendly manner, so the recipient is comfortable.
- Become an advocate for the patient and resolve family issues regarding long-term care.
- Keep out-of-town family members informed of all medical and managed care decisions.
- Check to see that all services are up-to-date and that ongoing assessments are monitored.
- Oversee all home care visits
- Communicate to all parties involved regarding services.
- Provide personal counseling for the patient.
- Help with all Medicaid and other medical applications.
- Find any needed legal and financial advisors to help.
- Assist families with placement in assisted living facilities or nursing homes and monitor care once a family member is in one of these facilities.
- Monitor medications.
- Assist with transportation to and from medical appointments.
“Having someone to help with my aging parents made my life better,” said Karen Babbitt, a mother of three teenagers. Her parents are in their 80s. “My dad’s health is going,” she said. “My mom thought that she could handle it, but, honestly, she can’t. My dad has diabetes and has trouble walking.”
Babbitt’s mom can administer medications and insulin shots. What she can’t do is lift her husband when he has to get up. “I live about an hour away,” Babbitt said. “I can’t get there all the time because my youngest is 13 and I have to drive him to soccer games and other afterschool activities. Hiring a geriatric care manager just made everything so much easier.”
She interviewed a handful of geriatric care managers that were recommended to her from her parent’s doctor. “My parents like her, and so do we,” said Babbitt. “Plus, she is saving me so much time. It’s worth it financially.”
Paying for services is often on a sliding scale. Rates can range from as low as $50 an hour to as high as $200. Medicare, Medicaid, and most health insurers don’t cover these costs. Geriatric care managers can help save you money because they will outline the cost of the needed services and look for the most affordable options.
March 08, 2017
Janet O’Dell, RN