A Geriatric Care Manager: When To Hire One

A geriatric care manager provides specialized services for seniors and their families during the search for senior housing and senior care services.

Part social worker, part advocate and part educator, a certified geriatric care manager examines a senior’s situation holistically, considering important factors such as:

  • Mental health
  • Physical health
  • Financial resources
  • Personal preferences

Using this information as a starting point, the geriatric care manager acts as a knowledgeable and experienced guide, helping to identify a senior’s needs and determine the appropriate type, level and source of housing and care to help meet those needs.

How a Geriatric Care Manager Can Help

There are many benefits to working with a geriatric care manager. Here are some of the most common ways they can help:

  • Conduct a thorough assessment to identify the senior’s needs and preferences
  • Educate the senior and family about the various healthcare and housing options
  • Draft a care plan tailored to the senior’s needs and preferences, adapting it as necessary
  • Coordinate care services, including screening, hiring and monitoring caregiving services
  • Work with, and provide referrals to, other long-term care professionals, such as an elder law attorney, home care agency or geriatrician
  • Liaise with families who live at a distance from the senior to ensure the senior’s needs are being met and update the family on any changes in the senior’s status
  • Manage or coordinate a move to senior housing
  • Act as an advocate for the senior and family

When To Hire a Geriatric Care Manager

You can engage geriatric care manager at any point. Many families hire a care manager when the senior reaches a point of transition. A few common scenarios include:

  • Hiring a home care worker to help the senior at home
  • Moving from the family home to assisted living
  • Moving between different levels of senior housing, such as assisted living to a nursing home
  • During a hospital stay to prepare for the patient’s discharge

Here are a few other common scenarios when engaging a geriatric care manager can help:

  • When the senior experiences a significant loss of function, either mentally or physically, and requires help
  • When the senior is no longer able to function well or is at risk in the current living situation
  • When a caregiver becomes necessary or when the situation requires a higher level of caregiving
  • When the family is unsure of what action to take regarding the senior’s health needs or living arrangement

Where To Find a Geriatric Care Manager

Many geriatric care managers work in private practice, but some work for community agencies or geriatric care management groups. If you are interested in learning more about geriatric care management, start with the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, where you can locate local care managers and learn more about the professional standards that are required of them. You can also ask your doctor or hospital discharge planner for personal recommendations.

Written by senior care writer Nikki Jong.

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