A geriatric care manager (GCM) is a professional with specialized knowledge and expertise in senior care issues. Ideally, a GCM holds an advanced degree in gerontology, social work, psychology, nursing, or a related health and human services field. Sometimes called case managers, elder care managers, service coordinators or care coordinators, GCMs are individuals who evaluate your situation, identify solutions, and work with you to design a plan for maximizing your elder's independence and well being.
Geriatric care management usually involves an in-depth assessment, developing a care plan, arranging for services, and following up or monitoring care. While you aren't obligated to implement any part of the suggested care plan, geriatric care managers often suggest potential alternatives you might not have considered, due to their experience and familiarity with community resources. They can also make sure your loved one receives the best possible care and any benefits to which they are entitled.
How can a geriatric care manager help me?
Geriatric care managers facilitate the care selection process for family members who live at a distance from their elderly relatives, as well as for those who live nearby but do not know how to tap into the appropriate local services.
You can hire a care manager for a single, specific task, such as helping you find a daily caregiver, or to oversee the entire caregiving process. Geriatric care managers can help families or seniors who are:
new to elder care or uncomfortable with elder care decision-making;
having difficulty with any aspect of elder care;
faced with a sudden decision or major change, such as a health crisis or a change of residence;
dealing with a complex situation such as a psychiatric, cognitive, health, legal, or social issue.
In addition to helping seniors and their families directly, geriatric care managers can act as your informed connection with a range of other professionals who are part of your elder care network, including any of the following service providers:
Attorneys or trust officers. A care manager can serve as both elder advocate and intermediary with financial and legal advisors. The GCM is often a good source of referrals if a family needs services from these professionals.
Physicians. The GCM is an ideal liaison between doctors and other health professionals, and the elder patient and family members.
Social workers. It is useful for hospital and nursing home social workers and discharge planners to know that their senior patient will have someone to coordinate their care and assist them on a long-term basis.
Home care companies. The GCM will know local agencies and be able to explain options, costs, and oversight of home care workers. The care manager can also assist in dealing with patients' social issues, help link to other community resources, and suggest possible placement options.
Residential facilities. The GCM can help identify types of care facilities and assist you in selecting an appropriate one for your situation. The GCM may also be able to streamline the transition into or out of a senior community, for both the elderly resident, family members and staff.