Question of the Day: "What exactly is a Geriatric Care Manager (Care Manager) and why would my family consider using one? My mother is 81 years old, my father is deceased and my sister and I live several hundred miles away from my mother, who still lives in her home."

Answer:  Here is the definition of a geriatric care manager from the NAPGCM (National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers): “A professional Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) is a health and human services specialist who helps families who are caring for older relatives”.  Most importantly, a geriatric care manager provides the expertise to help you and your family more smoothly navigate the path of eldercare.  An experienced care manager can assess the situation, provide recommendations that save you a lot of time, money and potential headaches and anticipate potential issues and concerns. 

The services of a geriatric care manager are especially important for families at a distance, as you mention in your case.  You can hire the care manager to be your “eyes and ears” locally and your loved one’s advocate, which provides great peace of mind.  Having someone with professional training means he or she can spot issues that, for example, a neighbor or friend may not be equipped to do.  The care manager understands local services and resources and can often identify solutions to issues which may have your family bogged down trying to solve.  Typically care managers are on call 24/7 for clients and can be there to manage a hospitalization or other urgent situations and communicate to you.

It sounds as if this could be very beneficial for your family.  You can start right here on looking up professional care managers in her local area and having a conversation with them about their backgrounds, how they would approach your situation, etc.  A consultation or assessment would be a good start to get some recommendations and consider if and how ongoing services might be worthwhile for your Mom’s continued wellbeing and your peace of mind.

Shannon Martin, M.S.W., CMC
Aging Wisely, LLC
Clearwater, Florida  33756

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Florida chapter

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