Health care is one of the key areas that seniors and their family members need to prioritize, and for some that has meant hiring a professional care manager.
A professional care manager, or geriatric care manager (GCM), is a health care professional specializing in helping elderly individuals and their families make decisions related to medical care. GCMs generally have broad backgrounds drawing on nursing, gerontology, social work and psychology.
Services can include care-planning assessments, arranging for in-home help or a move to an assisted living facility, referrals to specialists, crisis intervention, counseling and family education. The best time to get a care manager is before a health crisis, as this allows for preventive rather than reactive solutions.
If you're wondering if your family needs a care manager, here's a quick rundown of the potential pros and cons.
They can help save you money. It may not look like it at first glance, but the savings come in the form of better planning and anticipation of health care needs. GCMs help prevent hasty decisions that could end up being costly or unnecessary. They can provide information on optimal solutions for present and future health needs.
They can relay your health needs to your financial advisor. A care manager can give an accurate assessment of a senior's needs for short- and long-term care, thus enabling the proper allocation of resources. This allows you to financially prepare for optimal long-term care as well as emergencies.
They can aid you in making better decisions. From the modifications needed in a home to the possible health care facility you might need in the future, a care manager will take into consideration the needs and wishes of the senior and family. Over time, they may notice physical and psychological changes in the senior's capabilities, such as with driving. A GCM can help seniors and loved ones be proactive and make adjustments gradually.
They can help you understand medical jargon. The medical world can be confusing. A professional care manager will help clarify the issues and find what is most suitable for a person's needs. The care manager can locate specialists and also accompany the senior to doctor appointments to make sure that a physician's orders are clearly understood.
They can alleviate family conflicts concerning care. A care manager can help manage challenging interpersonal issues, mediate during a health crisis, deal with the core problem, provide solutions and monitor the situation. When an elderly family member begins to lose independence, hurt, confusion and anger can result. A GCM can help the senior and loved ones deal with these emotions and unite the family so that they can better understand and support one another during this time.
Cost. Hiring a professional care manager is generally not covered by private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. Services cost roughly from $50 to $200 per hour depending on where you live. The cost also can vary depending on how frequently you'll need the GCM's services.
A professional care manager can be an invaluable service. Medical care need not be a burden for a senior or loved ones. With the right support, the stress of this season in your family's life could be much reduced, allowing you to feel secure that health care needs are being tended to by a professional.