As our minds and bodies begin to decline, activities of daily living become unusually challenging. In reality, health wanes significantly over years and years. However, children of aging parents are often surprised when they discover how incapable their loved ones have truly become.
Finding elder care can be a stressful process, especially if it wasn’t anticipated.
In this article, we’re answering some helpful questions about geriatric care managers:
- What’s the role of a geriatric care manager?
- What are the services of a geriatric care manager?
- Why hire a geriatric care manager?
Towards the end of this article, we also give a few tips for families hiring a care manager.
What’s the Role of a Geriatric Care Manager?
A geriatric advisor or care manager is a specially trained professional who helps families navigate elder care for their aging loved ones.
Geriatric care managers hold multiple roles in the lives of families caring for seniors. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) calls care managers “a sort of ‘professional relative’ who can help you and your family to identify needs and find ways to meet your needs.”
One of the primary roles of a geriatric care manager is to advocate for older adults as if they were, in fact, a family member. They ensure your loved one is heard and enjoys a high quality of life as they continue to age.
Geriatric care managers provide “whole-person care” to elderly adults, meaning they holistically assess their mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Then, they create a personalized care plan unique to your loved one’s needs.
As your loved one’s healthcare needs change, your dedicated care manager will adjust their care plan accordingly.
Services of a Geriatric Care Manager
Not all services of a geriatric care manager are tangible. In addition to resourcing the families of elderly adults, they are a kind of emotional support system. They’re experienced experts, so nothing phases them about the process of elder care.
While children of aging parents wade through a range of emotions and even worst-case scenario thinking, geriatric advisors provide steadiness and assurance. They can defuse family conflicts, discuss difficult topics, guide decision-making, and more.
Here are some of the primary services of a geriatric care manager:
- Consult with family caregivers
- Advocate for seniors
- Evaluate in-home care needs
- Coordinate senior healthcare
- Assist with housing and relocation
- Mediate family relationships
- Create short- and long-term elder care plans
- Act as a liaison between caregivers and family members
Now, all of these services are valuable, but why hire a geriatric care manager?
Why Hire a Geriatric Care Manager?
At some point, your aging loved one’s care needs will exceed your abilities. Don’t wait until that day comes. A care manager can help you access elder care resources and evaluate your options as soon as you begin noticing changes in your parent’s health.
Here are four reasons why to hire a geriatric care manager for your aging loved one:
- If your loved one needs at-home care. Managing in-home care by yourself can be complicated for you and emotional for your loved one. With the help of a geriatric care manager, they can closely monitor the situation, address your elderly parent’s rising emotions, and coordinate health aids for you.
- If you don’t live near your aging loved one. Elder care is not something that can be managed entirely from a distance. If you live out of state and don’t want to or can’t move your parent closer, a geriatric advisor can be your local eyes and ears.
- If you want to remain a child and not a caregiver. Building a relationship with a trusted geriatric care manager allows the children of elderly parents to stay children, while a professional manages their health and well-being. Don’t sacrifice the relationship you have with your parent—reach out for help.
- If you need respite but don’t know where to turn. Becoming a family caregiver is an incredibly burdensome role to take on. Respite care is one of the most beneficial home care resources that a geriatric care manager can offer to adult children looking after aging parents.
These are just a handful of reasons why you may want to hire a geriatric care manager, but there are certainly others.
At the end of the day, a geriatric care manager’s role is to support you and meet the ever-changing needs of your elderly loved one. If you’re ready to begin hiring a care manager, we have a few questions to ask as you interview potential geriatric advisors.
3 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Care Manager
The NIA lists several questions to ask a geriatric care manager before hiring them. We’ve selected the top three for you to consider asking.
1. How long have you been a geriatric advisor?
Experience is everything when it comes to elder care. Ask about their past experience as a geriatric care manager, if they’re licensed, and if they hold a human services degree (e.g., nursing, gerontology).
At Stowell, we’ve been providing care to the geriatric population in Wisconsin for over 40 years, and our expert care managers are registered nurses, master’s-level social workers, and/or licensed elder care professionals.
2. Does your company provide in-home care services?
Eventually, your parent will need hands-on help. Before you decide to move them into a nursing home, consider hiring in-home caregivers. At-home care is more comfortable for seniors because it allows them to age in place.
Our partnership with TheKey allows us to provide our clients with a holistic approach to home care. TheKey’s trained caregivers serve seniors in their place of residence while Stowell’s geriatric advisors support their families.
3. What will our communication look like?
In any relationship, communication is crucial. It’s important to clarify and set realistic expectations around communication with your care manager. Here are some follow-up questions to ask about communication:
- How often will we talk?
- Will you be available 24/7 in case of emergencies?
- Are there certain days or times that you’re unavailable?
- In what ways will we communicate (e.g., email, phone, text)?
Constant communication is even more important when family members live far apart. If you ask, geriatric care managers can check in with you regularly to provide status updates and ensure everything is going as planned.
Hire an Expert Geriatric Advisor Today
Now that you know the role of a geriatric care manager, the services of a geriatric care manager, and the reasons why hire a geriatric care manager, are you ready to start hiring a care manager?
As Wisconsin’s premier care management company, we’re dedicated to two primary things:
- Providing personalized care to aging adults
- Resourcing families with elder care solutions
By collaborating with families regarding their aging loved ones, we ensure that our elderly clients receive the specialized care they need.
Our team of trained elder care professionals are equipped and ready to serve you and your family. We manage complex situations every day, so don’t be deterred by thinking your family is somehow “too much to handle.”
Contact us today to speak with one of our expert geriatric advisors who will guide you through the next steps.