Often it is quite difficult to determine what level of care your parents need, where they can find help from agencies and organizations and what their care is going to cost. A new profession has emerged to help you with these decisions. These professionals are called Geriatric Care Managers. They are health and human services professionals who have come from a number of different fields. Many have been nurses or social workers who have developed an expertise in working with the elderly. They can help you in a number of different ways.
In many cases the Geriatric Care Manager’s first job is to do an assessment of your elderly parent’s situation. What are their medical issues? How mobile are they? Do they have any cognitive limitations? They will give you an extensive report that will recommend the type of care your parents need. Can they stay at home? Would assisted living be the right situation? Does their memory impairment require round the clock care?
Once the initial assessment is done the managers can help with placement in the right facility, or reorganizing the home to make it safer for your parent. They can monitor the hiring of home health aides, provide a bill paying service and coordinate meals on wheels services. In summary, they are angels in disguise.
Geriatric Care Managers are generally not covered by any insurance plan or medicare. However, If your parent had a long term care policy the better plans provide for payment of these professionals. Otherwise you are on your own. Initial assessments can range from $200 to $850. Hourly rates generally are between $80-$200. But most families have found them to be well worth it. The Care Manager may often find services or benefits through local or federal organizations that can pay for some of your parent’s costs.
How do you find a Geriatric Care Manager? The first place to look is on their professional website, the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. www.caremanager.org. Here you can learn more about the profession and find the names of GCM’s in your area. Once you have found 2 or 3 within ten miles of your parent’s home, give them a call and have them come by to be interviewed. Conduct the interview with your parent present. See how they relate to mom or dad. Then use your own intuition and your parent’s input to find the right person to work with. Finally give a long sigh of relief knowing that you no longer have to do this on your own.