What is Geriatric Care Management?
Geriatric Care Management is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults. A Geriatric Care Manager acts as a guide and advocate for families who are caring for older relatives or disabled adults. He or she is typically educated and experienced in any of several fields related to aging life care/care management, including gerontology, nursing, or social work, with a focus on issues related to aging and elder care. The expertise and guidance of Geriatric Care Managers provides answers that lead families to actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducing worry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers through:
- Assessment and monitoring
- Planning and problem-solving
- Care coordination
- Education and advocacy
- Family caregiver coaching
Geriatric Care Managers may assist in:
helping families evaluate and selected housing options
determining services that are appropriate and assisting to engage and monitor those services
attending doctor appointments, advocating for treatment or medication changes, and if appropriate, monitoring client’s adherence to medical orders
keeping family members and professionals informed on status
providing opportunity for client to engage in social, recreational, or cultural activities that enrich the quality of life
referring to or consulting with an elder law attorney
reviewing or overseeing bill paying or monitoring daily money management
monitoring client; recommending technologies to add security or safety; observing changes and potential risks of exploitation or abuse
coordinating care when families live at a distance; including crisis management.
A care plan tailored for each individual’s circumstances should be prepared after a comprehensive assessment. The plan may be modified, in consultation with client and family, as circumstances change.
How Do You Know You Need a Geriatric Care Manager?
You may need assistance if:
- The person you are caring for has limited or no family support or family lives at a distance.
- Your family has just become involved and needs direction about available services.
- The person you are caring for has multiple medical issues or dementia.
- The person you are caring for is unable to live safely in his/her current environment.
- Your family is “burned out” or has limited time to deal with your loved ones’ chronic care needs.
- Your family is at odds regarding care decisions or confused about options.
- The person you are caring for is not pleased with current care providers and requires advocacy.
- The person you are caring for is confused about his/her own financial and/or legal situation.
- Your family needs education and/or direction in dealing with behaviors associated with dementia.
How Do I Select a Care Manager?
It is important for the wise consumer to ask questions of their potential care manager. Some of these include:
- What are the primary services provided by your business?
- How many care managers are in your business?
- What are your professional credentials?
- Are you licensed in your profession? (typically, in nursing or social work)
- How long have you been providing care management services?
- Are you available for emergencies?
- How do you communicate information?
- What are your fees?
- Can you provide me with references?
What is Aging Life Care™?
Geriatric care management is a relatively new profession and is not currently licensed through the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. To establish a clear standard of professionalism, the Aging Life Care Association™ (previously the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers) was created. ALCA is an organization of care management practitioners whose goal is the advancement of expert assistance to aging individuals and their families. ALCA promotes the highest standards of practice and ethics in this field. Membership in ALCA is open only to qualified individuals with specialized degrees and experience in human services. Those not at the advanced level of membership hold one of four ALCA-approved certifications. Only members of ALCA are called Aging Life Care Professionals™. Locate an Aging Life Care Professional at aginglifecare.org.