From time to time, we are asked about Geriatric Care Management. In most cases, the question is posed by someone out-of-state who is concerned about the wellbeing of a parent.
They might express it differently, but the underlying questions typically fall into a few categories. Is it safe for mom/dad to remain in their home, and if not, can we make it safe? Or, what living and/or care arrangements would we recommend?
Without a doubt, the leading reason why families call is concern.
It might be that a parent is in declining health or is unable to safely perform basic activities of daily living. Or, there could have been an incident that has abruptly changed the situation, such as a fall, injury or illness. Whatever the case, the family is concerned and is seeking assistance with his or her parent.
Occasionally, there is concern that a parent has become unengaged in enjoyed activity, such as attending church gatherings. In these cases, the concern is for a continued standard of living. The objective is to maintain or regain the highest quality of life possible.
Fee structures vary widely when you hire a Geriatric Care Manager.
Frequently, there is an initial assessment that could range from $200 to $500. This is a comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of the situation, including physical and mental health, environmental considerations, support networks, etc. From information gathered, an initial Care Plan can be drafted. Typical hourly rates might range from $100 to $200 per hour and could be segmented into portions of an hour. The fees are largely dependent on the experience and expertise of the Geriatric Care Manager and what the scope of service is.
In some cases, Long Term Care insurance policies cover some or all of the expense associated with Geriatric Care Management. Check the fine print and consult your claims representative to determine coverage.
So what do Geriatric Care Managers do? What is the value?
The best Geriatric Care Managers explore the entire situation. They look at the “big picture” that includes all aspects of your parent’s life, and also very closely at his/her individual situation (physical, cognitive and emotional). Based on information gathered, a comprehensive Care Plan is drafted that addresses all concerns and presents a road to greater quality of life. From there, they can coordinate and supervise execution of the plan. A good Geriatric Care Manager can coordinate service to meet a host of concerns:
- Make recommendations with regard to the best living arrangements
- Aging in place in their own home (far and away the preference of most older adults)
- Independent or Assisted Living Facilities
- Skilled Nursing Facilities
- Special Care Units
- Ramps or home access or safety considerations
- Schedule and accompany to medical appointments
- Coordinate private duty homecare assistance with day-to-day activities
- Bathing and personal hygiene
- Meal preparation
- Dressing and feeding
- and other home care needs
- Coordinate transportation to visit friends or to appointments
- Arrange grocery shopping
- Facilitate medication reminders
- Arrange cognitive screening or tests
- Arrange for pet care
- Organize the household
- Pick up prescriptions
- And much more…
To be sure, a good Geriatric Care Manager will analyze the situation and offer their best advice for the road ahead. The service can be invaluable to family members in search of timely and relevant guidance.
What should you look for in a Geriatric Care Manager?
First and foremost, the manager selected should have a passion for serving older adults. Clearly, you should want the service from someone with experience and expertise. If someone calls herself a Geriatric Care Manager but does not have documented and verifiable experience and expertise, steer clear. What you should look for is someone trained in and expert at conducting assessments who can transition into the role of manager to coordinate needed services and supports. They should have a passion for older adults and the expertise to make life easier for everyone involved. Just as you want your auto mechanic to know every intricate detail about your car in order to ensure its optimum performance, you should seek the same with a Geriatric Care Manager.
Where does Home Helpers fit into the mix?
In central Arkansas, there are only two or three independent Geriatric Care Managers and we have worked with all of them. Our intent is not to disparage their service one bit; in fact, we have referred people to them.
Home Helpers is a mature organization with more a combined three decades of proven experience working with and serving older adults. We are recognized experts in our field.
Before we commence services with a family, we always conduct a thorough assessment, exploring the issues described above. From there, we draft a flexible and comprehensive Care Plan. When there are areas of need beyond our scope, we arrange for or coordinate those services or supports.
In short, though our primary support is private duty home care, we often and routinely provide services indistinguishable from those of a Geriatric Care Manager.
If you believe you need the assistance of a Geriatric Care Manager, contact Home Helpers first. We will conduct a no-obligation comprehensive assessment free of charge. If there is a need for and Home Helpers is the best match for home care, we can certainly help. If not, we will present a plan with options to you so that you can make the most informed decision regarding care for your loved one.