As the aging population continues to increase, serving the on-going needs of parents has become the responsibility of the “Boomer Generation.”
You may notice that dad or mom is not taking care of himself or herself – not eating correctly nor following doctors orders, unable to handle their medications, bills pile up and money is mishandled. Hygiene issues such as not bathing or wearing the same clothing for weeks are a few examples indicating a decline in their ability to care for themselves.
Many families are confronted with this scenario, or worse, a phone call from a hospital. What is inevitable is that at some point many adult children will be responsible for the care of one or both of their parent’s.
To assist families during a crisis, it’s best to hire a professional who is familiar with the resources available – especially when families live in different states.
A geriatric care manager (GCM) is a gerontologist, medical social worker (MSW), nurse, or licensed counselor. Certificates are available, however, these individuals are not academically trained in the area of geriatrics, which requires specific training.
To begin, an in-person assessment is completed – often times with a nurse, and determines the needs of your loved one.
Following the assessment, the GCM creates a care plan, which addresses the results of the assessment, and provides recommendations, and referrals for local community resources.
This includes assistance in all aspects of long-term care, whether at home, in an assisted living facility, or group home. If your loved one requires special services or changes occur with their health, the care plan will be updated to accommodate the patient’s needs. GCM’s help families’ cope with complex health issues and provide guidance regarding decisions connected to the aging process.
Identified needs in a care plan includes the following:
- Medical care: clinical and non-clinical
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s resources
- Safety issues
- Long-term care resources
- Money management and financial assistance
- Health insurance guidance
- Legal resources
- Power of attorney or guardianship
- Liaison to families at a distance
- Crisis intervention
- Counseling and support
Having a GCM, families can spend quality time together and not disrupt relationships between family members. GCM’s handle the difficult interpersonal issues families face, address immediate problems, remain connected once the crisis passes and gets back involved, as the situation requires it.
GCM services are billed privately on a fee-for-service basis, and currently are not recognized as billable services by either Medicare or Medicaid. Some employers may cover some or all of the cost, contact your human resources department to determine if this is a covered service.
Article submitted by Geriatric Medical Counseling. View Geriatric Medical Counseling's listing on SeniorDirectory.com.