Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Geriatric Care Managers Tackle Eldercare Issues With Grace

Perhaps you're stumped because...

1. Your aging parent lives across the country. Due to multiple medical crises, you've racked up enough Frequent Flyer miles to purchase a ticket to Fiji.

2. Your siblings and you can't make peace with your parent's care.

3. Demands of work and family overwhelm you, and managing your parent's medical needs seems daunting at best.

Geriatric Care Managers can help you tackle these eldercare issues and more. Steeped in experience and expertise in geriatrics, they generally hold advanced degrees in nursing, social work or psychology. As important, they've listened to problems like yours time and time again.

First, the care manager assesses the "big picture." While he or she focuses mainly on your parent, your needs are critical, too, as are the needs of your entire family.

Next, the care manager writes a comprehensive care plan, which includes a statement of the issues, and "next steps" for implementation. If needed, he or she taps into the services of eldercare attorneys, financial advisors and other professionals.

You can hire a Geriatric Care Manager on a one-time basis--for example, finding an assisting living community or hiring in-home care. You can also call on a care manager continually or as needed, especially if your parent lives far away. He or she can advocate for your Mom or Dad, standing in your place at care conferences, checking in on caregivers, etc.

Geriatric Care Managers charge families by the hour. Before you enter into an agreement, get the rates in writing.

For some Boomers, a care manager can make a world of difference.

Take the partners who lived in New Hampshire, across the country from their parents in Washington State. These Boomers had used up all their sick leave tending to their parents' care. They were exhausted! Hiring a care manager allowed them to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing Mom and Dad were in good hands.

For more information, contact the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.

Have you worked with a Geriatric Care Manager? Tell us about it.

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