Question: “My elderly parents live in Oklahoma and I live in Texas. I want them to move into an assisted living facility or to an elder adult community, but they want to stay in their own home. I have heard of Geriatric Care Managers, but I don’t really know how my parents would benefit from their services. Can you provide insight into how these elder care experts could perhaps help my parents stay in their home and help me not worry about them?”
Answer: Perhaps you’ve noticed memory loss, a decline in what your loved one is able to physically do or increased medical issues. This can be frightening, whether you live out-of-state, or nearby. Sometimes we think that having them move into some type of assisted living situation is the best or only solution, but that isn’t always the case. You and your parents can benefit greatly from the services of a geriatric care manager who can help you sort through appropriate options while considering your parents’ and family’s values. A geriatric care manager (Care Manager) is a health care professional who strives to offer objective information and alternatives to support the well-being, safety and independence of your loved one.
Care Managers help elders and their families by:
- Providing a comprehensive assessment to determine if living at home is a safe option. If not, care managers can offer professional, objective opinions to assist families as they sort through the decision process for elder care residential options;
- Arranging and managing in-home services to assist with health, home and personal needs;
- Providing short and long-term support to families engaged in local or long-distance care giving;
- Coordinating health care appointments and necessary medical follow-up;
- Preventing unnecessary or repetitive medical care;
- Helping to navigate complex medical systems, diseases and insurance issues;
- Assisting primary caregivers in the home, across town or at a distance, in coping with emotional stress caused by elder care;
- Offering education and support to manage the disease process (Alzheimer’s, Cancer, etc.);
- Giving caregivers the information necessary to make early informed decisions about health care needs before an acute situation arises;
- Supplying an extra pair of eyes and hands to help with the care of a loved one.
Gina Fisher, LCSW
Executive Director of Clinical Operations
University of Oklahoma College of Nursing – Life Stage Solutions