Old age isn’t for sissies. Or for their caregivers, who often juggle full-time jobs, families of their own and other responsibilities. Taking care of an elderly loved one can be an overwhelming, challenging, emotionally draining "job."

And, yes, sometimes it does take a village. We’ve found that one of the most helpful people is a Geriatric Care Manager, an expert that helps families determine what kind of help is needed and plans and coordinates that plan of action. They’re usually licensed social workers or nurses and many are specialists in specific areas such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Their insider knowledge about private and public resources and clinical services is a godsend and particularly essential when your loved one lives hundreds of miles away.

Geriatric Care Managers (GCM) can provide one-time or ongoing assistance. What exactly can they do? The list is endless: assess needs, create a long-term care plan, coordinate services, act as the liaison between family, doctors, and caregivers, schedule doctor appointments, order Rx refills and confer with home health aides. 

Many people may think that GCMs carry too high a price tag. And while they are expensive (anywhere from $70- $250 an hour depending on location)  and not covered by insurance, Medicare or Medicaid (tho they are sometimes covered by Long-Term Care Policies), they can also save you money in the long run by focussing on the services you need at the moment and making efficient use of financial resources.  And the peace of mind? That’s priceless.

That's what I discovered when I hired a GCM to help my own father, who lived 3,000 miles away from me. The GCM went to his house every two weeks- and along with her other duties-managed his medications, took him to the doctor- and then gave me detailed accounts of the visits and my Dad's condition. It was not only a relief knowing someone competent and caring was helping him, but it provided the missing link in our team and made it much stronger. Everyone was the better for it.

Some of you may have never heard of a GCM. But the industry hopes to change that this month, which is GCM month. For more information on hiring a GCM, you can call us, check the "Medical Services" section of the Seniority Matters Directory, or consult with the National Association of Geriatric Care Managers website.

Tags:Aging Parents Alzheimer's Care Management Geriatric Care Managers Seniority Matters Provider Directory

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Nancy Stein

Nancy Stein is the founder of Seniority Matters and lead author of the Seniority Matters Blog. This is where you can turn to read about new service providers, enhancements to the website, and updates and commentaries on issues and events that are of interest to the South Florida senior communities. Of course, no blog is complete without feedback from readers, so don't be shy! Leave a comment and let us know what you think

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