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Living at Home: Geriatric care management may be answer to coordinating elder’s needs

By Judi Frye / For the Enterprise                 Care for a parent, grandparent or other loved one can involve many complex issues and the making of some very difficult decisions. The average caregiver does not have the time to figure out all of the details regarding health, money management, legal matters, emergency care,= and options.

                  We are moving into a new era where managing chronic diseases and preventing or anticipating disabilities associated with age are in the forefront.

                  The process of planning and coordinating care of the elderly to meet their long-term care needs, improve their quality of life, and maintain their independence for as long as possible is called Geriatric Care Management.  It entails working with persons of age and their families in managing and referring various types of health and social care services.

                  A geriatric care management program helps families coordinate care for their elderly loved ones. Duties include assessing the elder's living situation and formulating a plan of care, referring families to appropriate services and specialists, mediating between the elder and his/her family if there is disagreement as to what services are needed, helping the elder transition to a new living arrangement, such as an assisted living facility or nursing home, and offering the elder and his/her family counseling and emotional support.

                  A professional geriatric care manager is educated in various fields of human services  – social work, psychology, nursing, gerontology  – and trained to assess, plan, coordinate, monitor and provide services for the elderly and their families.                   Advocacy for older adults is a primary function of the care manager. 

                  A relationship with a professional geriatric care manager can allow the children of the elderly person to be children, while someone else manages the situation.

                  When a son or daughter is providing the hands-on care to the parent, the quality time they have to be there emotionally for their parent is limited.  The care manager can handle the difficult interpersonal issues, address the immediate problem, remain connected once the crisis passes and get back involved as the situation requires it.

                  When you are considering whether you need the services of a geriatric care manager, you should evaluate whether you have the time, inclination or skills to manage the challenges of geriatric care by yourself. 

                  If you are not sure, ask a trusted advisor to help you decide if an elder care expert may be helpful.  Enlisting the support of other family members to consult a professional is a good way to build a consensus on the solutions.

Living at Home – Your “hub” for finding senior services!

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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