Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) are elder care specialists who evaluate older adults’ functional abilities and home environment. GCMs meet with the older adult and family, create individualized care plans to address any gaps in activities
What is a Geriatric Care Manager?
Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) are elder care specialists who evaluate older adults’ functional abilities and home environment. GCMs meet with the older adult and family, create individualized care plans to address any gaps in activities of daily living, and recommend safety measures. The goal of the assessment is to provide an understanding of the resources necessary to keep the older family member as safe and independent as possible. GCMs then arrange for necessary services and monitor on-going needs.
Who are Geriatric Care Managers?
Geriatric Care Managers are typically licensed professional social workers, nurses or therapists, and many hold master’s level degrees. They have assessment experience and are knowledgeable about community resources that address the social, financial, medical, familial, and legal needs of a frail elder.
How can a GCM help me?
Family members may recognize that a parent has changed, but are unsure of his or her needs and how to implement support services. GCMs will provide an objective, comprehensive assessment of the elder in their home environment and assist family members with concrete steps to improve safety and quality of life. The well-trained GCM can help plan for future needs and tap into potential cost saving community programs. GCMs can be a source of value and comfort for busy family members living both near and far from their loved ones.
What is the Cost?
Private GCM fees range from $80-$200 an hour. These costs should be discussed upfront and clarified on any service contracts. Medicare does not cover private GCM services, but some long-term care insurance policies provide coverage.
If you are unable to afford private GCM services, you may be eligible for free or sliding scale GCM services through a local community agency. Contact the Area Agency on Aging (800-677-1116) to learn about agencies in your area.
John Smith is concerned for his 80-year-old parents, both living in the large home he grew up in. His father suffers from weakness, confusion and incontinence. His mother is the primary caretaker but has severe osteoporosis and tires easily. Neither parent drives, so they are largely homebound. John wants to relieve the stress on his mother but is not sure how.
A geriatric care manager would be able to assess John’s father, mother, and the home environment. One recommendation may be to locate an adult day care center for his father. Adult day care centers normally offer transportation to and from their site, are staffed by medical professionals, and provide meals and activities. This would provide some outside stimulation for his father, and give his mother some much needed rest. The family may be encouraged to hire a home health agency to provide in-home support. This private duty homemaker or companion could come into the home one or two mornings a week to do laundry, light housekeeping, meal preparation, run errands, and so on.
Clearly, it’s never easy to watch an elderly loved one experience change and loss. However, a geriatric care manager can ease this transition by assessing needs and implementing plans for safety and quality of life during this stressful time.