By Randi Rubin, GCM, ALCP, RN
Reflections – /rəˈflekSH(ə)ns/ noun Serious thoughts or considerations; ruminations; contemplation; cogitation
What is a Certified Geriatric Care Manager, and why do you need one?
Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) are professionals in the field of human services. They often hold degrees in social work, psychology, nursing and/or gerontology. GCMs have experience and connections to help guide seniors and their families through the labyrinth of eldercare issues. GCMs are trained to assess, plan, coordinate and provide personalized aging life care services. Functioning as an advocate for the older adult is the primary function of a GCM.
Most certified GCMs are members of the Aging Life Care Association, a non-profit organization whose goal is the advancement of expert assistance to aging individuals and their families. These GCMs are generally certified by at least one of the following organizations for care management; the National Academy of Certified Care Managers, the National Association of Social Workers, and/or the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.
The best time to look for and meet with a GCM is before a crisis occurs. With an initial diagnosis of need, it would be beneficial for a senior and his/her family to explore the available care management options. A GCM often becomes a trusted advisor, advocate and friend to the entire family. It is important that you feel comfortable with and confident in the person you choose.
Having a good relationship with a Geriatric Care Manager relieves the pressure, resentment, stress, and guilt that families often feel when dealing with care decisions for an older adult. The family can go back to being “the family” again, while the GCM manages the day-to-day needs and any emergent situations.
A GCM can answer questions such as:
- What is Respite Care?
- What Day Care programs are appropriate for my family member?
- What do home care services entail? What kind of care is included, how much can be provided, and how is it paid for?
- Does my Long Term Care insurance cover any of these costs?
- Are all your legal documents current and in place? Who should you go to for updates and reviews?
- How will expenses and care be financially managed?
Your GCM can help interview, train, and coordinate the most appropriate caregivers, and then monitor that the plan of care is being followed. The GCM functions as the eyes and ears for the family and senior client. Whether the family lives locally or far away, it is a relief to have a professional manage “the hard stuff,” and be physically and emotionally present. Be it a leaky pipe, a grocery order, medication management, doctor appointments, installation of safety modifications, paying the bills, or providing cognitive stimulation activities, the list of how a Geriatric Care Manager can enhance the life of a senior client and their family is far-reaching.
Call for an appointment or to inquire if this service is right for you.