Getting older is scary to both the person getting older and their family. Many questions arise when we think about retirement and aging. Most of these questions start with, “how am I going to pay for…” All are legitimate questions. How are you going to pay for all of the possibilities of care, what are all our care options? Care management advice is an obvious need, not just for financial reasons but to get the best care possible for yourself or a family member. It’s never too early to get advice and it might be that you are in need of the advice now.
Care management advice should be something that every family takes advantage of but in reality very few families use this service. Geriatric care specialists could go a long ways towards helping the family find better and more efficient ways of providing care for a loved one. The concept is simple. The family hires a professional adviser to act as a guide through the maze of long term care services and providers. The specialist has been there many times. The family is experiencing it usually for the first time.
The need for care management will generally come about as aging issues develop like the ability to move about, dress, bathe, eat, use a toilet, and medicate. This need for care, advice or supervision may also be caused by an accident, disease process, disability, or frailty. A life doesn’t stop because a person is in need of help, in fact we enter and leave this earth in need of assistance from others. Most eldercare in this country is provided at home by family members. Regardless of who is taking care of whom, it is important to talk about it and have a plan.
Care Management Advice Is Needed to Assist with Eldercare
According to some sources, 60% of us will need long term care (eldercare) sometime during our lives. It is important for all of us to prepare for that day when we will need to help loved ones with care or we will need eldercare for ourselves.
Another source indicates about 40% of all seniors, 65 and older, will spend some time in a nursing home. The National Care Planning Council estimates that at any given time, at least 22% of all seniors, age 65 and older, are receiving some form of eldercare support in the home or in a facility.
Some 44.4 million adult caregivers -- or 21% of the U.S. Adult population -- provide unpaid care to seniors or adults with disabilities, according to a 2004 study by the National Alliance for Caregiving in Bethesda, MD. On average, those caregivers provide 21 hours of care a week and the average length of time spent providing care is 4.3 years.
Geriatric Care Specialists Provide Care Management Advice
Also known as Geriatric Care Manager, Elder Care Manager or Care Manager, a Geriatric Care Specialist represents a growing trend to help full time, employed family caregivers provide care for loved ones living close by or needing long-distance care. Specialists are also particularly useful in helping caregivers at home find the right services and cope with their burden.
Below is a partial list of what a geriatric care specialist might do:
- Assess the level and type of care needed and develop a care plan
- Take steps to start the care plan and keep it functioning
- Make sure care is received in a safe and disability friendly environment
- Resolve family conflicts and other family issues relating to long term care
- Become an advocate for the care recipient and the family caregiver
- Manage care for a loved one for out-of-town families
- Conduct ongoing assessments to monitor and implement changes in care
- Oversee and direct care provided at home
- Coordinate the efforts of key support systems
- Provide personal counseling
- Help with Medicaid qualification and application
- Arrange for services of legal and financial advisors
- Manage a conservatorship for a care recipient
- Provide assistance with placement in assisted living facilities or nursing homes
- Monitor the care of a family member in a nursing home or in assisted living
- Assist with the monitoring of medications
- Find appropriate solutions to avoid a crisis
- Coordinate medical appointments and medical information
- Provide transportation to medical appointments
- Assist families in positive decision making
- Develop long range plans for older loved ones not now needing care
As with hiring any paid care provider to come into the home, hiring a geriatric care specialist is a similar situation. For those who desire to remain in the home the geriatric care specialist can help make that a reality and keep the care recipient away from a premature admittance into a care facility.
But the geriatric care specialist can also help in the other direction. Oftentimes the family is attempting to keep a loved one at home when that is not the best situation. For many and various reasons care in the home may be impossible. In this case, finding a facility is best. Below are links to find a care manager, facility, placement manager, retirement community, and financial specialists.