Help for Caregivers: Geriatric Care Managers
Learn how a geriatric care manager can help you with the give and take of caring for an ill loved one.

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Picture of man taking care of elderly senior on wheelchair Help for Caregivers: Geriatric Care Managers

Understanding and taking care of your elderly loved one's needs can be a full-time job. And if those needs are complex or if you live a distance away, it can be very hard to do that job well. But before you throw up your hands in frustration, you may want to consider hiring a geriatric care manager.

What is a geriatric care manager?
Geriatric care managers are trained professionals. Many of them are licensed social workers or nurses who have extra training. Their job is to help older adults and their families identify and meet various needs. Depending upon their training and the services your family requires, geriatric care managers may:

  • Assess the situation
  • Identify needs and come up with solutions
  • Arrange for necessary care, including hiring home health workers and accessing medical and social services
  • Coordinate and monitor care for families who do not live close by
  • Help with or provide referrals for medical, legal, and financial needs
  • Provide counseling and crisis intervention
  • Assist in moving an older person between home, retirement community, assisted living, or other facilities

How do you find a geriatric care manager?
You can find a geriatric care manager through various sources. These include your local hospital or government senior citizen agency.

You should make sure that a care manager is properly trained and licensed. One way to do this is to hire one certified by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM). To be certified, a care manager must pass required tests and take part in continuing education.

NAPGCM requires a care manager to earn one of four certifications to be accepted in their membership:

  • Care Manager Certified (CMC)
  • Certified Case Manager (CCM)
  • Certified Social Worker Case Manager (C-SWCM)
  • Certified Advanced Social Worker Case Management (C-ASWCM)

To find a certified geriatric case manager in your area, visit the NAPGCM website at www.caremanager.org and click on "Find a Care Manager."

When you interview potential care managers, find out:

  • What services they offer
  • What fees they charge for each service
  • Whether they are licensed and/or certified
  • How communication will be handled
  • How their past clients felt about their services (ask for references)
  • If he or she is available for emergencies

Geriatric care managers can improve the quality of life for both older adults and their family members. They can take a load of responsibility and worry off family members' shoulders. They can also help an older adult live as well and as independently as possible.

By Lila Havens, Staff Writer
Created on 03/31/2008
Updated on 08/30/2011
Sources:
  • National Association of Social Workers. Caregiving tip sheet - questions and answers about case management.
  • AARP Public Policy Institute. Geriatric care managers: a profile of an emerging profession.
  • National Institute on Aging. So far away: 20 questions and answers about long-distance caregiving.
  • National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. What is a geriatric care manager?
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