An evolving new specialty in the social services -the geriatric care manager - has been developed for the express purpose of helping families deal with the problems associated with caring for an older person. Geriatric care managers are health care professionals who have expertise in the aging process and in both health care and social services systems.
A geriatric care manager's work begins with a comprehensive assessment conducted by a registered nurse or a social worker. In addition to evaluating the older person's physical, functional, and emotional state and his or her current living arrangements, the care manager identifies and recommends community and private resources that might be helpful and provides ongoing monitoring and regular reporting if the client wishes.
The fees for these services range from $30 to $150 an hour. (The cost of any resources recommended are not included.) Some public and nonprofit agencies use a sliding-scale system based on income to set fees for their assessment and monitoring services.
A professional organization, the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, has established voluntary standards of quality and a code of ethics for geriatric care managers. The group represents care managers with professional degrees in human services and at least two years of geriatric experience.
Finding a Care Manager
Elderly persons and those who are responsible for them usually need advice from someone who is familiar with the resources available in the older person's community. The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers can refer callers to managers who have the necessary professional credentials for membership and certification in the organization. The address is: NAPGCM, 655 N. Alvernon, Suite 108, Tucson, AZ 85711; (520) 881-8008. Their web site address is: www.caremanager.org.
The local Area Agency on Aging can also put you in touch with geriatric care managers and other sources of information. To find the publicly funded agency that serves your area, call Eldercare Locator, 1-800-677-1116.
This is an excerpt of an article written by Mary Boo, the managing editor of The Guide to Retirement Living.