What Is A Geriatric Care Manager and How Can I Find One?

National Institute on Aging

Gina lived in Phoenix, and her father, Bill, lived alone in an LA apartment. She visited him several times each year. When she began to notice that Bill was starting to have problems managing some things on his own, Gina called the Area Agency on Aging. The Agency staff helped her to set up daily meal delivery and a home health aide for Bill. A few months later, Bill fainted in church and was taken to a local hospital. He was there for a day before someone was able to track Gina down. The hospital discharge planner wanted Gina to come in person to discuss what her father needed—but Gina couldn’t get away immediately. Her husband suggested hiring a geriatric care manager, someone based in LA who could keep tabs on Bill more efficiently than Gina. Now a care manager visits Bill once a month and calls Gina with updates and recommendations.

Professional care managers are usually licensed nursing or social work professionals who specialize in geriatrics. Some families hire a geriatric care manager to evaluate and assess a parent’s needs and to coordinate care through community resources. The cost of an initial evaluation varies and may be expensive, but geriatric care managers can offer a useful service. They are a sort of“professional relative” to help you and your family to identify needs and how to meet them. These professionals can also be helpful in leading family discussions about sensitive subjects.

When interviewing a geriatric care manager, you might want to ask:

  • Are you a licensed geriatric care manager?
  • Are you a member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers?
  • How long have you been providing care management services?
  • Are you available for emergencies?
  • Does your company also provide home care services?
  • How will you communicate information to me?
  • What are your fees? Will you provide them in writing prior to starting services?
  • Can you provide references?

The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers can help you find a care manager near your family member’s community. You can also call or write the Eldercare Locator for recommendations. In some cases, local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association may be able to recommend geriatric care managers who have assisted other families. The Resources section of this booklet has information on how to contact these organizations.

©2007 National Institute of Aging


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