What does a Geriatric Care Manager do?

A Geriatric Care Manager is educated, tested and certified to help people navigate the transitions involved in aging.  Each person’s journey is different, so no two paths look exactly the same.  The GCM first learns who the person is and what is important to them.  In this process, he/she identifies where the stumbling blocks are to attaining the life that best fits them at this age and stage.  The role of the GCM is to figure out what the person wants, offer options for how to get their and advocate for them as these choose and execute these options.

From the website of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers: A Geriatric Care Manager is a health and human services specialist who acts as a guide and advocate for families who are caring for older relatives or disabled adults. The Geriatric Care Manager is educated and experienced in any of several fields related to care management, including, but not limited to nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care.

The Geriatric Care Manager assists clients in attaining their maximum functional potential.  The individual’s independence is encouraged, while safety and security concerns are also addressed. Geriatric Care Managers are able to address a broad range of issues related to the well-being of their client. They also have extensive knowledge about the costs, quality, and availability of resources in their communities.

Geriatric Care Managers become the “coach” and families or clients the “team captain.”

A good friend of mine, owner of Senior Options, describes the care manager like this:  Imagine a wagon wheel, with all of the spokes in place.  Each spoke represents a different person or agency in that person’s team.  The client is the hub, and when communication is effective between the client and all of the team members, information is efficiently and accurately provided to each member as needed.  The whole “wheel” rolls well together.  Sometimes the client invites a care manager in to the center of the wheel to help keeps the spokes of communication strong, to keep the wheel rolling where it needs to go.  I may not be writing that exactly how she says it, so you can take what you just read as my interpretation.

Either way, the GCM is there to assist in accessing resources and advocating on behalf of the client.  It is a dynamic role that is unique to each client, and changes as the needs, preferences and resources of the client change.

I am a Certified Geriatric Care Manager, and provide this service through Interim HealthCare’s “My Health Advisor” program.   Interim also provides InHome Care, caregivers who serve people in their homes.  A person can have in-home care services and not opt to have a health advisor.  They can also have a health advisor and not use Interim’s caregivers.  In some situations people choose both services from the same company.  Helping to evaluate this decision and others, is my job as the Health Advisor, or care manager.  Feel free to check the webpage, above, or to call me at either number 541-779-0054 or 541-601-5341.  The initial consultation is always complimentary.