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What is a geriatric care manager?

Shelley Webb
Nursing
Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) are professionals in the health care industry who either have a degree in nursing, social work, gerontology or psychology. They have experience in the care of aging loved ones and have a firm grasp on the financial, medical, and legal problems that people regularly encounter when planning eldercare. They know how to utilize the systems that are already in place in order to help to keep loved ones safe and as independent as possible while helping to utilize available monies for the maximum benefit.

In addition to helping aging parents remain independent and safe in their homes, geriatric care managers (GCMs) can also help find appropriate care facilities for elderly patients when their care at home can no longer be maintained safely.  It is important to note that often, GCMs services' are not covered by insurance and thus are private pay.  Hourly fees may range from $125 to $200 per hour.

There is a membership organization of geriatric care managers called the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) which provides listings of GCMs by zip code throughout the United States.  Information on each member is available You can access the organization's website at www.caremanager.org

 

Anthony Cirillo
Geriatric Medicine

Geriatric Care Management plans and coordinates the care of the elderly and/or disabled to improve their quality of life and to maintain their independence. The Geriatric Care Manager is trained in any of several fields nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care. Just as there are patient advocates, think of a geriatric care manager as an advocate for seniors.

The duties of a care manager include:
  • Conducting care-planning assessments to identify needs.
  • Putting a care plan together and then executing that plan.
  • Screening, arranging, and monitoring in-home help.
  • Acting as a liaison to families at a distance.
  • Assisting with moving their clients to or from different care settings.
  • Reviewing financial, legal, or medical issues and referring clients to experts for same such as estate planning, living wills, and family trust experts.
  • Providing crisis intervention.
  • Providing client and family education.
  • Visiting clients on a regular, routine basis to make sure they are safe, doing well, eating properly, and taking needed medications.
  • Making necessary medical appointments and assuring client gets to them.
  • Identifying agencies and/or social services and other programs that client can avail.
  • Monitoring the elder’s finances and paying bills.

Education and training for this profession vary as people come upon it from different paths. So you can find people with a various master’s degrees such as in social work, gerontology, psychology, or business administration.

Entities that hire geriatric care managers include:
  • Families and adult children of relatives too far away
  • Banks and trust officers
  • Physicians and allied health professionals
  • Attorneys
  • Hospitals
  • Social service providers
  • Gerontology professionals
  • Senior housing communities

Geriatric Care Managers can earn from $28,000 to $85,000 or more annually depending on the specific job as well as the individual’s education, experience, responsibilities, and geographic location. Geriatric Care Managers offer something else for the client - the peace of mind that comes with knowing a loved one is being taken care of properly.

Goldina Erowele
Caregiving
Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) are awesome caregivers. They are healthcare professionals with nursing, social work, gerontology or psychology backgrounds. 

Geriatric Care Managers do not specialize in all areas. When a Geriatric Care Manager says s/he practices “care management,” find out her/his areas of expertise. You will want to hire someone who regularly handles clients with similar needs.

Geriatric Care Managers who primarily work with older adults bring more to their practice than an expertise in geriatrics. They bring knowledge of aging issues that allows them and their staff to overcome the myths relating to aging and to focus on the problems at hand. At the same time, they will bring an experience of working with resources in your community. They are most aware of real life problems, health and otherwise, that emerge as persons age and the tools that are available to address those issues. They are also connected with a community of social workers, nurses, psychologists, elder law attorneys, advocates, and other elder care professionals who may be of assistance to you.

The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers recognizes the following certifications (all of which require testing and continuing education):

  • Care Manager Certified (CMC), from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers (NACCM)
  • Certified Case Manager (CCM), from the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC)
  • Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager (C-ASWCM) from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
  • Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM), from the National Association of Social Workers.

For more on GCMs, please visit http://www.caremanager.org/why-care-management/selecting-a-care-manager/

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.