Do you live in a different city than your elderly loved ones? Are you worried about making sure they are getting the help they need to stay healthy and safe? You might want to consider getting help from a Care Manager.
What is a Care Manager?
A Care Manager is a professional facilitator who can give advice and provide information about the variety of options available in their area for elder care and services. Care Managers are not only experts in the services available; they also know the quality and costs of different providers. Similarly to the way a financial advisor helps their clients sort through different options in investing their money, a Care Manager helps elders and their families understand and choose the best options for elder care. The wide breadth of experience of their expertise allows them to identify the type of care that best meets the needs of you or your loved one.
How Can a Care Manager Help You or a Loved One?
The first step a Care Manager takes is to conduct an assessment to identify the elder’s needs, problems and their eligibility for assistance. Then they will suggest a plan to meet those needs. That plan may include services such as:
- Providing education, advocacy and support for the elder and their family.
- Arranging and monitoring in-home help and other services such as yard and house care, Meals on Wheels, or transportation.
- Assessing financial, medical and legal issues, and offering referrals to specialists in order to prevent future problems and preserve assets.
- Serving as a liaison between elders and their families, especially if family members are not close by.
- Regularly checking on elders and doing periodic reassessments.
- Alerting families if there is a change requiring more assistance, or a problem that needs to be solved.
- Helping families to assess the need of their loved one for counseling, or for moving to a facility which provides more daily care, such as an assisted living facility or nursing home.
- Assisting with moving an elder to a care facility.
- Providing services, family support and communication with families in the new facility.
What Kind of Training Do Care Managers Have?
Care Managers have a wide knowledge and experience about the services available in their community for elders, including housing options. In addition, they are familiar with the differences in quality and costs of services and care facilities. Most people in care management have a degree in nursing, social work, or gerontology. Their education and experience give them a good background to be able to approach each elder’s needs individually, and to be able to advise elders and their families about the variety of options available.
What to Expect When You Contact a Care Manager
These caring professionals understand that aging is a difficult and challenging time for you or your loved one. We all like to be independent and take care of ourselves, so letting other people help us can be hard. As experienced advisors for elders and their families, a care manager knows that building trust is a part of their job. Before elders and their families’ contract for a formal assessment, the Care Manager will talk with an elder and their family about how care management works. They will answer any questions and will set up a time to do a formal assessment of needs if you or your loved one is ready.
Care Managers Help Elders Maintain Dignity and Independence
The challenges of aging are sometimes overwhelming. Naturally, you or your loved one wants to stay as independent as possible. Nevertheless, to remain healthy and safe, we often need help as we age. When elders are not able to make healthy, nutritious meals, or do not go to doctor’s appointments because of difficulties in transportation, they can possibly end up with poorer health that requires more care and less independence.
A Care Manager can assess the unique and changing needs of you or your loved one and suggest services that will prevent problems before they happen.
When a change of living situation is needed, they can help families think through the options and arrange for the right move.
Giving Families Peace of Mind
The knowledge and experience Care Managers have about the field of elder care can give peace of mind to elders and their families. With this expert on their side, families with elderly loved ones can know that if they are traveling or live out of state, there is a plan in place to make sure that their loved one is safe and that someone is on call 24/7. What is a Care Manager? Someone who can help you and your loved ones have less stress and more confidence that you are getting the best options in elder care for you.