Care managers - also called "geriatric care managers" or "case managers" - represent a fairly new development in the care of people with chronic, debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer's. As their name implies, care managers coordinate the services and resources that can make a difference in the overall care of a person with Alzheimer's. Professional care managers are highly qualified individuals from the fields of social work, nursing, gerontology and psychology. They act as advocates for the elderly and know what services are available in your region, how to access them and how to negotiate the government-supported programs that can help pay for them.
What kinds of services do Geriatric Care Managers, or GCMs, offer?
Geriatric Care Managers provide a variety of services. The following are common examples of the assistance they can provide:
- Acting as a liaison between professionals (such as elder law attorneys, financial planners, trust officers, physicians and other professionals) and the family/caregiver
- Coordinating a loved one's move into a care facility
- General consulting on your loved one's care plan
- Grocery shopping
- Ordering a plumber, gardener or other general contractor
- Ordering, managing and monitoring the care of your loved one at home
- Paying bills
- Arranging or providing trips to doctors' offices
- Providing 24-hour availability in case of emergencies (such as an emergency trip to the hospital)
How do I pay for a Geriatric Care Manager's services?
The services of a GCM are paid for privately and usually cost between $50 to $150/hour, depending on the services offered and where you live. The initial assessment is usually more costly (a one-time fee ranging from $100 to $250, depending on the time frame and geographical area being served), because the GCM spends significant time collecting accurate and complete information about the individual in order to ensure a better quality of life at home or in an adult community.
How can I locate a Geriatric Care Manager nearest to my loved one or me?
Visit the National Association of Geriatric Care Managers website to search for a care manager near you and to find out more about care management.
What questions should I ask when interviewing a Geriatric Care Manager?
- Are you licensed in your profession?
- Are you reachable on a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week basis for emergency purposes?
- How many years of experience do you have working in this field?
- May I contact references?
- What are your costs/fees?
- What are your degrees/credentials and what training do you have?