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A Search Engine for Life’s Complications

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I have been in a discussion lately with some of my peers about how to describe the care management that we do as our calling.  In the internet age, most of what defines us all comes down to what you find or where you look on the Web for help.  One of my colleagues refers to Care Managers as “the search engine that offers only the best options.”  Another of my associates refers to our job description as the “care navigators” who help people with older loved ones find their way.  And a third refers to us as “the life and logistics planners for individuals 65 and older….we take care of EVERYTHING so they don’t have to.”

Okay, we may not be quite there yet.  Because most people say they found us after a web search brought them to the Aging Life Care Association, our national society.  They have a page where you can then just enter your zip code and find a qualified professional close to you or your loved one.  Yet, when I ask people what they were searching for when they came upon the ALCA site, they offer a wide range of needs or issues.  And that should come as no real surprise.  Our team interviewed three dozen professionals involved in care management for older adults and their families in 2016 and 2017.  This is what those professionals reported to us when we asked them to tell us what percentages of the families they serve had what needs:

TYPE OF CASE %
Alzheimer’s Disease, “Dementia” 66.2
Home Safety 66.2
Medication Questions, Complications 58.2
Acute Medical Crises 50.3
Inadequate Self-Care 48.0
Chronic Medical Condition 46.8
Family Support 45.5
Residential Transition 39.9
Patient Discharge, Home Care 38.6
Financial Challenges 33.7
Other 34.5

We all looked at how things ranked and had to agree that the top issues where we help families pretty much follow this national sample of care manager experience.  Notice that this table totals to nearly 530%.  Talk about multi-tasking!  This says that a typical family with a crisis surrounding their older loved one is trying to handle five or more crises…not just one.  Maybe that is why you may want the help of a professional when life begins to change for mom or dad or any other older loved one in your orbit.  Maybe that is why you want a care manager to be that search engine that can uncomplicate your life with the best solutions to all of life’s complicated moments.

            Charlotte Bishop is a Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago.  Please email your questions to info@creativecaremanagement.com.

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