It has been over a year since my first posting when I started this blog by talking about why a person should call a Geriatric Care Manager (GCM). Since I have answered this question with almost everyone of the calls I get from people looking for our help, it seemed like a good idea to revisit our “job description.” GCMs are:
Local professionals who know what resources are appropriate for your older loved one and which are most appropriate. What I often tell people is that we are “option-makers” for the decision-maker.”
Eyes and ears that can help long distance caregivers be aware of any changes that may affect an older parent’s independence or well-being. The long distance family caregiver may have bought mom the walker, but the local GCM can be there to see whether mom is using it.
Bridges to help an older family member make life transitions from fully independent living through home assistance and ultimately to assisted living at the appropriate times. Earlier involvement with a geriatric care manager also can help your elder family member develop a rapport with a professional who can facilitate the bigger changes later because they have been there earlier for the smaller changes.
Peace of mind by being the professional buffer to a long distance caregiver for some of the minor or major crises that may otherwise be very stressful for the entire family.
Finding a GCM is easy. The national association that certifies GCMs, the NAPGCM, has a comprehensive, searchable list of all the professionals in good standing. You can search geographically by simply entering a zip code or you can search by name. The search tool also asks you to check what kind of GCM you are seeking; check the “Certified GCM” box to see a complete list of professionals in good standing. Here is a link to another site that offers a range of resources, including care managers, Aging Care. Finally, Caring.com offers a listing of GCMs specifically in the state of Illinois.
As you make contact with a potential GCM for your elder, I encourage you to look for a good communicator, because this professional is going to be your loved one’s advocate. You also want to ask about their experience, and check professional references who can speak on their behalf. Finally, it is important to ask about fees since insurance does not cover a GCM. A recent article in Reuters suggested that fees nationally range from $60 to $300 an hour.
Charlotte Bishop is a Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Case Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families throughout metropolitan Chicago. Please email your questions to Charlotte Bishop.