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GCM as care navigator


Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) are the navigators for caregivers who are willing to stop and ask for directions!  That is the answer, but let me explain the question.  As you can imagine, one of the most common conversations I have with people about our services is simply “what does a GCM do?”  If we were plumbers or electricians, it might be easier to describe what we do.  Most everyone has called for a plumber or electrician and knows what they do.  But since what we do is as different each time around as our clients’ needs are, a description will be different for each one.  But the one thing all our all clients share in common is that we have been of help in navigating the paths that they are traveling for the very first time.  But they had to ask for directions – for our help –  we could help.

             I talked at some length this past week with an associate who knows what we do, and we wrestled with this notion of explaining what we do as geriatric care managers.  She had a lot of very useful ideas as someone who really does get what we do, but still is on the outside.  We finished our conversation and both of us left our offices for the parking lot to go our separate ways.  As I approached my car, a vehicle slowed and the window went down.  It was my associate whose phone had died and she could not Google for directions back to her office.  Might I give her some direction, she asked?  I directed her back to a route that would get her on her way, and then it occurred to me.

            Geriatric care managers are care navigators, but only for people who are the kind who will stop and ask for directions.  With so many sources of advice and direction available on the internet these days many of us may forget how to ask for directions.  If you can just type in the key words you will get pages of possibilities, but that is precisely the problem.  How do you choose when all you really are getting is the top solutions based on what services have paid to rank that high or just where other people have clicked when they were looking.  And what if you did not type in the words that could really get you where you needed to go?

            Geriatric care mangers are such great navigators, because they are professionally trained and certified in how to meet the needs of caregivers and their loved ones.  Our team, for instance, has certifications like:

  • geriatric care manager (GCM)’
  • certified case manager (CCM)
  • certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC)
  • licensed clinical social worker (LCSW)
  • licensed professional counselor (LCP)
  • registered nurse (RN)
  • and more.

Geriatric care managers can show you that yes, there are maybe a hundred home care agencies in your geographic area, but here are two or three that we know will provide the services that will most benefit mom or dad.  Geriatric care managers are particularly good navigators because they have already been down the paths that most caregivers are just walking for the first time.  Some of those caregivers are not the types to stop and ask directions, so we may not receive their call.  If you know of a caregiver who is willing to stop and ask directions, please recommend a geriatric care manager as the experienced navigators to get them and their loved ones where they need to go.

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


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