Many of my boomer friends are currently empty nesters, or at least their kids are grown, and they are now considering how this phase of life will look for them...Will they travel more?...Will they change careers?...Will they spend more time with grandchildren?...Will they get more involved with hobbies or worthy volunteer work?
Suddenly out of the blue, they get a call saying their parent has fallen, or has been hospitalized and needs someone to help them. One of my boomer couple friends had left to go on a much anticipated, and meticulously planned extended trip to Europe, when she received a call that both her parents had fallen ill and were hospitalized. Both parents were in their eighty's and had medical issues, but nothing major going on prior to this call. So you will understand that she was in shock, confused, guilt ridden, fearful and many other emotions all at once. This situation plays out many times over in this ever increasing aging population.
"The “Baby Boomers” (those born between 1946 and 1964) started turning 65 in 2011, and that number of older people will increase dramatically during the 2010–2030 period. The older population in 2030 is projected to be twice as large as their counterparts in 2000, growing from 35 million to 72 million, representing nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. population." Click here for details.
Because of my years as a geriatric care manager and managing the care of my own parents and grandparents, I knew the steps and solutions for these type situations...whereas my friends and most others do not. Many of them have never heard the of term "geriatric care manager".
Who are Geriatric Care Managers (GCM)?
Geriatric Care Managers are health and human service specialist who acts as a guide and advocate for families that are caring for older relatives. The Geriatric Care Manager is educated, and experienced in any of several fields related to care management including, but not limited to, nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care.
Typically speaking an individual with:
• An advanced degree in a field related to care management, i.e. counseling, nursing, mental health, social work, psychology or gerontology,
• Engaged in the direct practice of services to the elderly and their families; and has two years of supervised experience in the field of gerontology following the completion of the degree
• Many have additional certifications from National Professional Certifying Boards.
What Do Geriatric Care Managers Do?
Geriatric care management is a holistic client-centered approach to caring for older adults facing ongoing health challenges. Geriatric care manager's expertise provides answers and options at a time of uncertainty for families. Activities of a GCM could include:
• Assessment and monitoring
• Planning and problem-solving
• Education and advocacy
• Family caregiver coaching
Geriatric Care Managers assists clients in reaching their maximum functional potential, while focusing on the individual’s independence and considering their safety and security as well. In addition, the GCM has extensive knowledge about the costs, quality, and availability of resources. For more specific details: click here.
Like many other geriatric specialists, you may not be able to find a professional certified geriatric care manager in your geographical area or in your parent's area. In addition, most all GCM services are private pay. Medicare does not reimburse for the services. In some instances Long Term Care Insurance will cover some of the cost. Average professional fees for a certified geriatric care manager range from $90.00 to $200.00/hour, varying across the US, and based on the different types services offered.
It is important to remember that a GCM does not provide hands on care. The service can be defined as coordination of care, monitoring of care, or care consultation.
It definitely takes a team to adequately provide for our aging population as their needs change. No one should attempt to walk this journey alone. There is help in many areas of care, points of access, and support groups.
Rhonda Caudell founded Endless Legacy after years of family care giving and serving families as a nurse geriatric care manager. Her life journey brought her to her passion of improving family relationships and communication through elderly parent care coaching. Showing families how to create a long term care process and plan that their kids and the generations to come will want to repeat is her expertise. She works with families throughout the United States. You can reach her at EndlessLegacy.com or via email at Rhonda@EndlessLeagacy.com.