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Geriatric Care Managers Explained

Geriatric care manager and clientCaregiving can easily become overwhelming. With so many challenges to juggle and crises to handle, things can quickly get out of hand.

Fortunately, there are trained professionals who can help you get through it. Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) are specially trained in the field of eldercare and are able to help you through anything from hospitalizations to family disputes.  They can assess needs, handle crises (such as an emergency hospitalization), help place an older adult in a long-term care facility, help solve family disputes, locate community resources, or simply fill in for family caregivers at doctor appointments and assist with other daily care.

For many families, senior care planning and coordination can be a significant problem. In some cases, a loved one’s health needs are at a crisis point and there are too many decisions to make all at once. Or you may live too far from your loved one to check on her regularly. Some aging seniors are resistant to receiving care. In other situations, family conflict can be a major issue.

GCMs are like a quarterback, coordinating all the different moving parts of senior care — from logistics and scheduling to emotional support and family mediation. Their experience can guide you through the challenges you face.


Assessment. When you first hire a geriatric care manager, they meet with your loved one (and family members, if appropriate) to evaluate the current situation. They assess your loved one’s physical environment and mental, social, and emotional functioning and independence. Based on this assessment and conversations with family members, the GCM will identify your loved one’s care needs.

Plan of care. Once the assessment is complete, the GCM will make recommendations about the types of care your loved one needs. They will meet with you to review these recommendations in detail and get your feedback. They will note recommendations in a written plan of care. As care progresses or as care needs change, the care manager will note progress in the plan of care and make updates as needed.

Coordination of services. Geriatric care managers can be as actively involved in the care of your loved one as you need them to be; be sure to clarify expectations at the outset. Most GCMs know all the senior care providers in your area and are well prepared to help you find the best match for your loved one. You can expect them to help you find agencies to provide in-home care, hospice, or skilled nursing care, as well as to coordinate the comings and goings of the caregivers. If your loved one needs residential care, the GCM will help you find the best assisted living or nursing home that meets your loved one’s needs and fits within your budget. Some GCMs will also help with day-to-day care for your loved one — picking up prescriptions, taking your loved one to doctor appointments, or visiting for regular check-ins.

Family support. GCMs also provide invaluable support to family members as they cope with a loved one’s decline or illness. They can help smooth communication and mediate disagreements.

Ideas, products, and innovations. GCMs are always on the lookout for new types of services and tools to make caregiving easier and to help keep your loved one safe. Many will be able to tell you about new technologies, tools, or aids that help your loved one maintain independence and mobility for as long as possible.

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