One of the things getting older doesn’t always prepare you for is all the decisions you have to make. Residents of Cedar Rapids and elsewhere may sometimes feel overwhelmed by the various choices that are required, including end-of-life care, at a time you much rather would be relaxing and taking things easy in your golden years.
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care and Hospice understand and sympathize. We all would prefer to not have to make some of these decisions and have these discussions with family members, and health care providers.
However, we encourage people about the importance to have this dialogue because not everyone gets to have these opportunities.
In an ideal situation, people can spend weeks or even months evaluating the pros or cons of staying at home and receiving home health care or relocating to a place that offers higher levels of care and supervision.
Visits could be arranged and interviews taken place and people can make an educated decision.
However, there are sometimes reasons why this may not happen in this manner. Someone could have a fall or a medical incident such as a heart attack or stroke. It might not be safe for you or maybe you’ve injured your brain so are unable to make binding decisions.
A choice might have to be made on your behalf, by concerned family members and other supporters.
It doesn’t have to be like this, and it doesn’t have to feel overwhelming.
There are a variety of options available for individuals and their families to provide some decisions and some peace of mind.
One is using the services of a geriatric care manager, which is a position designed to help clients understand all the options available to them.
According to the National Institute on Aging, a geriatric care manager is considered a ‘professional relative’ whose role is to assist you and your family with some of the information facing them regarding what decisions might be needed, including whether to move somewhere or stay at home receiving home health care. Or, once someone starts looking at options for relocating, the geriatric care manager can discuss the different types of facilities for seniors, everything from advanced care to memory care.
Geriatric care managers are often licensed social workers or licensed nurses who have experience and training in working with senior topics. Their role is to assist families with correct and current information so they can make smarter decision or decisions.
Along with general health and aging knowledge, they may also know specific details about their local community, including area resources, people in aging-related businesses, and other services.
They can answer questions, arrange visits and interviews, and let you know what choices might need to be made soon or further in the future regarding your care. They will also provide guidance as to what decisions might need to be made, and how to get started making these decisions.
One useful tool that a geriatric care manager can offer is helping a client create their own long-term care plan.
This plan can outline what the client wishes in terms of levels of care and future health needs. It can also include contact info for local questions if any future assistance is needed.
A geriatric care manager may be seen as a useful option for people who feel overwhelmed with all the choices. Because they’re familiar with the ins and out of the local senior community they can give honest answers about everything from cost to induvial people in leadership positions.
Working with a geriatric care manager could be especially useful for family members who aren’t in the area but their parent, relation, or loved one is.
Since they may be in another part of the country, it’s hard to learn what’s available in terms of their loved one’s safety, housing, costs, diet, exercise, and other things that might be a factor in someone needing new options.
Time to learn more
For people interested in learning more about the role of the geriatric care manager, there are a variety of online resources out there.
Plus, May has been designated as Geriatric Care Managers Month, an opportunity to learn more about the profession and the value of working with one.
The AARP said this position can provide some peace of mind to families who aren’t sure of future steps. But they also advise getting to know about the person to make sure you and other family members are comfortable working with him or her.
There often is a cost for the services of the geriatric care manager, and it’s often out-of-pocket, which makes it even more important that the right person is selected.
So learning their rates ahead of time is important. Some may charge a general fee for services, others may provide detailed invoices of everything they’ve done for you, including emails, phone calls, and actual visits.