Jack is 52 years old, married and runs a successful business. He takes great pride in having funded college educations for his three children. His parents are in their mid-80's. "I consider myself well-versed in retirement and financial planning," he says, "but this long term care system has had me baffled. Between choosing the right long term care insurance policy for ourselves to making sense of my mother's recent medicaid application, I needed the competence and expertise of Elderplanning to help all of us discuss and securely plan for the future."
Geriatric Care Management is one of the fastest growing professions of the decade. With changing demographics and increased longevity, aging is becoming more complicated. Elderplanning was established in 1995 by Kate McGahan; a certified social worker, geriatric care manager and insurance professional. After 15 years of experience in the local health care system, she created a local program to help people navigate the system and to access reliable, objective information.
Whether experiencing the transitions related to aging or planning ahead for the future, Elderplanning can help you to maintain control over your life wherever you may be. For more information, contact Elderplanning toll free at (877) 243-4436 or at their web site at www.elderplanning.com.
GCMs Help Reduce Hospitalization and Crisis for Older Adults
Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) work with all professionals concerned with eldercare: physicians, hospitals, health centers, home care providers, elder law attorneys, financial advisors, legal guardians and clinical social workers and nurses. Many people, however, have never heard of a geriatric care manager.
"GCM"s have been in existence for over thirty years. It has only been with the changing demographics that geriatric care management has become one of the fastest growing professions of the new millennium. In 1985, the first professional organization devoted to care management, The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) was created with 30 members. Today, the membership has grown to nearly 4000.
What is a GCM?
GCMs are trained to evaluate all aspects of an older person's life including legal, financial, nutritional, medical, home safety, and housing issues. They are knowledgeable about resources in the community and have the ability to match an individual's needs with appropriate agencies and services.
Most GCMs are graduate level social workers or registered nurses, and are licensed through their professional associations. A certification program exists for those care managers who meet education and experience requirements and who show proven competency in care management. Before you hire a GCM, ask about credentials, licensing and experience. In the process, determine the GCM's communication skills and integrity. Choose a GCM who is well-respected, well-connected to service providers and who has the right chemistry in working with you and your family to meet your most personal planning needs.
Some GCMs are affiliated with geriatric centers and home care agencies. While it can be beneficial to have access to these "systems", the essence of the true private geriatric care manager is objectivity and freedom from affiliations. Your GCM should provide full disclosure regarding business, professional or personal relationships with each recommended business, agency or institution.
What is the role of a GCM?
A GCM assists with short term eldercare solutions as well as long term arrangements. The GCM can help a family in the midst of crisis by setting up an "action plan" to deal with the issue at hand. A GCM can also complete a comprehensive assessment to plan for long term care needs. This customized "care plan" will help you to determine the extent of services and care needed by the older person addressing overall goals of safety, security and independence. It includes an evaluation of the individual's physical, emotional, financial and psychosocial well-being.
Once the care plan is developed, the role of the GCM is to help the client to meet established personal goals. The GCM may be a part of that plan, visiting on a regularly scheduled basis to evaluate progress and to respond to any changes that may occur. Roles may include such things as overseeing the older person at home, monitoring services, accompanying to doctors appointments and coaching through the transitions such as relocation to or from a hospital, nursing home or other residential program. The GCM can also keep the extended family informed and recommend adjustments to the care plan as needed. A good GCM takes every opportunity to encourage communication and understanding between family members. A GCM will counsel and educate clients and family caregivers to help them learn what to expect from complications of aging, dementia, chronic illness and to prepare for the costs and long term implications of these issues. At times of transition, the GCM "coaches" clients in making the best possible decisions.
A GCM is designed to create the most preferred, cost-effective plan for each client. Using a GCM to help in legal, financial and personal care planning can greatly reduce the overall costs of long term care. A GCM ensures that Medicare, insurance and community-financed services are utilized to the greatest extent possible. The ongoing involvement of a GCM can also reduce hospitalizations, critical illness, accidents and the associated costs, by overseeing that the client is following a plan that emphasizes safety, wellness and crisis prevention.
How do I find a GCM?
Also the National Eldercare Locator (800-677-1116) will help connect you with the appropriate local Office for the Aging which can help guide you to eldercare services in a specific county. More and more GCMs can be found on the internet and a local GCM should be able to refer you to any number of NAPGCM members across the US and Canada.