If you are a family member or friend who is providing unpaid care for an older loved one, you probably feel frustrated and overwhelmed at times. If so, you are hardly alone. Your commitment to providing care is certainly admirable; however, you may reach a point at which you need help in the form of a geriatric care manager. The North Andover elder law attorneys at DeBruyckere Law Offices explain how a geriatric care manager can help you to provide the best possible to care for your loved one.
Caregiver Facts and Figures
If you are the primary caregiver for an elderly parent (or other loved one), it may feel as though you are going through something that no one else could possibly understand. At time, you likely get frustrated, resentful, lonely, and just plain exhausted. As the following facts and figures show, however, you are not alone:
- Almost 70 million informal and family caregivers provide care to someone who is ill, disabled, or aged in the U.S.
- Even among the most severely disabled older persons living in the community, about two-thirds rely solely on family members and other informal help, often resulting in great strain for the family caregivers.
- Lost income and benefits over a caregiver’s lifetime are estimated to average over $300,000.
- 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people suffering from Alzheimer’s each year.
What Is a Geriatric Care Manager?
A Geriatric Care Manager represents a growing service offering support to adult children who need outside assistance with care and personal management for their aging parents who live close by or far away. Often, children are still raising their own families and/or dedicated to a career that makes it difficult to also provide consistent care to an aging parent without help. Also referred to as Care Management or Aging Care Management, geriatric care managers are particularly useful in helping aging seniors find their way through the maze of long-term care services and issues. Here is a list of what a care manager might do:
- Assess the level and type of care needed and develop a care plan
- Take steps to start the care plan and keep it functioning
- Make sure care is received in a safe and disability friendly environment
- Resolve family conflicts and other family issues relating to long term care
- Become an advocate for the care recipient and the family caregiver
- Manage care for a loved one for out-of-town families
- Conduct ongoing assessments to monitor and implement changes in care
- Oversee and direct care provided at home
- Coordinate the efforts of key support systems
- Provide personal counseling
- Help with Medicaid qualification and application
- Arrange for services of legal and financial advisors
- Manage a conservatorship for a care recipient
- Provide assistance with placement in assisted living facilities or nursing homes
- Monitor the care of a family member in a nursing home or in assisted living
- Assist with the monitoring of medications
- Find appropriate solutions to avoid a crisis
- Coordinate medical appointments and medical information
- Provide transportation to medical appointments
- Assist families in positive decision making
- Develop long range plans for older loved ones not now needing care
How Do I Find a Geriatric Care Manager?
If you think a geriatric care manager might be able to help you, finding one is easy. A good place to start is on the National Care Planning Council’s website. The NCPC provides a listing service for families looking for care managers. There is typically a fee for an initial assessment.
Contact North Andover Elder Law Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about elder law issues, contactthe North Andover elder law attorneys at DeBruyckere Law Offices by calling (603) 894-4141 or (978) 969-0331 to schedule an appointment.
Elder law is a relatively new area of the law that focuses on the legal needs of the elderly and those who care for them. Instead of focusing on a specific area of the law (such as criminal law), elder law looks at how various areas of the law impact the elderly.
Deciding when guardianship is necessary is a decision that should only be made after consultation with an experienced elder law attorney. As the option of last resort, a court will only appoint a guardian when less restrictive options are insufficient to protect the proposed ward.
Over half of all seniors in long-term care rely on Medicaid to help with the cost of that care. Planning ahead it crucial because the Medicaid asset limits can put assets at risk in the absence of an existing plan.