Keeping Mom and Dad Safe at Home
Lisa, a daughter in New York City, calls the Aging Life Care Manager at Careplan with concern about her 90-year-old parents. Through the phone consultation the Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) finds out her parents are suffering from social isolation. Their house is falling apart around them. They were recently in an automobile accident and are refusing any assistance at home. The daughter asks how can a geriatric care manager help?
I tell my families that as a Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) I do not provide any hands-on care. What I do provide is my expertise and knowledge related to aging well. It is a three-part process.
First, I will complete a comprehensive assessment of the older adult. Comprehensive assessment – a diagnostic and treatment process that identifies psycho-social and functional capabilities of an older adult. This helps develop a coordinated plan to maximize overall health with aging. A GCM will look at issues such as meal preparation, environment, nutrition, support system, ability to perform daily chores, medical appointments, socialization, ability to administer medications, ambulation, hygiene, safety, advanced directives etc… The assessment takes between 1.5 and 2 hours to complete.
Second the care manager will design a plan of care (the road map for getting back on track with aging well) tailored around the red flags identified in the assessment. Each red flag will be assigned a goal and if necessary a resource to assist with meeting the goal/outcome. For instance, an older adult may have triggered a flag for driving the goal would be to have the person attend a driving evaluation by months end at Cleveland Clinic Drivers Evaluation Program. Hence, Problem, Goal, Solution.
Third and lastly, is implementation of the plan of care. The GCM will contact the resource providers and put the plan into action. It is important to note that a GCM will often get the best home companion or caregiver from the home care agency because if they do not the agency risks no further business from the GCM; sad but true it is.
Family caregivers tend to put their loved ones first and either discount or deny the impact of care on them and other close family members. For this reason, it is wise to seek the advice of a geriatric care manager. A geriatric care manager knows how to provide the right amount of help at the right time. A GCM is an unbiased person making decisions based on facts and past history. They can lessen the stress and provide the solutions to problems related to aging and allow older children to be the child again.