True story: recently a colleague told me she’d received a phone call from a friend on the West Coast, a geriatrician I’ll call Dr. Z. His 85-year old father, who lived on the East Coast, had fallen at home and broken his arm. He was in the hospital but would soon be discharged. He was insistent he’d be fine returning home. After all, up until this injury he’d still been living independently. He drove himself to the store and to his medical appointments.

As his father’s only child and long-distance caregiver, Dr. Z had doubts that his father a.) should be driving in the first place, b.) was safe living at home, going up and down the stairs, and c.) was able to live as independently as he claimed. He knew his father was a proud man and would be loath to give up his car keys or ask for help. And, the hospital social worker also had doubts that Dr. Z’s father would be “fine.” He seemed frail and forgetful. He was underweight. He had bumps and bruises, likely from previous falls.

Dr. Z. was a geriatric physician, skilled in the medical, social, and psychological issues that concern older adults. And yet he had no idea of what to do next, what the options were for assisted living or for home care services, how to talk to his father about the future, and how to manage all of it at a distance. My colleague explained what some of the choices were and how a geriatric care manager, also known as an aging life care manager™, could help. Someone local would know what services were available, arrange for an appropriate level of care, keep an eye on things, monitor Dad’s situation, and act as an advocate for Dad with his healthcare providers.

Geriatric care managers are trained to assess, plan, coordinate, and monitor services for older adults and their families. They are often nurses or social workers with expertise in eldercare issues. They can be an invaluable guide through the healthcare maze that can often be confusing and confounding, even for healthcare professionals such as Dr. Z. They can handle difficult interpersonal concerns, provide support to families, navigate medical crises, accompany the elder to medical appointments, and review the best options for care, as well as the criteria for state and federal entitlement programs.

In short, geriatric care managers can find efficient ways to ensure that an elder’s needs are met …and provide peace of mind for everyone involved.

Geriatric care managers with Senior Transitions work with families everyday to find the best solutions to the challenges they are facing, with a focus on maintaining the independence of their aging loved one, while helping families reduce their stress. If your aging loved one lives in the Big Bend (Tallahassee) area of Florida, we are able to help you find the resources needed.Contact us today at 850-894-6720 or to get help. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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