Navigating the aging process can be a difficult challenge. If you’re an adult child of an aging parent, it’s likely that you’ve had some anxious moments wondering what the future will bring. What should you do if Mom or Dad’s health problems get worse and it’s not safe for them to be alone? How will you know where to find good home care services? Should you be looking at assisted living? What are the options and how much do they cost?
A care manager can address your concerns and help you sort through the important decisions that have to be made. With a background in social work, nursing, gerontology or other human services field, care managers offer expert guidance and recommendations on state and federal resources and entitlement programs, home care services and long-term care, and referrals to legal and financial professionals. They can step in to coordinate care with your loved one’s doctors and they can be your eyes and ears when family members can’t be present.
The care manager will start by doing an in-home assessment and developing a care plan that meets the senior’s individual needs. They’ll take into account the senior’s mental and physical health, living situation, lifestyle, and preferences. Some seniors want to live as independently as possible in their own homes, but doing so safely might require home modifications and/or in-home services to help with dressing, bathing, or meal preparation. Care managers are familiar with home care providers and community resources, and can guide you to the most appropriate services for your loved one. You don’t have to do the legwork and vetting yourself.
The care manager can monitor services once they’re in place and give updates to the family as needed. They’ll make sure your loved one gets the right level of care, now and as time goes on. If there’s a health crisis, the care manager will stay on top of things and communicate with the medical team. If the senior has dementia or another chronic illness, the care manager can help you and your family plan and prepare for the future.
Just as important, the care manager can relieve the stress that family caregivers so often feel when they don’t know where to turn. A professional by your side can make the journey smoother and give you peace of mind.