By Colleen Van Horn RN, B.S.N., PHN, CCM, INNOVATIVE HEALTHCARE CONSULTANTS
“Taking care of my elderly father, with his complicated medical care, has become more than I can handle,” a reader wrote in to Harvard professor and physician Dr. Anthony Komaroff’s medical advice column. The reader continued, “A friend suggested I hire a geriatric-care manager. How can this person help?”
Dr. Komaroff answered by making a point that many children caring for elderly parents can relate to. He explained children don’t want to give up caring for their parents because they find it rewarding; yet for many reasons, caring for an elderly parent can get too overwhelming. This, he said, is where a geriatric care manager comes in. Geriatric care managers can lighten the children’s load while still enabling them to play a major role in their parents’ care.
Here are some of the ways a geriatric-care manager can help:
Sometimes it’s difficult for a parent to let their children know what they need because parents are used to addressing their children’s needs. This leaves the children to try to figure it out, which can lead to mistakes. Not only are geriatric care managers trained to evaluate the needs of the elderly; they aren’t their children, so it may be easier for the elderly parents to express their needs.
Providing trained professionals:
Of course, children do their best to provide the best care for their parents, but they’re not professionals and may simply not know the best practices. Geriatric care managers can facilitate care from professionals all over the medical spectrum, including nursing, social work, counseling, and gerontology.
Between medicine, doctor appointments, and navigating through everyday life, caring for an elderly parent can get overwhelming. Geriatric care specialists can help coordinate care between specialists, hospital and home-care staff, and family members.
Helping family dynamics:
Caring for an elderly parent can be very emotional and confrontational for a family. Not only is there the reversed dynamic between the parent and the child, but there can be issues between siblings and other family members that bring up emotions like guilt and anger. Geriatric care managers can help by bringing families together to discuss options supportively.
At Innovative Healthcare Consultants, we are aware of all the challenges associated with elderly care, but we are also aware of what an incredibly rewarding experience it can be for children to provide love, care and support for their parents. We strive to maintain the well being, independence and dignity of the older family members while being sensitive to the family's needs and resources. Find us online at
or feel free to give us a call at (760) 731-1334.