By Colleen Van Horn, RN, BSN, PHN, CCM
May is National
Month; and as we take time to recognize and appreciate the hard work of senior care givers throughout the nation, it is also an opportune time to explore the work of geriatric care managers – and to learn when and how these talented professionals may help family caregivers improve health and happiness for aging loved ones.
What is a Geriatric Care Manager?
In a recent press release from the
, association president D. Byron Cordes said, “Geriatric Care Managers across the country work tirelessly to help aging family members and their caregivers to navigate the healthcare maze.” He added that, in establishing May as National Geriatric Care Managers Month, the organization hopes “to help the public better understand the work we do.”
So what is a geriatric care manager (GCM)? A GCM is a professional caregiver specializing in health and human services. These skilled individuals dedicate their considerable expertise in nursing, gerontology, social work and/or psychology to assisting and advocating for families taking care of aging relatives or others with chronic health problems. By working side by side with individuals and family members, geriatric care managers can optimize resources and elucidate the complexities of contemporary healthcare systems to ensure sufficient, sustainable care and peace of mind for seniors and families alike.
Know the warning signs: when to call a GCM for professional, comprehensive care
For those taking care of an aging loved one, it can sometimes be tough to pinpoint the signs of deteriorating health or quality of life. The National Association of Geriatric Care Managers provides the list below as a resource for family caregivers to consult when assessing a parent’s ability to care for him or herself. It may be time to seek help when seniors begin to do the following:
- Forgetting medication or taking improper dosage
- Neglecting bills or behaving in a manner that boosts risk for financial abuse
- Difficulty driving
- Tendency to get lost when walking or driving
- Exhibiting hoarding behaviors
- Show excessive confusion, forgetfulness or poor judgment
- Surprise or unexplained weight loss
- Falling or bruising easily
- Show extremely suspicious tendencies
- Lose interest in socializing
- Dangerous forgetfulness – leaving appliances on or neglecting food on the stove, etc.
As experienced geriatric care managers, we at
encourage families to take some time this month to reconnect with aging loved ones, talk about future care options, and get in touch with a representative at our
if necessary. To learn more or schedule a custom consultation, visit us online today: