Turning Down the Noise: Care Managers simplifying the complexities of elder care

Our well-being has many components. In fact, our lives are surrounded by a complex web of needs and desires. As parents age, it is common for adult children to become the hub of care. Even if they are not providing the hands-on care themselves, they are often managing several categories of needs. In the midst of the responsibilities for healthcare, insurance, housing, finances, doctors, and transportation, life can become very noisy. The sheer amount of options available for professional services in each of these categories often turns up the noise instead of decreasing it. However, there is one professional in elder care that is turning down the noise: Geriatric Care Managers.

A Service of Simplicity

Our Geriatric Care Managers are trained as Registered Nurses and Masters of Social Work to be experts in the care of aging adults. They jump in the middle with families to take on the burden of coordinating the complex web of needs and care. Behind everything that they do is the service of simplifying the complex world of elder care. For adult children and families who are managing the care of a loved one, simplicity can be a real gift.

For example, they simplify: 

Doctor 
Visits

by making appointments, arranging transportation and providing a medical ear to capture information during the visits. 
Hospital Transitions  by managing crises, advocating for the aging adult, preparing the home for return, acting as a liaison between multiple doctors and therapists, and managing new medications, services, or care needed within the home. 
Paperwork

by assisting with Medicare applications, and long-term care insurance 

Important Decisions

by providing quality options with customized recommendations for care and housing 

Disease Management

by educating aging adults and family members and providing on- going oversight

Medications

by managing the changing dosages and regimen, and prepare pill boxes for the aging adult or caregivers 

Home Safety  by evaluating the home and making recommendations to decrease the risk of falls or injury and maximize independence. 
Family Dynamics

by acting as a neutral third party and mediator during family meetings and difficult conversations

End-of-Life Planning

by guiding conversations about value, healthcare wishes, Powers of Attorney, etc. 

Guiding Care Options & Difficult Decisions

One of the key ways that Geriatric Care Managers minimize the noise of elder care is by cutting the clutter of choices. From Assisted Living to Retirement Communities to Nursing Care to Home Care, it can be confusing to know what the right choice is for your loved one. By assessing the individual and listening to their story, needs, and values, Care Managers are able to make recommendations on care options that are suited to their needs and budget. Having someone on the inside of elder care shift through the options saves families an incredible amount of time and confusion. This reduces the need for multiple relocations which can be disorienting and expensive. Having a professional you can call for answers is an incredible asset to families sifting through Medicare, long-term care insurance, and changing health needs. Whether it is about driving or a diagnosis of dementia, Care Managers guide families through difficult decisions and equip them to make informed and intelligent decisions that are right for their loved one. 

Proactive Engagement in a Reactive Healthcare System 

Something that most eldercare and healthcare services share in common is a reactionary task-based model of care. A wheelchair is needed so someone arranges for it. A new symptom arises and a new medication is prescribed. This “address-it-as-it-comes” approach to aging keeps family and professionals focused on the now, but leaves little room for the big picture of longevity. As a result we are missing a larger dialogue full of the difficult and important topics about what it means for each individual to age well. By contrast, Care Managers use a holistic approach to develop a plan of care for the present while taking a proactive role in the future. Their attention is enriched by their experience and education which allows them to make minor changes before they become larger problems down the road. Families are able to rely on the recommendations from a professional which reduces the weight of responsibility resting on them.  

The Connectedness of Our Needs

When we think about our own web of needs, we tend to address them as separate categories. There is a box for social needs, a box for healthcare needs, financial needs, legal needs, emotional needs, mental needs, housing needs, nutritional needs, etc. It can be easy for the world of healthcare to take a clinical look at the physical needs of aging adults while forgetting the other categories and their influences on our quality of life and well-being. Geriatric Care Managers understand that our needs are intimately connected. Our finances affect our choices and independence, our connection to family and friends affects our mental health, our relationship to our doctors affects our access to care, our emotional well-being affects our physical well-being. As advocates, Care Managers are able to enter the narrowly focused world of healthcare while maintaining the holistic picture of care. By bringing together all the needs and desires that make up a person’s life they are able to help each individual age well and flourish.

If your family or loved one is coordinating the care of a loved one and is facing the increased noise and complexity of care, simplify! Give us a call to today. Many families start with a one-hour consultation with a Geriatric Care Manager to lay out their situation and gather concrete recommendations. 800.628.7649. We know you do your homework. Check us out online at www.SoundOptions.com .    

 

    

 

 

Published on April 30, 2014.