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If you’re like many children, your parents decided to up and retire in a more temperate climate.  So, they packed up and move to the sunny shores of Florida, Arizona, Nevada or any number of other states that lure retirees.  Or, maybe you moved away from home leaving your parents without family living near by.  If so, you probably worry how you will be able to help your parents in a financial or health care crisis.  As the population ages, there is solution growing in popularity, the Geriatric Care Manager.   

Here is an example of how a Geriatric Care Manager can help: 

A estate planning attorney becomes concerned about her client when she notices that her client is trying to disinherit certain family members, is mixing up bills and calls in a panic when her power is disconnected due to non payment.  The attorney consults with the elderly woman and realizes that the client has no source of health care advocacy and no local social support system.  Other red flags come up, as the attorney notices that medications are piled up and the client doesn’t seem to have an awareness of what she has taken and when her next doctor appointment is.  Her cognitive functioning seems to be impaired.  The attorney calls on a Geriatric Care Manager to assess the situation. 

The Geriatric Care Manager is an educated, trained professional who works with the client to solve complex social problems.  Sometimes, Geriatric Care Managers are nurses or social workers who are trained and experienced when it comes to senior populations, human development in later years and other health care and/or safety concerns that may arise as an elder ages.

The Las Vegas population, for example, includes a large number of senior and elderly residents who frequently do not have family members near by.  As seniors age and health care arrangements become necessary, family members in other parts of the country may become concerned about long distance care giving.  Attempting to navigate through the healthcare system and elder care resources is a daunting task when unfamiliar with the local services.  A Geriatric Care Manager is the neutral party that provides an objective view point as to the safety, health and emotional well being of an elderly person.  The Geriatric Care manager is embedded into the local community and has tremendous knowledge as to the services available in the area, and public benefits that elderly residents may or may not be qualified for.  The Geriatric Care Manager often acts as a surrogate family member and provides solutions, connections and communication to enhance the safety, wellbeing and emotional status of the elderly clients.  The Geriatric Care Manager provides family with information as to how their loved one is functioning and what services or needs should be implemented, and collaborates with them to find solutions.  The Geriatric Care Manager is held to the highest standards regarding ethics, confidentiality and professionalism.

If an elder has a complex problem regarding medical concerns, social support, mental health and/or safety in the home, or other residential setting, a Certified Care Manager can help.  Go to www.caremanager.org and locate a Geriatric Care Manager in your area for more information.

This post was contributed by Kelly Campbell-Kiser, a Certified Care Manager in Las Vegas, Nevada.  She can be reached at Alliance for Wellbeing; Mobile Case Management and Education 3315 E. Russell Rd. A-4 239 Las Vegas, NV 89120, (702) 898-0808.

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