Geriatric care managers: who are they and how can they help?

Geriatric care managers can relieve a lot of stress for you and your family.

A part of the Engaging Aging Parents series

It's only natural that as we age, our health concerns increase. If you eat well and exercise regularly, long-term care concerns may never arise. However, for many Americans, aging eventually results in a decline in physical capabilities and mental acuity. If this is the case with your parents or other family members, it's wise to address this together and plan accordingly. This way, you can honor their wishes and help them maintain independence as much as possible.

What do geriatric care managers do?

Geriatric care managers specialize in helping elderly clients and their families navigate the various home-based and residential care options available to them. Keep in mind that this can be a very emotionally difficult task, especially when you, your siblings or other close family members have significant time demands or live far away.

If you're trying to determine which housing and health care options are appropriate for your parents' needs, and understand the resources available for mental and chronic health and disability care, a geriatric care manager can help to reduce a lot of stress. They will work with you to explore options that depend on your aging parents' current health and health outlook. Such options range from concierge services to part-time or full-time in-home health care for those who want to remain at home. For those seeking other options, continuing care retirement communities provide another option.

This type of care manager can also help you and your family understand the upfront costs, monthly fees and the role of health insurance as you make these choices. Above all, geriatric care managers aim to optimize quality of life for aging individuals. Their goal is to make sure clients maintain as much independence as they can while still feeling safe and cared for.

What are their qualifications or certifications?

Qualified geriatric care managers need to obtain and maintain different licenses, based on their specialties and their state's law. Common specialties include nursing, gerontology and psychology. Specific associations and organizations require all members to have at least one of four approved care management certifications.

A certified geriatric care manager has attained a number of credentials, including formal higher education, supervised work experience and professional certification. A geriatric care manager may also become a licensed social worker or a certified registered nurse.

How can I find a good fit for my family?

If you're looking to hire a geriatric care manager for a family member, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind when reviewing candidates for the role. Your SVB Private advisor can help you in your search to find the right person. Determine if they are licensed, review their credentials and degrees, and focus on applicable specialization areas. Try to get a better understanding of their professional affiliations and how long they've worked in care management. Inquire about the specific services they provide, including at-home services, their fees and whether they're available for emergencies. Request references and make sure that whoever you choose as a geriatric care manager is someone that you, your aging parent and your family are all comfortable with. Lastly, discuss the manner and frequency of communication expected with you and your parents.

So, what do geriatric care managers do? They help you and your parents identify options and decide what's best for all parties involved, from both a needs and wants perspective. More importantly, they can handle most of this process for you, offering your family peace of mind.

For more information, visit our full Parents Series page here.

The views expressed in the article are those of the author and/or person interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the views of Silicon Valley Bank, a division of First-Citizens Bank and First Citizens BancShares, Inc. The materials on this website are for informational purposes only, are subject to change and do not take into account your particular investment objective, financial situation or need. Since each client’s situation is unique, you should consult your financial advisor and/or tax planning professional before acting on any information provided herein.