As I have progressed in my journey as an elder law attorney, one of the
resources I have been most excited to discover are the geriatric care
managers. Geriatric care managers specialize in guiding families through
the medical and long term care maze. With backgrounds in social work,
gerontology and/or health care, they understand both the system and the
lingo. They can step in and create order out of what can feel like chaos
for patients or their families trying to decipher a medical diagnosis,
choose an assisted living community or just put together the best plan
of action going forward. They can also be instrumental in monitoring the
plan and determining when the plan needs to be tweaked or when a new plan
needs to be considered.
When a potential client comes into my office, one of the first questions
I now find myself asking them is whether they are working with a geriatric
care manager. I ask because it is more difficult to help them put a legal
plan in place for themselves or their loved one if we are not sure what
level of care we are talking about planning for and how long it will be
before that potential level of care changes.
For the patients and families that use their services, I have found the
geriatric care managers to be an invaluable partner in care. They can
be especially helpful as the eyes and ears for concerned family members
who live in a different town than Mom or Dad. It is important however
to make sure that the geriatric care manager is certified. One way to
find a certified geriatric care manager is to check the website of the
National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (www.caremanager.org).