According to the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) adult children who are caring for an aging parent or relative spend an estimated 18 hours or more taking them to the doctor, grocery shopping, helping with financial issues and generally just being there for them. With approximately 67% of those who care for an elder also working full-time, it’s easy to see why the stress levels among family caregivers can be high.
One way to reduce that stress level is to hire a Geriatric Care Manager – a health and human services specialist who helps families who are caring for older relatives. Geriatric Care Managers are trained and experienced in any of a number of fields, including nursing, gerontology, social work or psychology. They are specialists in issues related to aging and elder care, and can provide guidance and resources for families caring for older adults and those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s or dementia.
Because they are experienced professionals, Geriatric Care Managers are able to more easily navigate through the healthcare and insurance challenges that crop up for elders, for example, unnecessary readmission following a hospital stay. One in five Medicare patients returns to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged.
Additionally, Care Managers can relieve adult children of many of the other challenges inherent in caring for an aging parent. “Families count on me to recommend the best solutions to their individual situation, and to help them implement the necessary resources,” says Geriatric Care Manager Jan Seamons of JMS Senior Care Management. “The adult son of one client said, ‘you’ve helped three families get through our ordeal – my family, my mom and our trustee. I don’t know how we would have done this without you.’”
Your parent may be more willing to listen to the care giver versus “the child.” The care giver can provide information about which assisted living or nursing home would be right for your parents. They also can help you work through family conflicts about the elder’s care, and can keep their cool when your dad gets cranky. And they are available 24/7.
You can find a care manager near you as well as other resources on the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) website.