Navigating the complexities of the health care system is no easy feat. Countless options exist, but with all of the available services, fine print and legal jargon, how is anyone supposed to feel comfortable making an informed decision that will affect the rest of their (or their loved one’s) life? If this situation sounds familiar to you, it’s time to consider hiring a Geriatric Care Manager (GCM).
A GCM is a professional adviser whose education and work experience has trained them to provide services to and manage/coordinate care for older adults, their families. They advocate for the health and well-being of those they serve, assessing living arrangements, insurance plans and medical needs and recommending solutions to make their daily lives easier. GCMs act as connectors to valuable resources and health care providers, as well as help people understand difficult topics and help them make informed decisions. With a geriatric care manager, an older person and their caregiver/loved ones can rest easy knowing that a medical expert who understands the health care system and available resources is looking out for their overall health and ensuring that they receive the best care possible now and into the future.
Geriatric care managers provide a range of services, starting with assessing one’s living situation to make sure it is a safe and healthy environment and, if necessary, discuss alternative solutions that will help older adults age in the right place. They also make home visits, evaluate in-home care needs, coordinate medical services, make referrals, create care plans and continuously monitor the physical and mental health of those they serve and make recommendations based on people’s changing needs.
From creating short- and long-term health care plans, making referrals, managing medications and monitoring medical bills and checking for errors to finding ways to save money on health care costs and helping people understand the range of services that are available to them, GCMs have a wealth of knowledge about the aging process and can help older adults and their caregivers feel comfortable making the right decisions about their health care needs.
GCMs play a vital role in helping people age with dignity. Their job is to act as a professional health care manager, providing expertise to help older adults live their best lives and take advantage of all of the services that are available to them, from meal delivery and transportation services and any barriers that are negatively impacting them and preventing them from experiencing a high quality of life. While some older adults need little to no assistance with activities of daily living, others may need more help. GCMs meet people where they are in the aging journey and connect older adults to the necessary resources to make sure their needs are met without taking away their independence.
GCMs bridge the gap between patients and their health care providers. They are experts at breaking down difficult information and presenting it in terms that people can understand. They also are strong advocates for older adults, ensuring that they understand and explore all of their medical treatment options. GCMs can attend medical appointments, coordinate care between medical and insurance providers, explain insurance benefits and get the answers to any questions older adults or their loved ones have about their medical care.
GCMs can assess one’s living arrangements and make recommendations to best help older adults age in the right place. If an older adult wants to age in place, the geriatric care manager will offer suggestions for modifications to make the home as safe and easy to navigate as possible. For those considering a move to an alternative living facility, such as an Upside home, 55+ community or assisted living or skilled care facility, a geriatric care manager is responsible for connecting older adults to the resources they need and helping them make the best decision for their overall health and well-being.
Managing one’s health not only involves a deep dive into the present, but also a strong focus on the future. Setting older adults up for success is just the beginning for geriatric care managers. A huge part of their job is monitoring those they serve, paying close attention to any mental or physical changes in behavior or habits. Their goal is to anticipate and plan for future needs — minimizing the severity of any issues that may arise or need to make sudden, reactive decisions.
GCMs connect with older adults daily and constantly monitor their mental and physical health, ensuring that they are taking advantage of all of the necessary and available resources to help them live their best lives. This, in turn, provides peace of mind for older adults and their loved ones, as they can feel confident knowing that they are connected to a medical expert who can help them navigate the complexities of healthcare management. Are you or a loved one struggling to address some of the hardest and most important medical and financial decisions one can make? At Upside, your Upside Manager provides many of the same services as a geriatric care manager, as well as offers assistance in many other ways to supply you with all of the tools you need to successfully navigate the aging journey.
People’s environments and what they have on their plate directly correlates to how they age. By streamlining an older adults life and removing some of the clutter, they are able to stay safer and healthier longer.