When 83-year old Myra had a stroke, she was hospitalized for several days and then discharged to a rehab facility. Myra had heart disease and diabetes, which complicated her recovery. Her three daughters scrambled to figure out the next steps since their mother would need a lot of help when it was time to go home. But they weren’t sure what level of care she needed or if she would accept help, which home care companies were reputable, and what the options were if she really couldn’t manage to live alone.
They even argued about whether they should start investigating nursing homes, and that opened another can of worms. Their mother had modest assets, and Medicare didn’t cover long-term care. How did the whole Medicaid process work? They had no experience with the eldercare system or state and federal entitlement programs. It all seemed so confusing and overwhelming.
You may have been in a similar position if you’re a caregiver for an aging loved one. Even if your loved one is not in the middle of a health crisis, there are usually important decisions that have to be made at some point about medical treatment, housing options, finances, and legal issues. If it’s the first time that you or your family members have been in a caregiving role, you may not be aware of the resources available, or know what questions to ask.
Fortunately, a geriatric care manager can provide guidance, support, and practical recommendations to help families and their aging parents or grandparents navigate the challenges that come with aging. A care manager will do a complete assessment of the senior’s physical, medical and mental health status, functioning, safety needs, social circumstances, and environment. Then they will develop a care plan that addresses the senior’s needs.
In Myra’s case, a social worker at the rehab facility recommended that her daughters contact me (a geriatric / aging life care manager in Rochester, NY) for a consultation. And as it happened, Myra was agreeable to having help at home after her discharge from rehab. I located a reputable home health care agency to assist her with meals, bathing, laundry, shopping, and housekeeping. Her care plan also included simple home modifications, such as the installation of grab bars, to make her environment safer. Once Myra’s services were in place, I monitored her care on an ongoing basis and kept her daughters informed about how things were going. I also referred the family to an elder law attorney, so they could get their questions answered about long-term care and advance planning.
Besides addressing immediate needs, a care manager helps families prepare for the future. Aging in America isn’t always easy, but a care manager by your side makes the journey smoother and can relieve the stress that caregivers so often feel.
If you need help in the Rochester, New York, area, please reach out to us at 585-787-0009 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If your aging parent is outside of our area, you can still contact us for a referral to a geriatric care manager in other locations.