Lisa Conway, One Senior Place – Special to FLORIDA TODAY
Q: Can you tell me what a care manager is and how to know if you need one?
A: Care managers (Certified Aging Life Care Professionals) serve as advocates for families caring for older relatives.
That is a very broad directive, so not surprisingly, care managers serve their clients in a myriad of ways.
Most care managers by trade are nurses, social workers or health and human services professionals with a specialized focus related to aging.
They are the eyes and ears for family members and they are available 24/7.
What they do:
- Help seniors safely maintain their maximum level of independence.
- Protect the rights of seniors and ensure their wishes and decisions are followed.
- Educate clients to better understand their medical issues and care options.
- Ensure all parties have the information needed to make informed decisions on complex issues.
Care managers have extensive knowledge about the costs, quality and availability of resources. They can assist with navigating the rules and regulations surrounding benefits, hospitals, rehab centers and assisted living facilities.
When to call them in:
- If the senior has multiple medical or psychological issues.
- If the senior is unable to live alone safely in their environment.
- If the senior is confused about their financial and/or legal situation.
- If the senior has limited or no family support.
Care managers also can help families who may be confused or overwhelmed with a recent diagnosis for a loved one or about care options or solutions.
Maybe a crisis arises where providers instantly need medical history, insurance and advance directives for the senior client.
Perhaps the family needs direction about additional resources. Certified care managers do all that — and more.
Care managers can be especially beneficial to families who are already stretched to their limits, or who live far from the senior in their life.
They can be an important “bridge” between the client, family and multiple care providers.
Benefits of care management:
- Personalized and compassionate attention to wants and needs.
- Availability to clients and families at all times.
- Cost containment; no duplication of services or inappropriate placement.
- Intervention of medical issues before hospitalization is required.
- Ensuring important information flows to all relevant parties.
Lastly, certified care managers adhere to a very strict code of ethics.
Their professional guidance often brings the assurance families crave: knowledge that the senior they love is able to maintain their independence in the most appropriate setting, for as long as they possibly can.
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One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and a provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. To submit a question, send an email to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at OneSeniorPlace.com.
Lisa Conway is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services in Viera.