May is National Geriatric Care Manager Month. If you are a long distance care provider, hiring a geriatric care manager is a great support system. Before your next visit to your long distance family member, call a geriatric care manager in their area.
Make an appointment to go to their office and meet with them. Most GCM’s will see you to discuss their services at no charge. You can shop around and interview a few if you wish. Geriatric care managers can be located on the GCM web site . Use your long distance family’s parent’s zip code.
It’s a preventative and prudent idea to have a geriatric care manager in the town where your older relative resides. If there is a crisis, it is cheaper to have them solve it. In an urgent situation, they can go to the hospital or emergency room. This is more sane and cost effective than you getting on last minute, expensive flights. You can still go but they can immediately be there to deal with the crisis. They are good insurance.
Before any crisis, you can have the GCM do an initial assessment and visit your older relative periodically (once a month, once every two months). This is preventative. That way they are there for you when you need them and have all the information to solve the problem. Think of them the way you do one of those blow-up beds. You can pump them up when you need them in a crisis—perhaps avoid that crisis, and you yourself can sleep more soundly and with more peace of mind in your own bed. Some of the things a geriatric care manager can do for you are:
1.Save you money by helping keep your parent out of the hospital and you off emergency long distance flights.
2.Facilitate a family meeting of needs, resources, and division of labor among friends family
3. Recommend ways to proactively prepare and plan for a parent’s possible health care crisis.
4.Work on family cooperation to formulate realistic parent-care plan.
5.Assess strengths and weaknesses of all of the potential caregivers
6. Help adult siblings resolve conflicts about care decisions.
7.Help adult siblings act together in the best interest of the parent
8.Decrease the tension between hometown and long distance siblings
9. Help the long-distance care provider deal with guilt and frustration that may result from their inability to provide more of the day-to-day care.
10.Locate aging resources (both no -cost trough the older Americans Act) in your aging parents area quickly and without you having to do it