Geriatric Care Manager

Also known as: Aging Life Care Professional, Aging Life Care Manager

Last Updated: January 2, 2022

Written by the Open Caregiving Team. Editorial review by Joyce O. Murphy RN, MSN.

What is a geriatric care manager?

Geriatric care managers are specialists in helping families manage their aging loved one’s care needs. This is a long-term relationship, providing you with support and information when making important decisions.

A geriatric care manager is often a nurse or social worker who is licensed and has special training and experience caring for older people.

What does a geriatric care manager do?

The geriatric care manager role is quite broad. This is beneficial as it means that the professional you choose can tailor their work to meet your family’s needs.

What is the role of a geriatric care manager and how do they help?

The role of the geriatric care manager is intended to:

Advocate for your loved one and you by:

  • Learning about your preferences and helping to assure those are met.
  • Seeking out information about services and resources, saving you valuable time and energy. Examples are:
    • Home care agencies in your loved one’s area.
    • Respite care settings and costs.
    • Adult day care centers or groups and if there are waiting lists.
  • Either helping you to communicate with your loved one’s healthcare providers and caregivers, or doing so on your behalf. Examples are:
    • How to talk with your parent’s doctor about recent memory concerns you’ve noticed.
    • Meeting with the hospice nurse to discuss care options besides those provided at home.

Visit your family member’s home to:

  • Assess home safety and suggest helpful adjustments or renovations.
  • Help you decide if added services will help your family member to stay at home as long as possible. Examples may include:
    • The possibility of enrolling in Meals on Wheels.
    • Home care for your loved one’s non-medical care such as bathing assistance and light housework.

Act as a sounding board for you:

  • Whether you have ideas to talk about or you need to vent about a service or situation, you will be heard.
  • The geriatric care manager is experienced with many situations. They can offer insights to help you through challenges you’ll face.
    • These may be emotional ones.
    • They can help with family disagreements, including meeting with you and your relatives all together.

Assess other living situations for your loved one. Examples include:

  • Health and safety concerns mean that your parents may need care in an assisted living or long-term care facility.
  • Or, round-the-clock care at home for the same situation.

Provide crisis or emergency intervention:

  • This is helpful for families living at a distance or who are very busy with their own families and work.
  • The geriatric care manager determines the level of intervention needed. They then assure the crisis is tended to, such as:
    • Calling EMS if your loved one has fallen and is injured.
    • Alerting local law enforcement if your family member has wandered away from home.

Whether you live nearby or far away, you can rely on a care manager to help with decisions and make informed choices for your family member.

Why hire a geriatric care manager?

As you can see, there is a lot a geriatric care manager can do for your family. Other reasons to hire one are:

  • Your family is scattered far and wide. You need someone local to help with your loved one’s care needs.
  • No one ever agrees on anything. Having a care manager who objectively presents information can help to decrease tensions.
  • They save you time and energy. The cost may be worth it because:
    • You can devote more of yourself to your children’s needs.
    • It’s easier to focus on your job.
    • Their work relieves some stress that was building within your nuclear family.
  • They’ll give you better information and service options than you may find on your own since this is their area of expertise.

How much does a geriatric care manager cost?

Geriatric care manager costs vary from more rural areas to those that are urban. An initial assessment varies between a few hundred to several hundred dollars. Beyond that, expect to pay:

  • $75 to $200 per hour for services.
  • Fees for long-distance calls, travel time, and mileage.

It is vital for you to have a written service agreement that includes:

  • The services that will be provided with the specific fee.
  • Hourly fees for services beyond the initial assessment.
  • Extra fees such as travel time, mileage, and others.

Do public or private insurances pay for geriatric care manager services?

Most insurance companies do not pay for a geriatric care manager.

  • They are paid for by the family, using their loved one’s or their own money.
  • If your family member has long-term care insurance, it may cover some costs. Be sure to check with the insurance carrier.
  • Some employee assistance programs are paying a portion of these fees. Please check with your employer to learn if this is an option for you.

Do geriatric care managers need a certification?

Geriatric care managers do not currently require licensing by states. Nurses and social workers who are privately providing this service usually keep their professional licenses.

Checking references and credentials helps to assure that your family will receive the quality care it deserves.

  • Ask to see a copy of the care manager’s professional license.
  • Request at least three recent references.
    • If you are not able to reach all of them, ask for more.
    • It’s okay to do so. A person who provides quality care services will fulfill your request.

How do I find a geriatric care manager?

You can call the Eldercare Locator number (1-800-677-1116) or inquire at your local Area Agency on Aging.

What is the difference between a case manager and a care manager?

It’s important to note that these roles have evolved over time. In some settings, you will find overlap. When you are unsure, get clarification from either about their role in relation to your family member.

A case manager or coordinator is generally focused on the medical aspects of a person’s care.

They are there to assure that:

  • The medical/surgical plan of care is in place and outcomes are being met.
  • That all required services are being used for a person’s health.
  • In the case of hospitalization, your loved one is ready for discharge.
  • They make sure:
    • Appointments are scheduled.
    • Prescriptions are sent to the pharmacy.
    • Transportation is arranged if your family member is being transferred to another facility.

The care manager focuses on a patient’s and family’s wishes for a person’s care. The care manager:

  • Assures that your loved one’s wishes are put in place.
  • Along with scheduling appointments and transportation, if desired, they will:
    • Plan for care in the home.
      • They’ll help you with recruiting and evaluating caregiver performance.
      • Based on their assessment will assure other services are in place, such as outdoor safety home care in the winter.
    • Visit your loved one at home or in a facility to assure care is well managed.
    • Assure that the care needs you agree on together are in place and regularly monitored.

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