How Can A Care Manager Help?

People sometimes ask me, “Could you just come over and help us make a plan for our future?” I love to hear this, because it means that they are thinking ahead about challenges and transitions that may come up as they age. When I worked as a Medical Social Worker in a hospital, I often saw elderly patients admitted because they didn’t have the support they needed at home. To add to their crisis, they also had no plan in place when they were sent home from the hospital. A Care Manager can help prevent these scenarios.

Most Care Managers have a background in Social Work or Nursing with experience working with senior citizens in a healthcare or other community setting. A Care Manager will have an initial meeting with a client and their family at home to help them think about what they would like their life to look like as they age. They may talk about their hopes and worries and their family may share their concerns as well.  This allows for solutions to be in place before a need even arises.

Most often I hear this comment “We have enough money now, but what if we live so long that we run out? How will we pay for care?” A Care Manager can explain Medicare and Mainecare coverage, the process of applying, and financial qualifications. A surprising number of people have not completed an Advance Directive for healthcare. Often they haven’t done so because they are understandably afraid to complete an important document without guidance from a professional. Sometimes situations are unique or complicated and other experts need to be involved. A referral or contact info is often given for a service such as an Elder Law Attorney, Visiting Nurse Service, Lifeline, help with showering, meal delivery or even a dog walker. Another familiar comment I hear is, “My mom (or dad) just doesn’t seem like herself, she isn’t motivated and she is forgetting appointments.” In this case a Care Manager might suggest a Geriatric Evaluation.

Older people often live alone with in home support, and their children may live out of state. A Care Manager can be depended on to manage their day to day care and keep their children updated about changes. If a client decides they no longer can manage to live at home alone, a Care Manager is very familiar with area Assisted Living and Nursing Care settings. They can explain what each one offers, pricing, and help them decide which would be right for them. If a loved one has memory loss, families are often under a lot of stress. A Care Manager can be a great supportive resource and connect them with support group and community aid. If any of these issues sound at all familiar a Care Manager can help.

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