As we get older, things slow down, both in our lives and in our physical activity. It is easy to settle into a lifestyle of routine and consistent activities, without any major changes. You may go play golf on Fridays, or go to the grocery store on Wednesdays, or any number of activities and errands that make up your life. As our health requires more active and pro-active awareness to maintain, it is easy to slip into the comfort of routine sometimes missing the subtle signs of change. There are often events that can happen that drastically change an elder person’s way of life, or ability to manage their rising health care concerns.
As Geriatric Care Managers, many of our clients contacted us during or after a major life event, such as a fall or a health crisis. In the heat of the moment, the elder themselves or their children or spouse will contact us or another Geriatric Care Manager in order to help them through the often complicated healthcare process and advocate for themselves or their elder parent or spouse. But Geriatric Care Managers are not only available for crisis moments or situations where a high level of supervision and patient advocacy is required. Indeed, one of the great benefits of hiring a Geriatric Care Manager is the wide variety of different tools and useful information that can be provided for each particular case.
When we take on a new client, we complete an on-boarding assessment, an extremely thorough analysis of our clients entire health history and life history. This goes beyond just a simple list of medications (which we do provide), and goes into detail on each client’s mental status, emotional status, quality of life, satisfaction for their living arrangements, and their own needs and desires for their own lives. For example, some of our patients are in perfectly fine physical condition, walking every day and fully able to take care of themselves, but have a slight memory impairment. With the importance of their medication, and especially the importance of taking it at the same time each and every day, a home health aid or a family member would be tasked with assisting them with staying on schedule. This is a great example of how a Geriatric Care Manager helps their clients. Whereas a doctor may say that an elder who has trouble remembering medication needs to be in assisted living, a Geriatric Care Manager instead looks at the entire situation, and determines the best options for a healthy, fulfilling life for their client.
Although many of our clients contact us during or after a crisis, in a moment of heightened need, we often recommend they consult with us as early as they can. Perhaps the greatest benefit to having a Geriatric Care Manager is the forethought and pre-planning they provide, preventing future health problems and ensuring a long, healthy elderhood. Small changes, such as recommending that a handrail be installed on a front step to prevent a future fall (even though the client does not have balance issues), can have a DRASTIC impact on long-term health and happiness. Geriatric Care Managers are strong advocates for their clients and their clients’ families, and can help ensure a great elderhood and a low-stress transition into later life.