These are fair questions I hear often. Once I take the time to explain the answers, the predictable response is, “I wish I would have known about you when I was dealing with my family member.”
Because this vital family-focused service for is still widely unknown, most families facing the difficult decisions around caring for an aging loved-one don’t know how to navigate the maze and where to turn for help. Much like you would seek the help of a CPA to handle complex tax issues, Certified Care Managers (CMC) are experts in their field and act as a guide through the web of long-term care services and providers. We act as an advocate for the care recipient and the family caregivers.
The use of a professional guide in the care of an aging loved one is a valuable investment. The Care Manager has been there many times. The family is experiencing this difficult situation usually for the first time and without the proper guidance, it can be an emotional and financial roller coaster.
The irony is that most families, given the opportunity to secure the services of a professional consultant, incorrectly believe they will save money by doing it themselves. In reality, utilizing the services of a Care Manager will likely result in a considerable amount of money and time. The financial cost is compounded by the emotional and physical toll that long-term planning and care can take on the family and friends acting as caregivers.
Here are some of the many ways a Certified Care Manager makes a difference:
Assess: We conduct a full assessment of the level and type of care needed and develop a comprehensive care plan. Next, we take steps to initiate the plan and keep it functioning while ensuring all care is received in a safe, cost-effective and disability friendly environment.
Facilitate: We facilitate a resolution to complex family issues or conflicts relating to long-term care and manage care for a loved one, especially for overwhelmed and out-of-town families.
Monitor: We conduct ongoing assessments to monitor and implement changes and oversee and direct care provided at home, in a nursing home or in assisted living, acting as a liaison between the family and facility staff.
Manage: We help with insurance and Medicaid qualification and can arrange for services of legal and financial advisors.
Coordinate: We schedule medical appointments, organize vital medical data and assist with the monitoring of medications.
Provide: We coordinate and/or provide transportation to medical appointments.
Guide: We provide information to assist families in positive, educated decision making.
Develop: In the case of an aging loved one who is not in an immediate crisis, we help families develop long-range plans so they’re not scrambling in an emergency.
Let’s look at Mary’s Story, a common scenario. Mary was taking care of her diabetic husband at home. His severe neuropathy made it difficult for him to walk and his diabetic retinopathy caused vision problems. Mary was having difficulty helping him out of bed, dressing him and helping him with everyday basic needs. She relied heavily on her son, who worked full-time, to help her manage her husband’s care.
In trying to lift her husband, Mary severely injured her back and was bedridden. Her son now had two parents to care for. On the advice of the same friend, he reached out to me for help managing their care.
I visited the family in their home to conduct a thorough assessment. I arranged for the family physician to order Medicare home health during Mary’s recovery. I also worked to find a home caregiver who was willing to live in the home for a period of time. I made sure the new caregiver was reliable, honest and that employment taxes were handled properly
I also called a meeting with Mary’s family, reviewed the situation and explained their roles in the caregiving process. I worked hand-in-hand with the home health company to obtain equipment – often covered by Medicare. I suggested using a Geriatric Care Physician to help Mary in the care of her husband. The Geriatrician spent a great deal of time explaining the proper treatment and care of diabetes. He rearranges medications and puts Mary’s husband on a new insulin regimen to better control his blood sugar. He starts a strict diet and insists on weight loss and exercise.
Finally, I worked closely with an Elder Law Attorney and a Certified Financial Planner. The attorney prepared documents for the family including Powers of Attorney, a Living Will and gave advice on preserving the family’s remaining assets. The financial planner recommended a mortgage specialist to help tap into unused assets in their home’s equity. In addition, an income vehicle is put into place to convert assets into income to provide for the family long-term.
With the help of the Certified Care Manager, Mary’s life and future have been significantly improved. Her husband as well, if he adheres to the plan we implemented together, may end up having a better quality of life for his remaining years.
Services from professional Care Managers should be something every family considers taking advantage of, but in reality, very few families know of us. Care Managers go a long way towards helping the family find better and more efficient ways of providing care for an elder loved one.
Call me today at 404.786.7789 for a free phone consultation or visit my website, seniorresourceconsulting.com, for more information.
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- Certified Care Manager: Why Every Family Needs One - April 23, 2020