The term “Golden Years” was coined by an advertising agency in 1959 in an ad for a retirement community. The picture the words tried to paint was of retirement as a permanent, carefree holiday.
Yes, life for seniors can be peaceful, fulfilling, and joyful. It can also be complex, frustrating, and filled with challenges.
But there are experienced professionals called Care Managers who can simplify the aging process for seniors and their adult children and make life a little more “golden” for everyone involved.
Here are 7 roles Care Managers play that do just that.
How a Care Manager will Simplify Your Life
1. They Act as a Medical System Navigator
Healthcare systems, especially for seniors with multiple health problems, can be confusing and intimidating. Taking a multitude of medications as directed, following up with doctor appointments, treatments and therapy sessions, and monitoring the physical and cognitive changes that can come with aging is more than enough to deal with for most people.
Care Managers can step in and guide seniors and families through the healthcare system in the following ways:
- Help find doctors
- Confirm that transportation has been arranged to the doctor’s office or hospital
- Be present at the appointment to facilitate communications with health care professionals
- Explain physician instructions
- Answer questions
- Clarify medical jargon
- Help with medications and future treatments
- Work with the senior’s physician
- Help the family make difficult medical decisions
- Coordinate an array of home care services
2. Care Managers are Your Benefits Consultants
Benefits can be difficult to understand and manage for those unfamiliar with them, and many people are not even aware of the benefits to which they are entitled.
Care Managers are knowledgeable about government entitlement programs like Medicaid and Medicare, Veteran’s benefits, long-term care policies, and documents concerning advanced care planning and end-of-life care.
3. Care Managers are Expert Communicators
The Care Manager will provide an initial assessment to determine which services are needed. As the situation changes, this customized care plan will be updated to reflect any additional needs. In addition, they will provide information and suggestions concerning placement in long-term care communities when this becomes the best option for the senior and family.
Care Managers will listen closely and communicate clearly. Seniors and family members will be as informed and involved as they desire. The care manager can also help define roles and responsibilities for family members along the way.
4. They are a Resource Coordinator to Build the Right Team
The care manager can call upon a team of experts that include:
- Home health nurses
- Nutrition experts
- Home health aides
Access to these resources provide family caregivers and other adult children with more time to manage their own lives and health, and free them to reclaim and fully enjoy their relationship with an aging parent.
5. A Problem Solver on Your Side
If the senior is remaining in the home, or aging in place, the Care Manager can advise on how to make the home safer. Their experience is invaluable for family members who may not know what to look for and how to adapt the home to the senior’s needs.
Likewise, the Care Manager can coordinate transportation needs, grocery shopping tasks, personal hygiene requirements, and housekeeping services.
6. A Care Manager can Act as a Resolution Counselor
Aside from physical needs, the Care Manager can resolve conflicts as well. Family members may have differing opinions on what is best for their loved one, and disagreements can become highly charged. The Care Manager can fill the role of the expert who represents the best interests of the seniors involved.
In this role, seniors sometimes feel more comfortable sharing their concerns and wishes with a Care Manager rather than with the family.
7. A Solution Source for the Challenges of Aging
A Care Manager reduces the complexity and subsequent anxiety and stress that can come with the aging process. They perform functions to improve medical care, explain processes, secure resources, enhance relationships, and resolve conflicts.
Their focus is always on the needs and wishes of seniors and their families. Their goal is for the seniors to live as independently and fully as possible, whether in an independent or assisted living community or the family home.
Care Managers will become as involved as the senior and family members wish or can assist when called upon. Whatever their role, their goal is to make the senior years more golden.
Interested in learning more about how a customized senior care plan can improve your or your loved one’s health and wellness? Contact us to learn about our Care Management program, or to schedule an appointment.