Aging Along With a little Help from my Friends
I think about the great lyrics of certain songs and how they speak differently to people. The melodic second verse of The Beatles, “With a Little Help from My Friends” reminds me of the aging process:
What do I do when my love is away?
Does it worry you to be alone?
How do I feel by the end of the day?
Are you sad because you’re on your own?
NO, I get by with a little help from my friends
As they move through the aging process, many older adults find themselves alone due to the passing of a spouse, living far away from family, or limited mobility. This can lead to isolation, depression and decline in health. Geriatric Care Managers (GCM’s) can be a friend in the health care field. They will help you maintain independence and reach greater potential throughout the remainder of life.
Although there are many names used in the industry (GCM’s, case managers, aging life professionals, etc.), all of them should all be able to guide you to resources. Each geriatric care manager should have an extensive background in senior care with a complimentary education. These qualified professionals should be able to identify resources related to your specific needs as opposed to free agencies who offer limited senior housing options in return for community referral fees. GCM’s can offer services in safety assessments, senior care, dementia, hoarding, fraud prevention, family counseling, bill payments, etc...
When researching a geriatric care manager, please consider:
1. When do I need a geriatric care manager? GCM’s can help you plan for an immediate health issue, offer liaison assistance during doctor visits, complete safety assessments, screen and coordinate in-home assistance, or provide check in’s when needed. Look for a GCM whose specialty and services match your specific and anticipated needs.
2. Are there contracts? Many GCM’s sign agreements to perform services; however, it is uncommon for clients to be bound to a long-term contract.
3. How are GCM’s paid? Generally, they are paid privately; however, some long-term care insurance policies will pay for GCM services.
5. Can GCM’s act in a fiduciary or power of attorney role? Some GCM’s will do this service, but this arrangement should only be made in conjunction, and with the approval of, your attorney or financial advisor.
6. What if I don’t need anyone now? Many GCM’s perform in home assessments discuss your potential health care, safety, and mobility needs as well as how you can maintain independence in the best setting.
7. What are the prices? GCM fees differ based upon the types of services and the frequency of contact provided. All GCMs should have a list of their fees.
8. Should GCMs carry insurance or bonding? All GCMs should have proof of insurance that covers themselves and their specialty of work. Bonding is not necessary, but can be required based upon
9. Where can I find a GCM? The Aging Life Care Professional Association is the largest resource for geriatric care managers. Most members have advanced education and experience. There are many other qualified individuals too. No matter who you choose, you should trust them to be your advocate.
10. Where can I find more information about GCM’s?
You do not have to take the aging journey alone. Friends come from various places. Although it might feel like you “need anybody”. It doesn’t have to “be anybody”. Your friendly geriatric care manager will be there for you.