A geriatric care manager is professionally trained to provide help to families who are caring for an older loved one. Geriatric care managers (GCM’s) act as counselors and guides. They help families and caregivers navigate the complicated journey of senior care. Geriatric care managers can be social workers, nurses, gerontologists, or other senior care-focused professionals. They are educated and certified to handle senior care management.
It can be difficult to see your parent or older loved one lose their independence and spark. A new diagnosis, a change in condition, or an increase in falls are all indicators that adjustments and accommodations need to be introduced to keep your loved one safe. Working with a geriatric care manager can help alleviate some of the confusing and challenging aspects of senior care.
- What Does a Geriatric Care Manager Do?
- When To Hire a Geriatric Care Manager
- What To Look for When Choosing a Geriatric Care Manager
Read on below to learn more about what kind of services geriatric care managers offer and how they can assist your family.
What Does a Geriatric Care Manager Do?
The main goal of a geriatric manager is to make their clients’ lives easier. They do this by fulfilling various tasks, from coordinating care services to providing counseling and emotional support. Some of their responsibilities can include the following:
Coordinate medical services.
Coordinating appointments, arranging transportation, and evaluating living arrangements. Care managers can handle the logistics of daily caregiving for a senior.
Making a care plan.
Geriatric care managers conduct an assessment that identifies the specific health, emotional, and wellness needs of the care recipient. Care managers can craft care plans customized to address your loved one’s needs.
Provide emotional support.
Caring for an elderly loved one can be overwhelming for caregivers and families. Care managers can also provide emotional support to help resolve family issues, provide or recommend counseling, and make referrals to appropriate organizations.
Helping with social services.
They can help identify programs that can be beneficial for your loved one. They can also refer your family to legal or medical professionals, if necessary.
Qualifications of a Geriatric Care Manager
Geriatric care managers need at least an associate’s degree, supervised care management experience, and some experience working with clients directly. Most geriatric care professionals have a degree in social work, nursing, health management, or public health administration.
Certification for Geriatric Care Managers
Certification is not required but can help GCM’s qualify for high-paying positions. You can obtain certification from the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC) located in New Jersey and the National Academy of Certified Case Managers (NACCM) located in Tucson. These two organizations require exams, specialized degrees, and experience working directly with clients.
Another option is the International Commission on Health Care Certification (ICHCC) which is the oldest and largest certification agency in the US and Canada. ICHCC offers several certifications for those working with older adults.
Geriatric Care Managers Professional Organizations
Several organizations exist to support care management professionals with continuing education, peer support, and client referrals.
- The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping care managers advance in their careers.
- Aging Life Care Association (ALCA) offers events, education, regional chapters, and a national database to support care manager members.
When To Hire a Geriatric Care Manager
If supporting a loved one becomes overwhelming, or you are unsure of which direction to turn, it may be time to seek out a care manager. Some of the situations that signal it is time to hire a geriatric care manager include:
- You don’t live close by and need help managing your elderly loved one’s care.
- Your loved one has behavioral issues, aggression, or dementia.
- You have challenges with the assisted living or senior care community of your loved one.
- If you find it difficult to communicate with your older loved one.
- Your family caregiver needs some respite or support.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Geriatric Care Manager?
With a plethora of specialized skills, care management services do not come cheap. Geriatric care managers charge $300 – $800 for an initial assessment. Hourly rates range from $100 – $200. The hourly and ongoing rate will depend on the state you live in, availability, and the involvement of the care manager.
Is Geriatric Care Management Tax Deductible?
Some senior care services can be tax-deductible. Geriatric care management isn’t specifically identified as a tax deduction, but it seems to fall under the category of personal care services. You can find more information about healthcare costs you can deduct in IRS Publication 502. We recommend talking with a CPA or other tax professional about your specific tax situation.
Does Medicare Cover Geriatric Care Management?
Medicare doesn’t cover the services of geriatric care managers. However, some employee assistance programs may cover private care management. Ask your employer if there are programs available to you. Long-term care insurance might also cover some but not all of the costs of a GCM.
What To Look for When Choosing a Geriatric Care Manager
Knowing what qualities to look for will make hiring a geriatric care manager easier. Below are some of the things you should include in your list of questions during the initial interview process:
Always ask for credentials and ask about their experience working with older adults. An ideal geriatric care manager should have an advanced degree, experience working with clients directly, and professional certifications.
Are they available 24/7? What about weekends or after hours? Will there be support staff that can address your concerns if they are not available? What does their coverage look like in the event of an urgent situation or vacation?
It is important to have a good rapport with your geriatric care manager. They will be spending a lot of time in your home getting to know your loved one and your family. It’s important to hire someone that you feel comfortable and confident with.
Quality of work
You can check the quality of work by asking for references. Ask if they have professional as well as previous client references. Lastly, while online reviews must be taken with a grain of salt, search for their name online to see if there is any concerning feedback.
Geriatric Care Manager Interview Questions
When you are ready to hire a geriatric care manager, prepare a list of questions to ask. Include these questions in your interview:
- How long have you been working as a geriatric care manager?
- What are your certifications and qualifications?
- Are you available 24/7?
- What are the areas you specialize in?
- What are your goals as a geriatric care manager?
- What are some of the challenges in your work? And how do you handle them?
- Do you have references?
- If referring caregivers is a part of their practice, ask about how they find caregivers, what they look for in a caregiver, and what is the process for coverage if a caregiver is out sick or on vacation.
How Do I Find a Geriatric Care Manager Near Me?
If you are looking for a geriatric care manager near you, a quick online search can easily give you results. Consider a resource like Eldercare Locator to search for caregivers or care managers in your state. Your local Area Agency on Aging and physician may also recommend care managers.
Caring for your elderly loved one doesn’t have to be a stressful time, but it can be overwhelming without professional guidance. Senior care and senior planning are more manageable with a geriatric care manager to take on some of the responsibilities for you. With professional guidance, you can have peace of mind knowing that your loved one’s needs are being addressed by a senior care expert.
Geriatric Care Manager Frequently Asked Questions
Geriatric care managers are trained to provide a wide range of senior care services. They specialize in the planning and managing aspects of senior care. They can create care plans, coordinate and supervise medical services and caregivers, make living arrangements, counsel the family, and more.
Most employers require a bachelor’s degree but it is preferred to have a master’s degree in gerontology or other care management fields. Experience in social work or public health administration is also often necessary. Certification is not required but can help you advance in your business.
Geriatric care managers offer a more holistic approach to their clients. They are skilled in overseeing the whole picture, from personal care to medical care. A case manager, also called a nurse case manager, is employed by institutions like hospitals or insurance companies. They focus on the medical care aspect of their older patients.
Initial consultations typically cost anywhere from $300 – $800. Succeeding hourly rates after hiring are $100 – $200, depending on elements like the scope of work and the state you live in.
Amie Clark, BSW
Aging Advocate and Senior Care Expert
Amie has worked with older adults and their families for the past twenty-plus years of her career. Her senior care knowledge is based on her experience as a social worker, family caregiver, and senior care consultant. Learn more about Amie here.