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Navigating Assisted Living Facilities with a Geriatric Care Manager - Aging Wisely

elders in an assisted living facility activityWhen your elderly loved one needs help, you might start to consider what type of senior care assistance is best…home health care, community support services, assisted care facilities…it is a lot to navigate.  We speak to a lot of families who are considering options, or have decided it is time to consider an assisted living facility, but do not want to make the wrong decision.  Here are just a few of the many factors and questions that might play in to the decisions:

  • What level of care does the elder need?  How much home health care or assisted living support would be needed?  Which type of agency or assisted living facility could manage the care? 
  • What does all the terminology mean? What levels of care does the state offer and how are these providers regulated?
  • What are the costs involved in senior care?  What is included in various rates?  What insurance or benefits programs assist with costs, and how does my loved one become eligible?
  • Which senior care providers do a good job?  What is the history of the provider or facility?  What kind of care will they provide to my dear loved one?
  • What factors should we consider in the decision and how important are each of these: location, appearance/layout of apartments, activities, food, additional care levels/services available, etc.?

This is just a quick snapshot of the factors to consider in the assisted living decision, to say nothing of the very personal process involved and the challenges of making the transition.  If you are somewhere in this process, you might want to check out our Choosing a Senior Care Facility guide which lays out some important steps to take as you consider your options. 

This list of questions alone points to why having a professional geriatric care manager help with the process can be so valuable.  Here are some additional reasons why a geriatric care manager, specifically, should be first on your list of calls when your family is considering assisted living options:

  1. A geriatric care manager is an independent consultant hired by you, to help you.  Geriatric care management’s code of ethics outlines important guidelines such as the role of the care manager and business relationships.  Other professionals may be available to help, but may be paid by certain facilities (i.e. a referral fee, typically how “placement services” work) or may be associated with a particular program or unable to provide opinions on quality of care or other specific issues.  An Aging Wisely care manager, on the other hand, works for the client/family system directly in this role.
  2. A professional care manager is an expert in aging and the services to support families as they face aging issues.  This simplifies your life, by offering you one point person who can answer questions on a wide variety of issues and help you navigate all types of options.
  3. Care managers’ expertise and sensitivity uniquely qualify them to help your family with the many dynamics and emotions of the transition process.  We get letters all the time from family members saying the care manager turned what seemed like it was going to be a negative process in to a positive one in which the client was an active part of the process.
  4. A care manager’s role is to give you their opinion and input, so that you can make the decisions you feel are best for you.  A care manager won’t decide anything for you, but empower you to make a fully-informed decision.  So many times in eldercare, families are given a list of options which feels meaningless.  A care manager can tell you about quality of care at specific facilities, pros and cons of certain options and pitfalls to consider.  As you navigate options together, the care manager might point out things you hadn’t considered or help you “pull back the curtain” to see the factors that will impact the outcome of your decisions.

Most care managers offer flexible options for how you use their services.  You might start with a care consultation to gather some information ahead of time, or hire a care manager when a loved one is in the hospital and you need an assessment and advice on where to go next.  Other families will use the services of a geriatric care manager for everything from selecting an assisted living facility to monitoring care on a regular basis and serving as a local liaison. 

Want to talk to someone about how a geriatric care manager could help you in determining the best senior care options?  Want to get some information on assisted living facilities or other resources in Florida?  Call us at 727-447-5845.

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