As part of the normal aging process, many people need assistance with specific types of care. This might mean help with bathing, dressing, preparing meals and accessing transportation. It might also include finding medical services, social orientation and psychological support. A geriatric care manager or GCM is a human service professional who assists individual older adults in meeting their care needs.
Many older adults hire GCMs to do the following:
- Conduct care-planning assessments to identify problems, eligibility for assistance, and needs for services.
- Screen, arrange and monitor in-home help or other services.
- Provide crisis intervention.
- Act as a liaison to families at a distance.
- Assist with moving an older adult to or from a retirement complex, care home, or nursing home.
- Offer counseling and support.
- Provide advocacy within the medical and government systems.
The Aging Life Care Association (formerly the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers) is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to provide older adults and other consumers with professional support. Although people who market themselves as elder care providers need not be licensed, the ALCA requires the following qualifications from GCM members posted on its referral list:
- Education: BA, MA or PhD degree in a field related to care management, i.e., counseling, nursing, mental health, social work, psychology or gerontology.
- Elder care specialization: Primary engagement in the direct practice, administration or supervision of client-centered services to the elderly and their families.
- Formal training: Supervised experience in the field of care management.
Additionally, ALCA defines its members as aging life care managers/geriatric care managers if they hold one or more of the following certifications: a care manager certified, provided by National Academy of Certified Care Managers; a certified case manager, provided by the Commission for Case Manager Certification; a certified advanced social work case manager or certified social work case manager, provided by the National Association of Social Workers.
In striving to provide individual clients with quality care plans, all GCMs referred by NAPGCM must adhere to its standard rules of conduct:
- The older adult whose needs are being served will always be the primary client.
- Referrals made shall always reflect the primary client’s best interests.
- Fees-for-services provided must be confirmed in written form before care services start.
- GCMs listed on the NAPGCM referral list may not accept commissions or similar compensation from other service providers.
To find a qualified elder care provider in a location of your choosing visit the ALCA website at www.aginglifecare.org.