Geriatric Care Management Can Deliver Quality Care

Geriatric Care Managers are trained professionals who help families plan and manage senior care services. At some point in your lifetime, either you or one of your family members or friends may need extra assistance from a trustworthy, knowledgeable person to help them with their health care needs and household management.

Geriatric Care Managers assist seniors through the sometimes rough waters of senior care and map out a plan for the later years in life. Geriatric Care Managers are certified individuals who meet with seniors and their families and assess and then advise as they determine the best path or care or treatments needed. They then organize your life, and bring family members together to form a unit and prepare a plan for the good and bad times to come. This is especially valuable when there are complicated care needs, memory loss or adult children do not live near their parents.

Aging is never easy and many people are not well versed in how to handle this new phase in life. What does Medicare cover? What about Medicaid if you run out of private funds to pay for senior care needs? What if you are diagnosed with memory loss or another age-related illness? Where do you receive the best care and how do you plan for end-of-life care?

A good Geriatric Care Manager can help navigate the way to aging gracefully and enjoying the later years in life which we all work so hard to be able to enjoy. I had the opportunity to work as an aspiring Care Manager with some of the best professionals in senior care as part of a Florida geriatric care management service. I was taken under the wing of a true compassionate real-life miracle worker. She showed me how to work with families and not judge or change what each person wants.

One of the main things I learned is that people have different ideas or what their lives should be and the best way to help them is to ensure they have the proper structures in place to live safely. Last year I was given my very first case with a lovely little woman who had just suffered the loss of her husband of 60 years when he passed away on New Year’s Eve. He had been her caregiver who she had relied on fully as her adult children were living more than one thousand miles away. Her husband’s death was devastating for her but she did not show it on the outside.

The first time I met her she was cheerful and a gracious hostess, offering me frozen chocolate from her freezer and offering me her best wine. It wasn’t until spending the next few weeks with her that I realized just how life-changing losing her husband was for her. While she lived in Florida, her daughter lived a few states north and hired our service to be her Care Manager to help her in this major life transition. Her daughter’s work and family responsibilities prevented her from being able to be present full time and this is another example of when a geriatric care manager can be a valuable service to smooth out transitions as we age and lessen further disruptions to our families.

My sweet little senior lady had secretly stopped showering, was barely eating, and would try to give away everything in her home. This was her way of coping with the loss of her husband. The daughter thought it would be best to move her up north to live with her. So my new task was to help sort out her personal belongings in a non-invasive way, help her pack, organize the travel arrangements for her move, organize medications, set-up insurance and…..facilitate the sale of her husband’s belongings (he was a painter, body builder, wrestler,salesman, and magician!). They had many interesting possessions. In helping with this project I learned all about their life together and had the opportunity to help a family in need. We moved her up north with her daughter after 1 month of working with her and she currently lives there safely with her family.

Geriatric Care Managers are one way to receive assistance from those who have vast experience in senior care and understand both the emotional and physical challenges of aging. They know what works, what doesn’t work, and which course is the best to take. In a way--- hey get you there faster. Senior care options include nursing homes (Medicare only pays for up to 100 days in a nursing home after a major medical event), senior home care and moving to an Assisted Living community. Geriatric Care Managers can assist with all aspects of senior care and also inform families about the financial requirements of each senior care option as well as connect you with the top medical providers in your area.

Guest Blogger: Caregiverlist Sherpa Lauren Tyner.  Caregiverlist’s Job Applicant service connects senior care companies with the highest quality professional caregivers, Certified Nursing Aides and Certified Home Health Aides using proprietary technology to deliver efficiencies to the recruitment and hiring process. Caregiverlist’s Sherpas guide senior care companies on the best way to use the interactive hiring tools.

Lauren Tyner is in the photo below next to the Caregiverlist office, just under the real bridge to nowhere with Caregiverlist Sherpas Patrick Welch and Samantha Franklin on each side of her.


Caregiver Sherpas - Happy Holidays from Caregiverlist


Happy Holidays from Caregiverlist's Caregiver Sherpas!  Stop by and visit us if you are ever in downtown Chicago - we are right on the Chicago river (or wave at us if you pass by in a tour boat - you'll see our banner on the window).

Caregiverlist pioneered proprietary technology for the senior care industry - created by senior care professionals - all of our Caregiver Sherpas have experience in the senior care industry and enjoy making senior care more efficient for senior care companies and senior caregivers.


Medicare Eligibility Age Removed from "Fiscal Cliff" Debate

Medicare health insurance is a national health insurance provided to seniors beginning at age 65.  Medicare pays for the basic health insurance needs of a senior and provides a sense of security as all seniors qualify for it (no rejections because of pre-existing conditions).  Seniors who have a very low income and nearly no assets can also transfer over to Medicaid, a program operated in conjunction with the federal and state governments.  Medicaid differs from Medicare in that it does pay for ongoing long-term care in a nursing home

Medicare was created when the life expectancy of an American was around age 72.  Today, a baby born in the U.S.A. can expect to live to be 100 years old.  The oldest senior, in fact, just passed away this month at age 116.  People are living longer and this means Medicare must pay for the health insurance for many more years than perhaps what was planned when the program was first developed.

As Congress debates the "fiscal cliff", one of the solutions was to delay the age until 67 for a senior to begin Medicare health insurance.

Today the Senate announced the White House was not in favor of moving the age requirement back for Medicare although the Republicans were holding on to this as a way to curb costs if they were going to finally give in to raising taxes on the very wealthy.

AARP, the association for American seniors, maintains a lobbying foot in Congress and keeps up on the latest developments as the debate continues.



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Caregiver Scholarship Awards Announced for Caregiving Coalitions

National Alliance for Caregiving announed the 10 winners of the scholarship award to attend the national conference for Caregiving Coalitions to be held in Chicago in March.

The Conference for Caregiving Coalitions award recipients are:

  • Community Caregiving Outcomes Alliance (Chicago, IL)
  • The Caregivers Coalition of Bergen County (Hackensack, NJ)
  • California Coalition for Caregiver (Los Angeles, CA)
  • "We Care" La crosse Caregivers Coalition (La Crosse, WI)
  • CaregiverU (Austin, TX)
  • Larimer County Caregiver Coalition (Fort Collins, CO)
  • Long Island Family Caregiver Coaltion (Port Washington, NY)
  • Coalition of Caring (Rochester, NH)
  • Caregiver Coalition of Northeast Florida (Jacksonville, FL)
  • CareGivers' Hope (Atlanta, GA)

The Caregiving Coalitions help advance senior care initiatives in their community.  As seniors live longer, the need for more creative senior care programs will continue.  You may learn about senior care organization and programs in your area through the Area Agency on Aging on Caregiverlist.


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Certified Caregiver Training for Senior Caregivers: What Are the Options?

Senior care has expanded to include professional senior care in the home which has prompted an entire niche industry to develop in the last decade.  Franchise companies have created thousands of locations across the country to better serve the need for professional senior care in the home.   

The growth in senior care has also created the expansion of new requirements for caregiver training.  Senior care requires understanding age-related diseases, the natural progression of the aging process and the dynamics of senior care within a family.  Senior care also may involve hands-on care requiring a caregiver to know how to safely transfer a senior, assist with meals and eating and assisting with personal care such as bathroom visits and bathing.

Safely caring for seniors requires understanding both the physical and emotional needs of the senior.  Because of this, state governments and the federal government have passed legislation to mandate minimum training standards for senior care and to implement certifications to verify training has taken place.

Certified Nursing Aides, or C.N.A.'s are required in each state of the U.S.A. for individuals providing the hands-on senior care in nursing homes, Assisted Living communities, hospitals and hospices.  In addition, often long-term care insurance companies require the caregiver to be a certified caregiver to insure that proper care will be provided.

Caregivers who work in the home can obtain the basic minimum caregiver training by taking a 10-hour online caregiver certification course.  There is no nationwide standard for non-medical caregivers nationwide.  However, many states are beginning to pass legislation requiring training, such as the state of Illinois which mandates at least 8 hours of training for senior caregivers.  This training was proposed by the National Private Duty Association (NPDA) to advance the standards of training for the industry.  The 10-hour certified training meets Illinois' requirement.

The next level of training for senior caregivers would be C.N.A. training or Certified Nursing Aide training which usually requires close to 100 hours of clinical work and passing a state C.N.A. exam.

You may purchase the Certified Caregiver Training course online and review  C.N.A. training programs in your area or take the sample C.N.A. exam to learn more.

Senior caregiving jobs are available nationwide as the senior care industry continues to grow and have immediate needs for part-time, full-time and live-in senior caregivers and nursing aides.  Read this story in U.S. News & World Report about the growth of the industry and need for more caregiver workers.


Experiencing the Sandwich Generation (Part I)

In this first of two blogs, contributor Renata JL discusses the challenges faced by many like her — members of the Sandwich Generation.

My brother phones with the news that my mother’s been admitted to the hospital. She has the flu and I was going to visit her later in the day, after work, after the kids came home from school. My brother had (luckily) gotten there first. He’d found my mother disoriented and severely dehydrated, broken shards of glass around her bed. He’d cleaned her up enough to get her into the car and to the ER, where they promptly determined she’d need to be a guest of the hospital for at least a few days. The flu can be awful for anyone; at 82 it can be life-threatening.

My first reaction as I grab my coat to race to the hospital is one of gratitude that she’s going to be ok. She is in a safe place, being cared for by professionals. The second feeling is that of guilt. Why had I not gone to check on her earlier? I’d known she was sick. Was helping my son with his spelling words more important than my mother’s well-being? And then I think *expletive*, I’ve got to get someone to pick up the kids from school and do the grocery shopping I’d planned to do later that day. And what am I going to do about work? If I don’t work, I don’t get paid — my job doesn’t offer Paid Family Leave.

And so is the plight of the Sandwich Generation. The term “Sandwich Generation” was first coined in by journalist Carol Abaya in 2006 to describe the growing segment of society simultaneously caring for both their children and their aging parents (or other family members.) The combination of longer life-spans (the Journal of Financial Service Professionals finding shows tht at the beginning of the 20th century between 4% and 7% of people in their sixties had at least one parent still living. Today, that figure is nearly 50%) and later child-bearing has created a demographic whose parents are older while their children are still young. Combined with the phenomenon of smaller families (resulting in fewer siblings to bear the burden of care), those element can create a situation rife with stress, both financial and emotional.

According to AARP, 66 million Americans between the ages of 40-65 find themselves caring for multi-generation family members. The typical Sandwich Generation member is a 48-year-old woman. She maintains a paying job and spends an average of 20 hours a week providing care for a parent(s) and at least one child. And in these economic times, those children can be dependent for a much longer time.

While extended family care is not a new concept, the environment surrounding that care is completely different from historical care, as a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics points out. We no longer live in small villages, so care is not distributed throughout a community. In many instances, Americans are distance-caring for their parents. While I am fortunate to live in the same city as my mother, I have been living in denial. This latest health episode has shown me that changes need to be made. I’m not comfortable having my mother live alone with the sporadic support from her children. I think my sandwich just squeezed me a bit tighter.

Right now my mother and I both have time to assess our next steps. While she’s still in the hospital, she’s getting the care she needs. I arrange my schedule to see her every day, but my responsibilities are minimal. Her release is imminent, however, and I know I’m going to have to step up my game.

Next: How to best cope with the stress and that come with caring for a multi-generational family, and the resources available for support.

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World's Oldest Person Dies at Age 116

Guinness World Records determined Besse Cooper was the world's oldest person in January, 2011, when she was just 115 years old (and today, on my sister's birthday, I was just teasing her about getting closer to age 40, but maybe 40 is the new 60 now)! Earlier today, in a nursing home in Monroe, Georgia, just 45 miles from Atlanta, Ms. Cooper passed away, as announced by her son Sidney Cooper. She was 116 years old. Now imagine for a moment if all of the Baby Boomer generation, predicted to live longer, live to be 116...even more debates about Medicare changes could be taking place in Congress as we figure out how to pay for senior care for all these years. Ms. Cooper, however, was still interacting with others and living life. She was reading books and watched a Christmas video and had her hair fixed, said her son, looking "ready to go". Last year on Cooper's 115th birthday, she celebrated with friends and relatives, enjoyed two small slivers of birthday cake and was serenaded by a musician from Nashville who sang "Tennessee Waltz." The Cooper family is still planning the funeral which will likely be held later this week. a funeral for his mother later this week. No reports yet if there will be any special studies of her body to figure out how her lifestyle and genetics led to a much longer life than most. The title of world's oldest person now belongs to 115-year-old Dina Manfredini, of Johnston, Iowa, reports the Guinness World Records. The oldest known person of all time was Jeanne Calment, a French woman who lived to be 122 years old and died in 1997.

Subaru Shares The Love with Alzheimer's Assn, Meals On Wheels

Subaru sells cars and trucks and now also donates $250 from sales to the charity of your choice (when you buy a Subaru).  Alzheimer's Association and Meals on Wheels are two groups that assist seniors and Subaru has added both of these charities to their "Share the Love" program.

Volunteering has been shown to deliver ongoing health benefits as it provides those who volunteer with fulfillment and a sense of purpose.

Both the Alzheimer's Association and Meals on Wheels are always looking for volunteers.  The Memory Walk is the main fundraiser each year, in cities across the U.S.A., for the Alzheimer's Association and you can be a board member to assist with organizing the event or recruit volunteers for your own team to walk in the Memory Walk.

Meals on Wheels delivers meals to seniors and through the meal drop-off program is often the only person some seniors see each day.  They also have fund-raisers and recruit extra volunteers around the holidays.

Senior care has been predicted to be the top employer in the coming decade - if you are a caring individual and interested in working in senior care, one way to enhance your resume is to begin volunteering with senior programs.  You can also take an online caregiver training course to become a Certified Caregiver.

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Medicaid Programs in Each State to Receive Increased Funding

The Affordable Care Act includes an expansion of Medicaid benefits for low-income Americans and while some states (and Governors) have voiced concern over the potential increase in costs of this expansion, an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation determined that Federal funds will actually deliver an advantage to states.

If all 50 states were to participate in the Medicaid expansion, their total projected costs in the 10 years through 2022 would increase by $76 billion, or about 3% nationally compared with current costs, the analysis shows.  The states would also benefit from a gain of $952 billion in federal funding to help pay for the coverage of an additional 21.3 million people.

This new healthcare mandate allows states to expand coverage for people whose household income is at or below 138% of the federal poverty level, which in 2012 is $15,415 for an individual and $26,344 for a family of three.  The federal government will pay for most of the costs, starting at 100% for the newly eligible in the first three years and phasing down to 90% after that.

Another positive outcome of health insurance for everyone is an expected overhaul of hospital emergency rooms as they no longer will be the pit stop for care for all those who do not have medical insurance and go there for acute care needs.

All seniors receive Medicare health insurance but if they have a very low income and minimum assets, they will qualify for Medicaid health insurance benefits which will pay for long-term care.  You can view the Medicaid financial qualifications as you prepare for long-term senior care.

Many senior caregivers have not had access to health insurance previously and under Obama care they will receive access to health care.





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