Longview Seniors – Misc. Info.

About Longview Seniors – Misc. Info.

Hi, I'm Nancy Verhei, your host on the Eldercare Channel. Today's topic is what are geriatric care managers. I have been a geriatric care manager for the past 20 years. In fact, I was the fourth in Washington State back in the 1990s when the profession was in its infancy. How I explain to people what a geriatric care manager is, it's a social worker, it's a care manager, a guardian angel, you name it. It's kind of like when you're in the hospital, and you have a discharge planner assigned to you. What that discharge planner does is upon discharge from the hospital the discharge planner will look at what services, what safety net you need in place so you do not end up back in the hospital. A geriatric care manager acts very similar to that, but they provide service for a longer period of time or sequences of time. If any of you who are seniors yourselves and/or have worked closely with seniors. You know that the life experience can go up and down like a roller coaster, depending on whether or not there's an illness, or an injury, or a disease that's just been diagnosed. As a geriatric care manager what we're trying to do is we're trying to eliminate the dips in the roller coaster so that as a senior you can have sustained health. You can avoid those little dips because every time there is a dip there's usually a crisis. For instance, you could be fine at home, but you fall; you break your hip. Now you're in a crisis situation, and the family is thrown into a crisis situation. Then there are weeks or months of rehab. Actually, 50 percent of people die within the first year of after a broken hip. That's why it's so critical to stay healthy. So a geriatric care manager helps eliminate those dips. I also equate it to an air traffic controller. You have all these issues. Many times families are dealing with more than one senior. It could be a grandmother, grandfather, father-in-law, next door neighbor, and an elderly aunt. So everyone has different issues. Every need is unique to that individual. It can feel like you have very busy skies with planes flying around and issues that need to be juggled. That is why a geriatric care manager really helps especially if you live far away, out of town, out of state, or out of the country. Geriatric care managers are perfect for those family members that are separated by long distances because they can be the eyes and the ears of the adult child who wants to make sure that services are being performed professionally and that mom or dad is getting the most excellent care. There’s another way of describing a geriatric care manager. I'm sure all of you at one point or another have put together a jigsaw puzzle. As you know, when you open up the box and you see all the pieces. You don't see the true picture. It's overwhelming. It can be absolutely stressful and frustrating. You can get angry. Why am I having to do this? I have such a busy life. All of the little conversations that we all have in our head at one time or another. Yes, it can be overwhelming and, yes, it can be very stressful. So it's nice to have somebody on your side, somebody who can help maximize the opportunities and the options. They do this for a profession, so they're not guessing. They know who is good out there in the community. The geriatric care manager will offer different pieces for that jigsaw puzzle. You don't want to have a missing piece. A lot of times it's that missing piece that makes everything else click into place. You can try to do it alone, but I equate it to having a rock in your shoe. You could walk around through your day, but that constant irritation can really diminish the quality of your life and your loved one's life. Many times I see families that are fighting and that are irritated with one another. They don't want to talk to the other person again until the next crisis. This is really a time of life where you should be savoring each moment together. It's a very important time of life. It's when seniors think of the legacy that they are leaving their families, not that they're going to be leaving soon. We deal with usually three generations of seniors. The 60-year-olds have very different needs. They're thinking of retirement, traveling, and having very active lives. Then, those of the 80-year-olds which are beginning to realize that their bodies are giving out. They don't have that spring in their step any more. Then, those that reach to 100 have very different needs. This channel is a wonderful opportunity, as your needs change or your family's needs change, that you can use as a reference. It's just a wonderful resource to have. If you want any more information about geriatric care managers, you could look up caremanager.org. It's all about the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. You could find someone in your area or for the lower Columbia region, you could call us here at Elder Options. We have the most experience of any geriatric care manager in southwest Washington. Until I see you again, goodbye and good luck. Nancy Verhei of Elder Options is a geriatric care manager who provides services in Vancouver and Longview. She can be reached at (360) 636-1000 (Longview) or (360) 696-5920 (Vancouver).


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