The Importance of Care Management for Seniors Aging at Home
The Importance of Care Management for Seniors Aging at Home
What is Aging in Place?
There are many options available for seniors as they age, including retirement communities, independent living, assisted living, memory care, and more. But, the most favored option by 90% of seniors is to age at home, also known as aging in place.
Aging in place can be a great option for seniors as they enter their later years. Staying in your own home feels safe, familiar and comfortable. You can keep the same routine, neighborhood, and lifestyle you’re accustomed to. You may live near friends and family who you see often. And, aging in place can sometimes be less expensive than moving to a senior living community. These are some common reasons why most seniors would prefer to spend their later years at home.
How Can Seniors Age at Home?
Aging in place takes plenty of planning to remain safe and comfortable in your home.
One question seniors should consider when deciding to age in place is if their home is safe and accessible. Are the bedroom, bathroom, and laundry room on the main floor, or are stairs involved? Are the doorways wide enough to fit mobility devices if they are needed in the future? Does the house need safety modifications like ramps, grab bars in the bathroom, or improved lighting to prevent falls? Is the home going to be affected by possibly dangerous weather like ice and snow storms, or is it somewhere warm like Florida?
Also, beyond home modifications, seniors wishing to age in place need to consider their ability to live independently. Independence can be affected by certain diseases like Parkinson’s, dementia or Alzheimer’s. It can also be impacted by someone’s mobility level and ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) like dressing, eating, grooming, and managing medications. Oftentimes these circumstances require further help and care from a caregiver.
What is Home Health Care?
One of the best ways seniors can both age at home and receive the care they need is through home health care. With home health care, professional caregivers like nurses, aides, or therapists come to the senior’s home to provide their needed care and assistance. These services can include help with ADLs like dressing and grooming, managing household tasks, rehabilitative or therapeutic services, and nursing care for an illness, injury, disease or disability.
But how do you find the in-home care you need? And how do you ensure you’re receiving the highest quality care at home?
This is where geriatric care management can be essential.
Keep reading to learn more about geriatric care management and why it is so important for seniors who are aging in place.
What is Geriatric Care Management?
Geriatric care management involves a professional care manager who coordinates all aspects of your needed senior care. This includes finding and evaluating hired caregivers and home health aides. A geriatric care manager also acts as a guide and advocate on your behalf as you navigate the healthcare system, helping you make informed decisions along the way. Overall, they ensure you or your loved ones are in the best hands and receive the best senior care possible.
What Does a Geriatric Care Manager Do?
Some services that can be provided by geriatric care managers include:
Completing initial assessments of needs
Creating short- and long-term care plans
Coordinating in-home care services provided by caregivers like home health aides
Arranging therapeutic services such as physical or occupational therapy
Evaluating and monitoring hired caregivers
Acting as a liaison between hired caregivers and clients or their family members, especially if they live far away
Identifying government programs and services that the client could use
Scheduling medical appointments and transportation
Referring clients to other trusted professionals such as elder care attorneys and financial planners
Answering questions and educating clients and family members on complex topics, such as those related to health care
How Do I Pay For Geriatric Care Management?
The most common way to pay for geriatric care management is out of pocket. Some long-term care insurance plans will cover care management, but most private insurance policies do not. Medicare and Medicaid also do not cover geriatric care management.
One possible payment option to explore is employee assistance programs, which will sometimes cover a portion of geriatric care management fees for a senior relative. This is because about 60% of family caregivers also have full or part-time jobs. Over half of this group reports having to take time off from their jobs to attend to their caregiving duties.
Many workplaces want to prevent employees from missing work time due to caregiving responsibilities so they can focus more on their jobs. Therefore, caregivers who are also employed elsewhere should look into their employee assistance program to see if it can help cover some of the costs.
What are the Benefits of Geriatric Care Management?
Geriatric care management can be essential for seniors who decide to age at home. Between finding doctors, scheduling appointments, and coordinating in-home care, there can be a lot to manage when aging in place. Geriatric care managers take on those responsibilities and more, giving peace of mind to seniors and their family. Below are some specific benefits of geriatric care management.
1. Geriatric care management allows you to have a proactive approach to health care and aging, rather than a reactive approach.
Having a reactive approach to health care means you respond to issues after they occur. On the other hand, a proactive approach means you take measures in advance to prevent issues from occurring in the future.
Having a reactive approach to health care and the aging process tends to be less effective than taking a proactive approach. Specifically, those who are reactive tend to have worse health outcomes, spend more money on care, and experience more stress and anxiety about their situation.
Being proactive about health care decisions is always the best option to regain control of your future. An expert geriatric care manager can help you take a more proactive approach to the aging process, preventing problems that could arise in the future. Overall, they help you make informed decisions about your future health care and aging process to make it as smooth as possible.
2. Geriatric care managers foster independence for seniors.
Using a geriatric care manager can lead to an improved quality of life for the seniors with more independence for longer. Geriatric care managers accomplish this by proactively managing seniors’ health and well-being, ensuring their living arrangements are safe and accessible, and arranging the best care for their needs. Managing overall health and well-being enables seniors to be more independent as they age.
3. Geriatric care managers are a support system for families.
Seniors frequently live far away from their family members. Or, even if they do live nearby, their loved ones may be busy with a career or taking care of their own families. Enlisting a geriatric care manager is a great way for families to stay informed and ensure their senior loved ones are taken care of properly.
These are just some of the many benefits of geriatric care management.
What Questions Should I Ask Before Hiring a Care Manager?
As with anything involving senior care, it is important to do your research before hiring a geriatric care manager. You should also be prepared to ask the right questions to prospective care managers. Examples of some of these questions include:
What credentials and licensure do you have?
How long have you been providing geriatric care management?
Do you have experience with specific conditions like Parinkinson’s, dementia etc.? (If applicable)
What are the main services you provide?
Do you charge a fee for consultation? If so, how much?
What is your fee structure? (Be sure to ask for this in writing)
How often and in what way will you keep in contact with us?
Are you available in case of an emergency?
Do you have any references I can contact who have used your services before?
How Much Does Geriatric Care Management Cost?
The cost of geriatric care management can vary, and so can the way care managers charge clients. Most charge hourly, usually in the range of about $50-$250 per hour.
Some care managers charge separately for an initial assessment, which generally costs $800-$2,000.
Keep in mind these services do not include the cost of the in-home care itself. In Florida, home health care costs an average of about $28 per hour. Of course this cost can vary based on the level and amount of care being provided.
Is Care Management Cheaper Than Assisted Living?
While paying for geriatric care management out of pocket can seem like a substantial expense, it is commonly a cheaper option than assisted living or other residential care homes. This is because the client is able to receive only the personalized services they need at the time.
For example, a senior may require 3 hours a week of care management, and 2 hours a day of home health care. If the care management is $120 per hour and the in-home care is $28 per hour, that would be around $2,040 per month for all the services together.
Compared to the average cost of assisted living in Florida, which is about $4,700 in 2023, this price is much less. That is because assisted living communities also offer services that the senior may not want or need at the current time, like meal preparation or special programming and events.
However, if a senior requires more significant care management and more hours of home health care, the price can quickly add up to cost more than a Florida assisted living community. And if someone needs round-the-clock care at home, that cost is almost always higher than an assisted living community, as well.
A trusted senior advisor can help you evaluate all the options available and decide the most cost-effective path for you.
How Do I Find Geriatric Care Management Near Me?
Geriatric care managers can advise you on important senior care decisions and help you find and coordinate the best care at home. If this sounds like a service you might need, look no further than Florida Senior Consulting.
Our local, professional senior advisors offer expert care management services for Florida seniors and their families.
We are connected with some of the top senior care providers in Florida, from home health aides and nurses to physical therapists and speciality doctors. We will ensure you receive the best senior care on your terms, because the choice should always be yours.
Call us at (800) 969-7176 or visit FloridaSeniorConsulting.com to learn how we can support you through your senior living journey. We’re with you every step of the way!