Care management for long distance geriatric caregivers

Geriatric caregivers

Not all geriatric caregivers are able to provide as hands-on and on the spot care as did Mr. John Wemmick for his own Aged P., especially when an adult child and an aging parent are separated by a long distance, as opposed to just a moat. If you have this problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire a geriatric care manager. Geriatric care management can be provided by a social worker, nurse, gerontologist, counselor, or other related professional who can offer additional guidance and help in caring for a relative who is aged 75 or older, has a chronic illness, is physically and/or cognitively impaired, or has to deal with one or more of the following problems:

  • Gait abnormalities and recurrent falls.
  • Depression.
  • Fatigue. 
  • Behaviors associated with dementia.
  • Incontinence.
  • Decreased strength.
  • Low physical activity levels.
  • Loss of weight.  

Additionally, a geriatric care manager can help in the decision making process and in the management of stress in every aspect of long-term care at home, in a living facility, or in a nursing facility. For example, they can devise a plan that monitors the specific social, emotional, physical and healthcare needs of your relative after personally assessing nutritional status, safety, memory, depression, finances, insurance, health history, and other issues that are faced on a daily basis. Moreover, they can coordinate services such as:

  • Crisis intervention.
  • Counseling and support.
  • Consumer education and advocacy.
  • Financial management.
  • Referrals.
  • Decisions concerning sound housing options.
  • Assisting with moving an older person to or from different types of housing.
  • Advising on power of attorney or guardianship issues.
  • Serving as a liaison to families at a distance.
  • Ensuring things are going well.
  • Alerting families to problems.

Geriatric caregiver management can be either a necessity or a luxury. In order to determine which one it is in your case, you need to establish whether the person being cared for:

  • Has little or no family support.
  • Has several medical or psychological problems.

Is not able to live safely in their current environment.

Is unpleased with current care providers and needs advocacy.

Is confused about their financial or legal status.

And also if your family:

  • Has just gotten started as geriatric caregivers and requires counseling on available services.
  • Is burned out or confused.
  • Has limited time or experience in dealing with chronic care and needs.
  • Can’t agree on care decisions.
  • Needs instruction on geriatric caregiving.

Should you come to the decision that you do need a geriatric care management, be aware that there are two main types; one is provided by agencies, and the other by independent contractors. In either case, there are a few things you need to know before you can establish a business relationship.

Geriatric care management agencies

Independent geriatric care managers

How long it has been in business.            

Are they learned and informed on geriatric care needs.

How long it has been doing geriatric care management.

What do they think about independent living vs. nursing home care.

Does it provide certified clinical social workers, Master level counselors, and gerontologists.

Are they a certified care manager.

What the care managers’ certifications* are.

What their credentials* are

Is it affiliated with a professional organization. If so, which one(s).

Are they licensed.

Are references available on request.

Do they belong to a professional organization. If so, which one(s).

What kind of supervision does it provide for their care managers.

How long they have been providing care management services.

Does it have around-the-clock, year-long availability.

Are they familiar with the local resources.

Will it provide a list of all charges, including phone calls, driving time, counseling, and case management.

Are they available for emergencies? How easily can they be reached.


How they communicate information.

How much they charge.

Can they provide references.

*By way of example, National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers certified members must have a Baccalaureate, Master’s or Ph.D. with at least one degree in a field associated with care management, such as counseling, nursing, mental health, social work, psychology, or gerontology. Moreover, they must be certified by the National Academy of Certified Care Managers, the Commission for Case Manager Certification, or the National Association of Social Workers (as either a certified social work case manager, or a certified advanced social work case manager).

Related Read:

8 Long Distance Caregiving Tips