A Care Manager is a specialized professional, with a background in social work, nursing, mental health and/or gerontology, who acts as a guide for families with care needs. Families can count on professional Care Managers to offer expert guidance and help them more seamlessly navigate the challenges of aging and caregiving.
For 20+ years, over 10,000 families have hired a life care manager to alleviate their stress, worry, and fear that can accompany aging — and, most importantly — give them a greater sense of stability, clarity, and peace of mind.
I just want to plan ahead…
nothing urgent today.
While the future may not be ours to see, planning ahead gives us more options and control. Comprehensive future planning includes getting all of the necessary legal papers prepared, or updated; reviewing finances, including savings, current and future income, assets and realistic budgets for a variety of future scenarios. It means thinking about current and future living arrangements and having comprehensive information on medical conditions, medications and any current or likely future functional limitations. By being aware of community resources, you'll be ready to tap into them when the time comes.
My relative shouldn’t be driving.
Driving is a key part of everyday life for most Americans. How do you get to the store or church or to see your friends and family if you can’t drive your car? The ability to instantly move from home to wherever you want to go provides a powerful feeling of independence for most older people. But, what if your father has been in three fender-benders in the past six months? Perhaps you've noticed dings and dents on Mom's car or wonder if she'll get confused about her route. You have begun to fear more serious problems happening – what if someone is injured? Here are a few tips to manage the conversation you need to have.
My relative is all alone or quality of life is poor and I feel bad about this.
During the current COVID-19 crisis this problem that affects so many of our elders even in the best of times became a clear worry for many families. There are concrete steps you can take to both manage your feelings and help your family member.
My parent falls frequently and I'm always worried about getting the emergency phone call.
Getting to the bottom of the cause of the falls is the first step. By understanding if there is a way to manage what is causing the falls you are then in a position to figure out what to do. If the situation is temporary, you may need to come up with a short-term plan and put new safety measures in place. But, in many cases, you’ll need a long-term plan to manage the situation to avoid life becoming one crisis after another. Even if your parent isn't falling frequently (that you know of), falls are the #1 cause of injury and death in elders. So, if you want to help your parent age at home safely, start with a home safety assessment.
My parent takes a lot of medicine…is he/she taking it the right way?
This is a challenge for anyone taking more than one medication—and when someone is taking three or more medications it can be a recipe for disaster! There are practical steps to follow to put a safe medication plan in place for your parents.
My siblings don’t agree on how to help our parents.
Unfortunately, your parents get caught in the middle and it may feel like you can’t get anything done when no one agrees. You need some way to manage the difficult situation you are experiencing today. To quote Leo Tolstoy: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” However, there are some approaches and recommendations that we have gained from working with thousands of families that can help you cope and move forward.
Care Managers can...
A major transition just happened (hospitalization, recent move, death of a spouse) and you're worried about how they're coping.
Change is always stressful but to an elderly person who has had a fixed routine for years and wasn’t looking for change the stress can be both overwhelming and long-lasting. Many factors affect the adjustment process, and even changes you see as positive can be tough. How much did he or she participate in decisions about the change? How many resources, social as well as financial, do they have? Was the change the a result of a crisis – unplanned and unwelcomed? How can we support the adjustment process and make transitions as smooth as possible?
My parent has a new medical problem and needs help.
Managing a new medical problem poses challenges on many levels. Understanding the diagnosis, possibly getting a second opinion, dealing with a new medication or treatment, exploring how to integrate the physical and emotional impact of the new condition into your parent’s life and possibly your own – this is only some of what you're facing. Information helps, as can access to new resources that you may need. But, it also takes time and the proper support to integrate this new challenge into your parent’s life.
My relative’s health condition has recently changed and requires much more attention.
Changes in your relative's health condition can be immediate, short-term, or ongoing. It may be obvious when something has changed, hard to pin down, or confusing. The challenge you're facing is here now, but it also needs to be managed with the future in mind. How do you know where to start?
I’m concerned about someone taking financial advantage of my parent.
Is your parent possibly the victim of elder abuse? The most typical form of elder abuse is financial abuse. This can take the form of simply stealing money or things of value from an elder, to taking over the person’s entire financial life. Elder abuse is a serious and sometimes difficult problem to solve. Expert advice is often needed to understand how to approach the problem and best get help, from formally making a complaint of elder abuse to authorities to putting safeguards in place.
My parent is making poor decisions.
This can be one of the most difficult situations an adult child can face with an elderly parent. The person who seemed so responsible throughout your lifetime no longer seems to be thinking clearly or acting prudently. Or is it that you just don’t agree with a life choice your parent is making? Perhaps they're staying too long in a house that is obviously too big, which is not being kept clean abd refusing all offers of help? Understanding the difference between making a poor decision and being beyond the capacity to make important life decisions can be tricky. There are many fine gradations along this path from being fully capable to being unable to make one’s own decisions. Where is your parent? How will you know when the line is, in fact, crossed?
I think my relative might have dementia or Alzheimer's. They seem confused or are having some difficulty thinking straight.
Dementia is a term that covers many conditions from the classic Alzheimer’s disease to Mild Cognitive Impairment. These medical terms denote a large variety of changes in an individual’s ability to think, understand, make decisions, and assess information. What to do? Luckily today these changes can be diagnosed with some accuracy. And getting a good differential diagnosis is important because what you and your family will need to do depends on understanding, as exactly as possible, what has caused these changes. From there, you can address concerns and prepare.
I have a lot on my plate and need help as I don’t have the time and energy or expertise to handle the situation well.
This may be exactly why many people decide they need to get professional assistance. Too much is being asked of them from too many people. It can feel like there's never enough time available to feel that you are able to get a grip on anything: home, work, kids, and all those practical tasks of life. Seeking professional advice may be the best option, to get a handle on the situation and relieve some of your stress.