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How Geriatric Care Managers Can Cut the Costs of Care

June 30, 2017

 

 

 

It is important to know that Gwyneth Blackwell Senior Care Resources is deeply committed to minimizing the costs of care that impact our clients and their families, as well as our workplaces and our country.

 

 

 

What will it cost to take care of my aging loved one?

 

This is probably the most common concern families have when they first contact me.  This is also one of the most difficult questions to answer. Costs are dependent upon the type services a loved one needs.

 

What I can say, though, is that a good Geriatric Care Manager can show families various care options, and how to save money on the care of their loved one without sacrificing on care quality.

 

People tend to think about the financial costs of care, but there are also emotional and physical costs for the family caregivers.

 

A Geriatric Care Manager can help with those issues, too.

 

There is no question that we are living longer – many seniors live well into their 90s, and making it to the Century mark is no longer uncommon.

 

This means we are also requiring more healthcare and long-term care services, and for longer periods of time.

 

As experts in eldercare, one of our goals is to help families become informed healthcare consumers, and to create plans to accommodate longer life spans.

 

A Geriatric Care Manager's approach not only seeks to cut the costs of care, but also to reduce the associated emotional and physical costs to family caregivers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Financial

 

As we look at the financial costs of care, medical bills, insurance premiums, home care agencies and long-term care facilities all figure in the discussion.

 

In general, the costs of this care are increasing.  ​But there are hidden financial costs as well.

 

It is reported that 70% of working caregivers – people who are taking care of their own relatives but who also have jobs – themselves suffer work-related difficulties due to their dual caregiver roles.This statistic comes from the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP.  Additionally, this study, and one by Evercare, report that 47% of working caregivers indicate an increase in caregiving expenses has caused them to use up all or most of their savings.

 

Geriatric Care Managers Can Help Cut Financial Costs By:

 

  •  Saving family caregivers from lost wages due to the need to accommodate their caregiving responsibilities, such as doctor appointments, checking out long term care facilities, handling medical bills, etc.  

  • Making a long term plan with families regarding appropriate living arrangements and care needs for their loved one, reducing the costs of multiple moves to accommodate increased needs as well as for paying more for services than are required based on the loved one’s current condition

  • Guiding a dialogue regarding advance directives and desired care so that clients’ voices are driving care choices and also ensuring they are only receiving and paying for the care they desire and need

  • Overseeing daily finances to reduce the risk of fraud, scams, or extortion

  • Giving insight into estimating long-term care and healthcare needs and costs, so the care-giving family can make a proper financial plan; we can also refer families to qualified financial and legal professionals

  • Guiding families through the healthcare maze to help ensure they are not paying for unneeded services

  • Navigating Medicare and Medicaid, to help make sure all potential financing aide is optimized

  • Planning for care options in the case of a medical crisis

  • Proactively making small changes in care plans before they become bigger problems later

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  • Utilizing their vast network of other Elder Care professionals to ensure that a client family’s assets are protected and managed to the benefit of the loved ones, their spouses and their families.

 

 

Emotional

 

Even though you have a wonderful, healthy relationship with an aging loved one, the emotional and mental toll of caregiving can be great.

 

A combination of not knowing what to do, difficult family dynamics, fatigue, grief and being overwhelmed can exact a heavy price for a caregiver.

 

Caring for someone with dementia is usually even more difficult and emotionally charged.

 

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP, 23% of family caregivers caring for loved ones for 5 years or more report their own health is “fair” or “poor.” 

 

Care Managers Can Reduce the Emotional Costs of Care by:

 

  • Arranging reprieves to allow families to have breaks and for caregivers to practice self-care

  • Mediating difficult family dynamics; all too often there can be internal discord among families about financial and care arrangements for a loved one

  • Conducting periodic “care conferences” with both near-in and long-distance family members to keep them informed about medical, psychological, residential and other issues relating to their loved one  

  • Acting as a central coordinator and liaison between a family and the multiple doctors and healthcare professionals to make sure the family and the care team are all on the same page

  • Researching and then advising on difficult family decisions to help families do what is the right thing for themselves and for their loved ones

  • Clarifying insurance and healthcare billing and resolving disputes so that family caregivers can retain important energy and time resources  

 

 

Physical

 

Adult children who work and provide care to a parent are more likely to have poorer health than those who do not provide care to their parents, according to the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

This is, in part, because caring for another person is just plain physically exhausting as well as financially and emotionally draining.

 

Whether you are caring for an aging parent, or a disabled spouse or child, the role of family caregiver can be a heavy, multi-year responsibility.

This is marathon care.

 

Care Managers Can Help Family Caregivers Avoid Burnout by Shouldering Responsibilities such as:

 

  • Managing / coordinating outside and family caregivers who can provide assistance with the daily needs, such as bathing/dressing/ grocery shopping/ meal preparation/ transportation to appointments, etc.

  • Providing training and management for complex care, such as catheter care, wound dressing, colostomy care, etc., utilizing Certified RN resources.

  • Managing chronic illnesses through medication management, helping with special diets, providing disease and malady education, etc.

  • Educating and advising on difficult behaviors, such as wandering, lost communication, incontinence, yelling, or disorientation associated with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

  • Arranging for transitional care and managing discharges from the hospital to home

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