Family Senior Care Planners

If you’ve spotted some warning signs, and are concerned more than usual about your parent or both elderly parents being able to function well, still living on their own, then you want to make sure you’re not seeing the signs of some serious problems.  For example, stained or smelly clothing is a warning sign for worsening vision or other sensory loss, disease, depression, or a number of other possibilities.  Another example is weight loss.  Though it’s not unusual for weight loss in later years, it may be a sign for emotional distress, poorly fitting dentures, gum disease, the inability to shop for or prepare meals, an underlying illness, or even medication side effects.

Family senior care planners get involved when you’ve seen some signs that concern you, and you don’t know how to handle the situation, you may consider getting help from professional family senior care planners, more often known as Geriatric Care Managers.  A GCM is a profession that has been growing tremendously over the past decade, as the population in the US ages, as elderly seniors have needs unfamiliar with those who aren’t afflicted with some of the constraints of aging.

Often times the first step is a geriatric assessment.  Here are some of the areas evaluated:

Health

Recognize symptoms of physical illness and/or emotional problems.

Arrange and get to regularly scheduled doctors appointments

Taking medications properly, as directed.

Obtaining and preparing food with nutritional value, and/or following special diets

Daily Activities

Getting up and down safely from a bed or chair, or from the toilet

Safely bathing and dressing

Ability to navigate stairs safely and easily

Using the telephone, doing housework

Driving safely, shopping and/or preparing meals

Safety

Obtaining and using assistive devices like walkers, reaching gadgets, grab bars, hearing aids, etc.

Avoiding cons and deceptive phone calls or door-ringers, who prey on the elderly

Ability to access or call for emergency help

Appearance

Wearing clean and appropriate clothing and footwear

Washing their own hair, shaving, trimming their nails

Social Life

Visiting with friends and neighbors

Attending community events like movies, religious services, clubs or senior centers

Mental Health

Coping with everyday stress and events

The ability to discuss fears and worries as they used to vs. having it consume their daily existence

Continuing with their hobbies and interests

Finances

Paying bills on time, making financial decisions

Ability to locate any of their legal documents and assets, while also handling outside financial assistance and benefits

You can do this kind of assessment yourself, or you can hire a Geriatric Care Manager as your professional family senior care manager.  They can also offer recommendations and create plans for short-term and long-term goals.  GCMs also can coordinate, implement and monitor the services if you care to hire them for that role.  Professionals are especially helpful if you’re a long-distance caregiver and can’t physically and personally monitor the situation frequently.

You may want to contact the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers at 520.881.8008 or visit their website at www.caremanager.org for more helpful information.

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