What is an Elder Care Manager?
Elder Care Managers are qualified nurses with years of experience in care of the elderly. They provide families and their older relatives with options to ensure their lives remain as independent as possible for as long as possible. They ensure the right supports are in place, trigger action in times of crisis, and work with health service providers, both private and public, to maximise the available support for each of their clients. Elder Care Managers are generally paid for their services by their elderly client, the client’s adult children, or a solicitor that holds the power of attorney for the client.
Why is an Elder Care Manager needed?
Our aged population continues to grow in numbers, with people often living healthier and longer lives. Most of our elders wish to live at home where they feel secure and comfortable, yet this can cause many strains and problems for their family members and carers. Family and friends trying to help may suddenly be faced with new responsibilities and choices that can be complex, time consuming, and emotional in nature. For caregivers these responsibilities may add further stress to lives that are already hectic and demanding. Sometimes, caregivers just don’t have enough information, time, or energy to do what they know should be done for their loved one. A skilled and experienced Elder Care Manager offers the required advice, information, and management of crisis situations.
In what situations is an Elder Care Manager needed?
- Discharge from hospital – to develop and implement a comprehensive Care Plan to enable the elderly person to be discharged from hospital while maintaining maximum independence.
- Alzheimers and Dementia – to provide expert advice and monitoring services for dealing with Alzheimers and Dementia.
- To support families living at a distance from elderly loved ones – providing written care plans on all aspects of the care being provided, regular monitoring of the elderly person, confirming fulfillment of their needs and providing peace of mind to family.
- Crisis management – to actively support family in arranging for appropriate services in times of sudden changes in the elder person’s health and abilities.
What is a specific use case for working with an Elder Care Manager?
Imagine the following scenario:
Mary’s mother is due for discharge from the hospital after a hip operation. She had fallen on the ice outside her door and broken her hip. Mary, a working mother with three small children, managed the crisis well and enlisted the help of friends and neighbours to allow her to visit her mother in hospital 60 km away, sort out her house, etc. However, now with her discharge looming, Mary is torn between looking after the needs of her own young family and those of her aging mother. Mary feels under pressure to move her mum into residential care although she knows this is not what her mother wants.
An Elder Care Manager could provide Mary with a comprehensive care plan for her mother, preferably prior to discharge. The manager could then implement the care plan. This would include liaising with and mobilising the necessary healthcare and/or homecare services, monitoring these services, and making changes as necessary in consultation with Mary and her mother. If required, Mary’s mother would also be escorted by the Elder Care Manager to medical appointments, with a follow-up written report sent to Mary to provide peace of mind.
Do I need an Elder Care Manager?
Before deciding whether you or your family would benefit from our services, you should evaluate whether you have the time, inclination, and skills to manage the challenges of caring for your elderly relative. Consider the following:
- Is your relative due for discharge from hospital? If so, are you clear about the steps that need to be taken and the supports put in place for them to recover comfortably at home or elsewhere?
- Are the problems that you or your elderly loved one are facing becoming larger and more complex than you can comfortably manage?
- Are other demands and responsibilities so great that you are not able to provide the desired level of supervision and attention to deal with your loved one’s problems?
- Is it difficult to discuss issues relating to the care of your loved one with them or other family members?
- Are you worried about your elderly relative’s ability to remain safely in their own home?
- Do you feel your loved one is getting forgetful and you are not really sure how to handle it?
- Has a loved one been diagnosed with Alzheimers or Dementia? Are you comfortable with dealing effectively with all aspects of this diagnosis?
Who typically uses professional Elder Care Management services?
- Older people
- Families of elderly people
- Relatives of elderly people, living at a distance or internationally
- GP’s and allied health professionals
My father has asked me to come with him on a visit to his consultant. How can I make the most of this visit?
If you go with your parent to see the doctor/consultant, here are a few tips that will help you be an ally and an advocate:
- Bring a list of questions, starting with what is most important to you and your parent, and take notes on what the doctor recommends. These notes will be helpful later, either to give information to the primary caregiver or to remind your parent what the doctor said.
- Before the appointment, ask your parent, the primary caregiver, and your siblings if they have any questions or concerns they would like you to bring up.
- Bring a list of ALL medicines and dietary supplements your parent is taking, both prescription and over-the-counter, and include the dosage and schedule. If your parent sees several different doctors, one may not necessarily know what another has prescribed.
- When the doctor asks a question, let your parent answer unless you have been asked to do so.
- It’s easy to get into a two-way conversation between the doctor and yourself — try not to do this. Always include both your parent and the doctor when you talk.
- Respect your parent’s privacy, and leave the room when necessary.
- If you do not live near your parent, talk to the doctor about how you can keep up-to-date on your parent’s health.
- Ask the doctor to recommend helpful community resources.
- Larger medical practices, hospitals, and nursing homes may have a social worker on staff. The social worker may have valuable suggestions about community resources and other information.
If you are worried that your parent might be depressed, you might want to discuss this with the doctor before the appointment. Depression is not a normal part of aging. Emotions like sadness, grief, and temporary “blue” moods are normal, but continuing depression that interferes with daily living is not okay. Yet, even some health professionals seem to think it is a normal response to the illnesses and other problems that can happen as we grow older. Make sure the doctor is taking action in response to your concerns.