AGING CARE SOLUTIONS
Kay Paggi, Eldercare Consultant
Certified ElderCare Mediator
Licensed Professional Counselor
National Certified Gerontological Counselor
Care Manager, Certified
Phone: 972-839-0065 E-Mail: email@example.com Fax: 972-907-3799
Advanced Professional Member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers
WHAT IS A PROFESSIONAL GERIATRIC CARE MANAGER?
A Professional Geriatric Care Manager is an eldercare consultant who has the expertise to make suggestions for positive changes in age-related difficulties. Professional Geriatric Care Management is a new profession with only about 2,000 practitioners in the United States. The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (www.caremanager.org) defines care management as:
"the process of planning and coordinating the care of the elderly to improve their quality of life and maintain their independence for as long as possible. Health and psychological care are integrated with the best possible combination of services such as: housing, home care services, socialization programs, financial and legal planning. A care plan tailored for each individual's circumstances is prepared after a comprehensive assessment. The care Plan is modified when necessary based on the professional geriatric care managers monitoring of the components of the care plan. Professional geriatric care managers accomplish this by combining a working knowledge of human development, family dynamics, public and private resources and funding sources while advocating for the individual throughout the continuum of care."
As a Professional Geriatric Care Manager, I have extensive knowledge about the costs, quality and availability of aging services. In 2005-6 I was part of the Gilbert Guide team of professionals in aging care who visited every long term care facility in the DFW area. We completed the same survey in each community, so they could be fairly compared with each other along the same areas. The results along with ratings were published in May 2006. Subsequently the Gilbert Guide went online nationally. Since every long term care facility in the U.S. could not be surveyed, the local surveys were deleted. As a result of my experience with the Gilbert team, I was invited to become an Expert at Caring.com, where I respond to reader requests for information about ElderCare issues.
I hold a Master's Degree in Counseling and every year I attend several seminars in various topics related to Eldercare. I am an Advanced Professional member of NAPGCM, having joined in 1995. I have been in private practice since 1996. (For more information, see my Resume)
GOALS OF GERIATRIC CARE MANAGEMENT
My goal as a care manager is to maximize the elder's independence and quality of life, no matter what the setting. Depending on the situation, I often become more a surrogate family member than an outside professional. You have a limited amount of time and energy. You may spend it running errands, going to physicians, arranging care, cooking and cleaning, etc. Or, you can choose to spend quality time with your parent and allow someone else to do the tasks. Only you can provide the love.
THE PROCESS OF CARE MANAGEMENT
I prefer to begin my association with your family in initial in-home or in-hospital assessment. This initial visit takes about an hour and includes a functional assessment, nutritional assessment, review of medical diagnosis and current medications, mental status tests, and depression screening. I ask for enough financial information to help me determine how much care can be afforded for how long. I discuss the older person's experiences with their own parents, their expectations for this time of their life, their fears and hopes. The more I know about the client, the better care planning recommendations can be made.
If the initial assessment is in the elder's home, I do an environmental evaluation while there to assess fall risk and environmental safety. Falls are the 5th leading cause of injury and death among older adults. Whether your care receiver lives there only a few more days or the rest of their life, it should be safe.
Using all the information I’ve gathered, I write a Care Plan for you and your care receiver. This is a guide to eldercare options that lists current needs along with options for improving the situation, both short term and in the future.
We then meet to discuss the Care Plan. This can be an informal meeting between you and me, or we can meet with your parent and/or your siblings or other family members. I can assist you as you struggle to make the best care decisions and discuss the pros and cons of each option.
"Kay did an excellent job of evaluating and summarizing Moms needs. She was especially helpful in locating an appropriate place for Mom. Within 2 days we were able to get a terrific place. We would have spent weeks doing that and probably not found as good a place." -Wayne
Alternatively, if you would rather begin less formally, I can meet with you to discuss the issues that are challenging you now. In this meeting my suggestions will be more general because I will not have assessed the elder but we can discuss broad outlines.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN FOR CARE
Going forward, after you have decided on a plan, I can assist you by implementing some of the changes. I can find and supervise in-home help, find a facility with an opening in your price range, and even take your parent to visit facilities so they feel they have a part in this decision (after all, it is their life). I can manage the relocation without you, if you prefer. Or I can take your parent out while you manage the moving of household items.
I can counsel with your parent to help them cope with adapting to the changes. I can encourage them to say goodbye to one chapter of their life while they greet a new one. I can also do some counseling with you and your family to teach you how to cope successfully with your feelings of guilt, relief, hope, disappointment, resentment, and all the other feelings that are inherent in caregiving.
I can take your parent to the doctor, sit in on the examination, ask questions about the diagnosis and treatment, and report to you. I can be a liaison between you and your parent or between you and the medical community. I am always an advocate for the elder’s best interests, and try to find what tests are necessary and which can be avoided or delayed.
I can help with travel plans if your parent wants to make a trip, such as arranging items such as oxygen, baggage handling, wheelchairs and escort between planes.
Perhaps best of all, I am always available. I am here when you are out of town. I can take phone calls from the facility, or intercept calls from an irate parent. I can meet you at the emergency room, or if necessary, take your parent to the emergency room. I coordinate with hospice, and have been present when beloved clients died.
In short, I can be a surrogate daughter for your parent. I add to your support system and theirs, allowing you to have more quality time with your parent, to be an advocate not an adversary (I can remind your mother to visit the denti so you do not need to.) I can give you the freedom to go to work and do your job, rather than make phone calls to search for eldercare options.
My fee is $105/hour. Before I begin an assessment I ask for $500 in advance to cover my initial hours. I charge for drive time and time spent on the phone. I suggest that you arrange to pay me yourself, as most elders in this generation believe such a service as care management is unnecessary. Their parents aged and died. Your parents age and live. The average time spent providing care for aging parents in the U.S. now is 18 years.