Senior Q&A: Geriatric care manager can help
Q: My father and his wife are both showing signs of memory loss. They are not caring for themselves as they once did and they are not eating properly. Every time I visit, my father's wife is in the room and she does not give me privacy with my father. I am concerned about my father and I feel that they need help in the home. I am NOT in a position to discuss this topic with my father because his wife and I do not often agree on many topics. How can I get them the help they need?
A: This situation is very challenging but not impossible. If there is a friend who is able to act as liaison that would be helpful and allow you to still be involved, but stay in the background. There are some services available to seniors at no cost or low cost and there are agencies that charge for their services if your father is not eligible for the no cost services.
Contact some of the agencies to gather information. In addition, a geriatric care manager can be hired to complete a home assessment to work with your father and his wife to bring in the necessary help allowing them to live in their home. The geriatric care manager can be available to discuss with your father and his wife topics they do not wish to discuss with you or other family members.
Q: My mother is moving into an assisted living facility and I am overwhelmed about this move. My mother has lived in her home for over 40 years and each room is filled with furniture and personal items. I just do not know where to start. Do you know of companies that can help me clear out the items in the house and help me move?
A: There are a number of companies called "senior move managers" who can offer you the services for your mother's home and assist with the move to the assisted living. Senior Move Managers can remove and donate items, box up items, and measure and layout your mother's new room.
Senior Move Managers can organize the moving with local moving companies that they contract with. They also can put together a floor plan of where the furniture should go in the assisted living facility, which allows the move to go smoothly. This way you do not need to move unnecessary furniture.
Check that they are a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers, and see how long they have been in business (three years or more is a good rule of thumb). Do they have any awards such as the Circle of Service award for outstanding work? Always ask for references. Senior Move Managers will come into the home and give you an estimate of the cost of the work.
Q: My mother has tried to live at home but she has been in and out of the hospital every other month over the past year. We have had help in the home plus the Visiting Nurses Association. I am beginning to think that my mother would be better cared for in a medical facility such as a nursing home with 24/7 help. I am feeling guilty about my decision. Should I continue to keep my mother at home with these recurrent hospitalizations or place her in a medical facility where she will receive the care she now needs?
A: First of all, you are thinking about your mother and her needs. Placing your mother in a medical facility is not an easy decision. You have given this a lot of thought and you are able to see how much care your mother now needs.
What is important is the kind of care your mother now requires. You have tried to provide the care at home, however, your mother's medical needs are now more complicated requiring nursing and physician coverage on a daily basis. A nursing home can provide the care for your mother because of the change in her health. If the medical team takes over the care, you can visit your mother and have pleasant visits because you will not be responsible for providing the care and running of her home.
Debbie Gitner, a licensed certified social worker and certified social worker care manager, and Linda Sullivan, a registered nurse and case manager certified, are geriatric care managers and owners of ElderCare Resource Services helping families investigate, assess and choose medical and non-medical care and resources for seniors.
Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or ElderCare Resources, Inc., 29 Gano Road, Marlborough, MA 01752, or call them at 508-879-7008.