Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘chronic conditions’

Photo: Peggy Clark

I really admire my parents. Even in their 70s they are more active than many twenty-somethings I know.

They walk three miles together nearly every day, which means jumping on the treadmill during harsh Wisconsin winters.

My mother regularly attends exercise classes, and my dad is Mr. Outdoorsman regardless of the season.

I’m very thankful they are blessed with good health, but I often think about the day when they will require help attending to their healthcare.

For me, the hardest part of that scenario is living 2,000 miles away and being unable to be as hands-on as much as they may need. As mobile professionals, you too can understand the frustrations of being away from loved ones in need.

According to the American Society on Aging, approximately 100 million people deal with chronic conditions and nearly 25 percent of all households care for a family member age 50 or older. Now think about how those numbers will escalate as baby boomers age and require more services.

More and more of us will become caregivers for loved ones.

But you don’t have to permanently unpack in order to become involved. Of course, ideally, family members and trusted friends living close by could pitch in, but there are experts who can advocate in your place if that’s not a viable option.

A Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) is typically a nurse or social worker trained to address the multifaceted nature of elder care. They assess individuals’ physical and psychological well-being, address family dynamics, and connect people to local resources. In fact, GCMs are very well connected with senior centers, assisted living facilities, home care organizations, and other local experts including financial and legal advisors.

GCMs also stay current with clients’ lives, so they notice when subtle changes might indicate something larger at play, or when extra services or attention is required. They can be your eyes and ears on the scene.

So how do you find a Geriatric Care Manager? The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers has compiled a membership database. Just type your zip code, city, or state into its Find a Care Manager Search engine. The results supply you with names, contact information, and areas of expertise for local geriatric care managers.

For now, I value my parents’ vitality because it allows them to enjoy their hobbies and interests. At the same time, it’s reassuring to know that a trained advocate is available for us when needed.

Special thanks to Andrea Gallagher at Senior Concerns.

Anne Baye Ericksen is a freelance writer based in Simi Valley, Calif.

Read Full Post »