Senior Case Management: When to Call in the Professionals

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Aging brings a multitude of changes, and many of them are positive. A difference perspective, increased patience and wisdom, and the blessings of family may all be part of growing older. Other changes, however, can be more difficult to cope with. Everyday tasks such as housekeeping, cooking, driving, and even performing self-care may become more challenging.

Many times, it’s possible to help a senior loved one transition into these changes with ease. You come over a few times a week to help with cooking or cleaning, have a home health aide a few hours a day, and transport your senior wherever they need to go. But over time that may not be enough as your loved one needs increasing amounts of help, or their medical situation gets more complicated. If that happens, you both might benefit from what the industry calls case management.

Who benefits from senior case management?

The circumstances under which individuals need senior case management can vary. However, consider them for the following scenarios:

  • Your senior has limited support from their family, or none at all
  • The senior’s family wants to help, but needs to know the best way to do it
  • The senior has multiple or complicated medical, psychological, financial, or legal issues
  • The senior’s health is at risk if they remain in their present living situation
  • Family members are overwhelmed and frustrated with the need to provide constant care
  • Family member have limited knowledge of the patient’s condition and needs, medical or otherwise
  • Family members disagree about which care solutions are best for the senior
  • The senior themselves wants a change in care providers, but is unsure how to secure them
  • The senior lacks understanding about their housing, medical, financial, or legal situation
  • The senior exhibits signs of dementia, and requires help in coping
  • The family and/or senior wishes to discuss long-term options

What can senior case management services do for you and your loved one?

Senior case managers are trained to perform many different roles, but one of their chief ones is to present options to the senior and their family and help them make decisions. They will often meet individuals in their homes, including the senior’s, to make consultations as convenient as possible. They educate the interested parties about what services are available, making referrals and connections when needed. Their care and concern doesn’t end with initial or follow-up meetings. Many programs offer continued monitoring to make sure the senior is meeting their goals, or to help if a change in plan is required.

A few of the more common services case managers offer includes:

  • Comprehensive assessments and individualized care plans for each client
  • Coordination of medical care and medical appointment escorts
  • Home safety evaluations
  • Coordination of in-home care, housekeeping, and meal service
  • Long-term care planning

Senior case managers are special people

It takes a special kind of person to become a senior case manager, and there are myriad reasons why. Case managers can be highly educated and may hold advanced degrees in gerontology, social work, or nursing. They are knowledgeable about community resources that the client may not be aware of, as well as how to access these services. When a client is unable to speak for themselves, or family members are unable to speak on their behalf, case managers often take up the role of advocate.

Is it time to think about senior case management services?

If you recognize yourself or your elderly loved one in any of scenarios regarding “who needs senior case management,” it may be time to consider investigating the resources available in your community. Some individuals are cautious about inviting another person to be part of their healthcare team. However, case managers can be both allies and assets when it comes to supporting your senior. It’s the case manager’s job to make sure you know all the options available to you.

If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff — including a robust team of case managers — at the Institute on Aging is available to help you. Contact us to find out more.

 

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