We all know the importance of independence for ourselves.  An elderly person, even one with Dementia, feels no differently.  Although it is unsure what a person with Dementia may be thinking or absorbing, they usually make it quite obvious when they are shown a lack of respect for, or recognition of, their needs.  For this population, it is especially difficult for them to make their needs known to others but it is of great importance nevertheless.
One living in their own home or place of residence that they are familiar and content with, should be sustained for as long as safely possible, to aid in their desire for independence.
The assistance of a Geriatric Care Manager (GCM), allows a person to live in their own, familiar environment for a longer period of time than if the elderly person tries to maintain their lifestyle by themselves or by the help of long distance family or even family that may be local but is unfamiliar with the actual needs of the elder person and/or the resources by which to fulfill these needs.
GCM’s are experienced in addressing the complex needs of the elderly, which are ever-changing.  When a GCM visits the client on a weekly basis, or more frequently if needed, it provides for a more effective assessment and accurate measurement of the client’s current wellbeing.
Care management, along with continued communication among family members, gives everyone involved, a clear picture of the status of the client and what additions or changes to their care needs would be indicated.
Remember, the elderly person will try to hold back in telling family members about their condition.  This is another form of their wanting to maintain their independence.  They feel that if they are too much of a burden to their family, in any way, or if they become worrisome to their family, that they will be ‘sent away’ to a nursing home or facility where their independence will be taken from them.  However, when a GCM visits the client on a regular basis, a trust is formed and the client feels more freedom in expressing how they are doing, along with the GCM seeing for themselves, the true condition of the client.
If the time comes when a client does enter: a group home, an independent living community, assisted living community, skilled nursing community, or memory care community, the GCM continues to be an advocate for the client among the community’s staff and other healthcare professionals.  The previous needs of the client will still need to be addressed by the GCM, such as: the client’s health status and medical oversight as well as their emotional, social, physical, and financial issues, and their level of cognitive functioning.
The various communities available, usually do a wonderful job of keeping the client clean, safe, nourished, and offer as much as possible regarding the clients need for social interaction.  However, most communities are extremely short staffed and do not have the time to address each and every client on an individual basis in a consistent manner.  Some of the client’s more personal needs, that would normally be addressed by the family must still be met.  This is where the GCM comes in.  A trusted GCM can address these issues for the client and for their family.  The GCM would be hired by the family as an advocate for them and for their loved one.
A GCM is also an advocate for these communities.  At times, the communities may notice that a client should be seen by an outside physician or feel that the client may benefit by the use of special medical equipment.  This would be brought to the attention of the GCM.  The GCM, after discussing with the family, will carry out the recommendation for the client and for the family.  The GCM also helps to insure cohesiveness among everyone involved, never losing sight of the big picture…maintaining the health, well-being, safety and independence of this very precious loved one in your life.