Geriatric Care Manager Career Training and Salary

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As caregivers and families cope with the overwhelming stress of caring for a loved one, a new profession, that of the Geriatric Care Manager is cropping up. A Geriatric Care Manager can help families who are caring for older relatives. What to become one? Here is what a geriatric care manager job description looks like.

The Geriatric Care Manager plans and coordinates the care of the elderly to improve their quality of life and to maintain their independence. He/she is trained in any of several fields including nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and eldercare. Think of a geriatric care manager as an advocate for seniors.

What Does a Care Manager Do?

Geriatric Care Managers serve as stand-in providers when families cannot be around. They can be helpful in:

  • Conducting care-planning assessments to identify needs.
  • Putting a care plan together; executing that plan.
  • Screening, arranging and monitoring in-home help.
  • Acting as a liaison to families at a distance.
  • Assisting with moving their clients to or from different care settings.
  • Reviewing financial, legal, or medical issues and referring clients to experts.
  • Providing crisis intervention.
  • Providing client and family education.
  • Visiting clients on a regular, routine basis to make sure they are safe, doing well, eating properly, and taking needed medications.
  • Making necessary medical appointments and the assuring client gets to them.
  • Identifying agencies and/or social services and other programs that the client can avail.
  • Monitoring the elder’s finances and paying bills.

Education and Training

Education and training for this profession vary as people come upon it from different paths. So you can find people with various master’s degrees such as in social work, gerontology, psychology, or business administration.

Certain states may require licensing or certification for individuals working in private practice. And you may need to be bonded if working with clients’ finances.

Of course, there is the intangible piece of this work and that is having compassion for seniors and a passion for wanting to work with them. Experience working with the elderly is essential. If you don’t have it then consider the following:

  • Join trade associations. Read their journals and attend conferences.
  • Find an experienced geriatric care manager who could be a mentor.
  • Obtain experience working with the elderly by volunteering in nursing homes, extended care facilities, skilled nursing units of hospitals, or senior citizen centers.

Who Hires a Geriatric Care Manager?

If you are seeking full-time employment and not going on your own then home care organizations, hospitals, and private geriatric care management firms will be interested in you. Especially as healthcare reform rolls out, care coordination is going to be the key to success for healthcare organizations.

If you are considering self-employment, client sources could include:

  • Families and adult children of relatives too far away
  • Banks and trust officers
  • Physicians and allied health professionals
  • Attorneys
  • Hospitals
  • Social service providers
  • Gerontology professionals
  • Senior housing communities

Where’s the Money?

Geriatric Care Managers can earn $85,000 or more annually depending on the specific job as well as the individual’s education, experience, responsibilities, and geographic location. If self-employed, you could get paid in a number of ways — a flat fee for a project, an hourly rate, or a monthly retainer. Fees can range from approximately $25 for handling a simple project to $250 or more per hour for more complex tasks.

Geriatric Care Managers offer something else for the client — the peace of mind that comes with knowing a loved one is being taken care of properly.

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