This weeks blog post was generously provided by Trish Colucci, a NJ State Registered Nurse with additional certifications in Gerontological Nursing and Case Management. Trish is the Owner of Peace of Mind Care Management Solutions, LLC.
You can learn more about Trish and her services on her website peaceofmindcare.com.
The healthier we are, the more medical technology advances, the more and more we'll be confronted with the inevitability of caring for an aging population.
I've had a long held belief that the nursing home system in America will at some point fall by the way side. My sense is that the financial havoc that ravages families will be stopped, either by law or by its own obsolescence. What will ultimately render that system obsolete will be the need, the desire if not the demand that our aged and infirmed be provided for at home.
What that will portend for families is a maelstrom of issues, concerns, and desires.
Let's hear what an expert who is providing the care that we all would love to have, has to say about the reality of the situation as it stands today.
Not everyone knows what a “Geriatric Care Manager” is...as a matter of fact, few people do. However, when family members facing a care crisis with a loved one learn about the services a geriatric care manager can provide, they are relieved to hear that there is a professional upon whom they can rely to lead them out of the tangle.
“Mom isn’t taking her medications correctly, she’s forgetting to eat, she’s not showering, her house is a disorganized mess, and I don’t think she should be driving anymore.” That’s a pretty typical situation for which families reach out to a geriatric care manager. But how can a stranger come into a scenario like this and make a difference?
It is a really tough job to be the adult son or daughter of a parent with dementia. It doesn’t matter how old the adult child is...their parents generally don’t like a flip of the relationship dynamic which puts the child in charge of the parent. The best thing that adult children can do for themselves and for their parent is to bring in the services of a professional.
As a care manager, I am the “objective third party.” When I meet with a new client, I am given the opportunity to develop a brand-new relationship with the older adult, one not based on a long relationship history. When called into a testy care situation for an assessment, I work hardest on building that relationship as a trusting and respectful one. I let clients know that I am there to help but that their opinion is important too. No one, at any age, or with any cognitive issue, wants to feel a loss of all decision-making capability.
At my initial assessment of a new client, I look to see where he/she needs support and assistance as well as the areas where there is still successful function, and develop blended solutions whenever possible.
For instance, perhaps Mom can still remember when it’s time to take her medication if someone can set the pills up in a weekly pill box so she doesn’t have to scramble pills out of individual prescription bottles a few times a day. Maybe Dad is willing to take a shower if he has a chair to sit on and someone available to assist him with getting into the shower safely.
Sometimes the older adult is defensive, worried, feeling powerless, embarrassed, and isn’t willing to allow me into the home. I love those challenges! Sweeping changes are rarely tolerated, so I enter the situation carefully and proceed lovingly and slowly. I try never to miss an opportunity to get a foothold where I can make more progress to make the client safer while working simultaneously on building that essential trusting relationship.
As a certified geriatric care manager, I am trained and experienced in working with the frail elderly, the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled client. I am an expert at reading care situations and recommending the most appropriate and affordable resources for ensuring the best care. It took years to get Mom or Dad to the point at which they need help, and it takes time, resources, and patience to get things back on track. I know what resource to bring in at what time.
Meeting with a harried, mentally exhausted family is one of my favorite things because I know there is always something I can do to make their load lighter, their concerns less worrisome, their parent safer. With a geriatric care manager taking the lead, families can help their loved ones accept the care they need while also providing them a better, safer quality of life. Providing “Peace of Mind” is what I’m all about!