Whoever said, “getting older isn’t easy” certainly wasn’t lying. The marvels of modern medicine have helped us live longer, healthier lives. Still, it has also created a lot of complexity in the healthcare system. As we’ve lived longer and healthier lives, entire industries have formed to cater to a senior’s every desire and help them overcome every challenge – truly, there have never been more choices on how to age than there are right now.
Unfortunately, all of this has come at a cost. Seniors and family caregivers routinely report feeling overwhelmed and express a lack of confidence about the choices they’re being asked to make. These feelings often mean seniors put off important decisions that would help them live a better quality of life.
Table of Contents
- Shifting to Proactive Healthcare Management
- Geriatric Care Managers Guide Seniors Through the Aging Process
- Fostering Independence While Growing Older
- IKOR of Charlottesville’s Comprehensive Approach to Geriatric Care Management
- The Value of Hiring an IKOR of Charlottesville Geriatric Care Manager
It’s Time to be Proactive About Healthcare and Aging
Healthcare is historically reactive, treating ailments as they come up. But waiting until the point of an emergency is always less than ideal. Individuals who take a reactive approach tend to have worse health outcomes, spend more money on care, and experience increased stress and anxiety – both of which can lead to further health complications.
Being reactive hinders one from being in control of their situation. When a senior suddenly has a reason to need assisted living, for example, a reactive response can leave them feeling negative, hurt, and resentful. They may not adjust to their new living arrangements as well.
Studies have shown that seniors who are less proactive regarding their care are at greater risk for poor health outcomes, including depression. By taking a proactive approach, seniors can regain control of the decision-making process and improve their quality of life.
Proactive Healthcare Management Helps Seniors Live Better
By being proactive with potential healthcare decisions, seniors have a say in establishing the quality of life they see for themselves as they age. This is comforting for adult children as they are not left decisions based on assumptions of what their parents want.
For seniors and their families, proactive healthcare management can lead to:
- Fewer out of pocket medical expenses
- Better doctor/patient communication
- Improved independence
- Safer aging-in-place
- Increased access to senior-focused resources
We’re all familiar with the phrase “a good offense is the best defense,” and the same is true when it comes to one’s health. When selecting a professional to help a senior be proactive with their care, it is important to find a professional with the right training and experience.
Geriatric Care Managers – Expert Guides for Aging
Geriatric care managers are advocates for seniors and their families. Traditionally, an advocate thought of as a “supporter, believer, sponsor, promoter, campaigner, backer, or spokesperson.” A geriatric care manager is all of these. Their goal is to educate, support, and speak up for their clients. With a geriatric care manager at their side, seniors are empowered to make informed decisions about their care while planning ahead for future needs.
As healthcare becomes more complex, working with a professional to navigate the aging process can be highly beneficial. With a geriatric care manager, families focus on their loved ones while knowing a professional is handling the important details.
Respected Care Managers in Charlottesville
At IKOR of Charlottesville, our geriatric care managers are often thought of as surrogate sons or daughters because of the personal roles they take on. Our care managers are highly trained registered nurses who have a deep understanding of both the aging process and seniors’ unique needs.
While the aging process is new to the senior, our geriatric care managers have walked down this path with seniors and their families numerous times. Their knowledge gives seniors the upper hand over aging as they navigate a fragmented healthcare system and deal with the other nuances of growing old.
IKOR’s geriatric care managers take time to get to know each client to understand how they want to age. The geriatric care manager then leads the rest of the IKOR life care management team to help the client accomplish their aging and healthcare goals. Working together, our team brings peace of mind to seniors who are aging alone or are aging without the support of family in the Charlottesville area.
Connecting Clients to Resources and Fostering Independence
Today, there is an abundance of resources, and many, many options when it comes to aging. With so many options, filtering out the noise and finding the relevant information can be challenging. Geriatric care managers take this burden off of seniors and their families by answering questions, offering guidance, connecting to resources, and advocating.
While our geriatric care managers can take on many roles, often they will help:
- Foster independence
- Manage overall health
- Explain complex situations
- Monitor medications and treatment plans
- Conduct assessments
- Create care plans
- Coordinate care and medical services
- Attend medical appointments
- Make referrals
- Evaluate living arrangements
- Explain insurance benefits
- Monitor mental health
- Provide quality assurance
- Find ways to save on costs
Our Comprehensive Approach to Care Management
Every day, our geriatric care managers help foster independence, ensure safety, and play an integral role in helping our clients age on their own terms. Our care managers are specially trained registered nurses with years of clinical and management experience. Backed by our life care management team, IKOR geriatric care managers have an unmatched knowledge of the aging process. They stand ready to help their clients with any need.
Manage Overall Care
Communication between medical specialists, primary care physicians, and patients is consistently identified as a barrier to better healthcare. A geriatric care manager acts as the hub for our client’s healthcare needs, ensuring all care team members are on the same page. The care manager ensures that:
- Information is shared between providers
- Patient and family questions are adequately answered
- All treatment options are explored
- Any in-home care services are delivered in a way that’s consistent with our client’s care plan.
Most importantly, because our geriatric care managers are registered nurses, they can assume the role of patient advocate on a moment’s notice.
Attend Medical Appointments
Our care managers can also attend appointments in the Charlottesville area so that there is someone present to help answer the provider’s questions, ask follow-up questions, and explain things that might not be understood.
Make Referrals to Trusted Providers
It is our job to know who’s who in the Charlottesville area. From recommending a contractor for a home repair job to helping our clients find the right in-home care provider, our life care management team takes the guesswork out of hiring help.
Unlike many other providers, IKOR can also assist with insurance benefits, recommend attorneys, financial planners, and many other providers who can help ensure our client’s financial health is strong.
Evaluate Living Options
Safe living arrangements are a key consideration for seniors, and geriatric care management ensures the best living arrangements can be found. When making recommendations, our geriatric care managers will consider the level of care required and the client’s personal preferences and personality when recommending communities. From CCRCs to assisted living communities to specialized memory care communities, we help our clients find the best living options for their needs.
For seniors wishing to age in place, our geriatric care managers will ensure safety and comfort are put above all else. First, we start with a home assessment looking at everything from rugs that could create a tripping hazard to doorknobs and faucets that may be hard to turn. Should home modifications be necessary, IKOR’s life care management team can gather bids from qualified contractors and see the modifications through to the very end.
Promote Healthy Emotional Well-being
As seniors age, mobility and transportation can limit their interactions with family and friends, leaving them feeling lonely and isolated. Our geriatric care managers help their clients stay connected with those they love and help them stay engaged and active in the community. When transportation is a limiting factor, IKOR Transport, a sister company to IKOR of Charlottesville, can make getting around town easy and carefree.
Grief and loss are part of aging. The passing of a dear friend or spouse can easily take an emotional toll on a senior. Our patient advocates can help seniors and their families through grief’s journey. When needed, we can recommend qualified behavioral health counselors.
Watch for Medical Billing Errors
No one likes overpaying or paying for services they didn’t receive. Still, according to Healthline, medical errors occur on up to 80% of U.S. medical bills. Geriatric care managers know how to read medical bills and an insurance company’s statement of benefits to ensure billing errors get corrected and that our clients take advantage of every insurance benefit they’re entitled to receive.
One of the most important roles of a geriatric care manager is fostering independence and helping clients age on their terms. We help our clients maintain their independence by proactively managing their healthcare, ensuring they are comfortable and safe in their home, and planning for future needs. Along the way, we work to address the root cause of any challenges our clients face and watch for subtle changes that tend to indicate a problem may be lurking around the corner.
Support Family Members
For adult children who are busy raising their own families while balancing a career or living outside of the Charlottesville area, a geriatric care manager provides an expert set of eyes to ensure their parents are receiving the care and assistance they need. Through IKOR’s family portal, it is easy for family members to stay informed about their parents’ well-being.
For family caregivers, a geriatric care manager can connect them to resources to ease the burden of caregiving. Professional assessments can prioritize needs and create a caregiving schedule to lessen feelings of being overwhelmed. Geriatric care managers will make sure that family caregivers are practicing self-care and can arrange respite care allowing family members to recharge without feeling guilty about being away.
The Value of Hiring a Geriatric Care Manager
Today’s healthcare system offers more options for seniors than ever before. Our healthcare system is also more fragmented than at any time in our past. These two factors combine to create what many often refer to as the “healthcare maze.” A geriatric care manager understands the healthcare system and the available resources to support seniors as they age. They are patient advocates ensuring that clients receive the care they need and understand all of their options.
By ensuring that care is coordinated between providers, that questions are fully answered, and that care plans are followed, our clients lead healthier lives, have better healthcare outcomes, and spend less money on healthcare.
Beyond healthcare, geriatric care managers have a wealth of knowledge about the aging process enabling them to help their clients be prepared for future needs.
Why Choose IKOR of Charlottesville?
When looking for a firm with expertise in geriatric care management services, IKOR of Charlottesville is recognized as the gold standard of life care management services. Our team goes beyond healthcare and includes fiduciary services providing a holistic approach to aging.
Our life care management team consists of a social worker, registered nurses, a licensed insurance broker, bookkeeper, and personal needs coordinators. A managing director oversees the entire team, ensuring effective communication and collaboration between team members. Each member of IKOR’s team brings their unique experience and perspective to the case enabling us to provide a level of service and insight that is unparalleled in the Charlottesville area.
Get an Aging Expert in Your Corner Today
Aging is a nuanced process filled with opportunities and challenges. IKOR’s geriatric care management team helps you prepare for tomorrow while enjoying today.
Our comprehensive approach to geriatric care management makes us unique in the Charlottesville area. With IKOR, seniors get a geriatric care manager supported by a team of senior-focused life care managers.
For more information on IKOR of Charlottesville, call us today at 434-202-8887.