A Geriatric Care Manager (or Senior Care Advisor) plans and coordinates the care of the elderly to improve quality of life and help maintain independence. A typical manager would have been trained in any of several fields including nursing, gerontology, social work and/or psychology.
Geriatric Care Managers serve as stand-in advocates for seniors when families are not readily available or located in different states. They can be helpful in conducting care planning assessments, executing a care plan, monitoring in-home care, assisting with moving clients, reviewing financials, providing crisis intervention, making medical appointments and visiting seniors regularly to ensure safety and overall contentment.
Geriatric care management is a transdisciplinary field, embracing medicine, psychology, ethics, financial planning, and business administration. Given the physical and mental challenges facing the growing geriatric population, a career as a geriatric care manager also requires patience, understanding, and empathy.
Often care managers start out working for a variety of care related facilities such as home-care organizations, hospitals and private geriatric care management firms. After accruing necessary hands-on experience, many care managers obtain certifications and go on to open their own management businesses. Those that do choose to venture out on their own, source potential clients from out of state families, banks/trust officers, physicians, attorneys, hospitals, social service providers and assisted living facilities. Specialized directories, such as SeniorCareHelper.com, can also be instrumental in helping find potential clients from all over the country.
The tasks required of geriatric care managers, from offering advice to seniors making difficult life decisions to management of a multi-level healthcare facility for the aged, have become increasingly complex and require specialized training. Dealing with complex and interrelated issues affecting the geriatric population and navigating a thicket of regulations are difficult tasks that require mastery of many disciplines.
As long as the mean age of the world population continues to increase and the average individual’s lifespan lengthens, the demand for geriatric care managers will continue to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) predicts much-faster-than-average growth for the employment of geriatric care managers from 2019-2029, at 20%.
Currently, you do not need a license to work as a Geriatric Care Manager. That said, becoming a care manager often involves licensure in some related health or human services field, for example, social work or nursing. Clients and employers tend to look for these credentials. 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.
Voluntary certification can be a valuable asset when either looking for work or starting your own business in the field. Certain states may require licensing or certification for individuals working in private practice. And you may need to be bonded if working with client finances.
If you choose to become certified you will want to make sure that certification comes from an institution that is nationally recognized. The three main bodies of certification are The National Academy of Certified Care Managers (NACCM), The Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC) and The National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Click below to review all the requirements for each.
Care Manager Certified – CMC
Certified Case Manager – CCM
In order to meet the current aging population’s needs, Geriatric Care Managers must be skilled, knowledgeable and competent. By becoming certified in the industry, you are giving greater assurance that you have the knowledge and skills necessary for the tasks at hand and have demonstrated a certain level of professionalism. Remember that you will be working directly with the most valuable members of each client’s family.
Geriatric Care Managers can earn $85k or more annually, depending on level of education, experience, responsibilities and geographic location. If you are in a private practice you could get paid in a number of ways – a flat fee for a project, an hourly rate, a monthly retainer or substantial referral fees from all levels of senior living; including assisted living facilities, nursing homes, memory care centers and hospice. Building referral relationships in the industry can be critical to building a successful management business.
Most importantly, 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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