Q. I have Medicare and have heard my Medicare coverage needs to be reviewed annually. Could you give me more information about this? Shelley in Conyers, GA

A. Great question! Medicare does have an annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period for the review of your plans which will begin October 15th and end December 7th. This opportunity is given to those with Medicare to take a look at their current coverage and make any changes desired for the upcoming year. Any changes made […]

Q: “My mom went alone to a recent visit with her general doctor and received a life-changing diagnosis. Her doctor of many years told her that she is demonstrating signs associated with the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease and started mom on a new medication. As I have done some internet research and have spoken to a few of my friends whose parents have dealt with the diagnosis, I do not feel that his diagnosis is correct for mom’s presenting symptoms. Is it wrong to question the doctor?” Judy from Lilburn, GA

A:  No. If you have doubts, fears, or questions – it is never wrong to request clarification from a physician. Physicians are merely people who make their best judgments about particular diagnoses based on their own education, training and experience – and opinions. Due to “human error,” there is always an unintentional potential for miscommunication, […]

Q: I have met many people in the senior care industry that claim to have a certificate in this (enter anything here) or have a certification in that (enter anything here). What is the difference between a certificate and a certification, and how can that help me to determine a person’s level of experience in the field of senior care? Marjorie from Lawrenceville, GA

A:  I would say the majority of the families that I have worked with are “new” to the world of senior options and are typically feeling very apprehensive about their own “lack” of knowledge.  Some experts will present a level of education, title, certification, or a certificate in a related field of study to promote […]

Q: Do you have to be a certain age to use the services of a Geriatric Care Manager? Gail W. from Marietta, GA

A: The short answer is no.  Tragic changes in healthcare status might generate a need for a GCM, such as an accident with a head or spinal injury, or possibly a stroke at a younger age. Care needs are the same no matter the age of the individual. There is also another situation where a […]

Q: Why would we need a GCM assessment? Couldn’t we just talk to our internist? Janet B. Dunwoody, GA

There are some important reasons a Geriatric Care Management (GCM) assessment is more valuable than talking with your doctor or internist.  We all know doctors can be overworked, get behind in their appointment schedules, and their time with each patient is short.  Medicare guidelines only allow for a 7-15 minute visit! Many times if you […]

Q: How can I help my 80 year old Mom stop hoarding? It’s beginning to be a safety issue! Jan G., Acworth, GA

Compulsive hoarding, is the excessive collection of items, along with the inability to discard them. Hoarding will soon be diagnosed as an anxiety disorder in the upcoming DSM-V. Though hoarding could affect anyone regardless of age, or gender, a recent study uncovered that most elderly hoarders were female, unmarried, and lived alone.  This may be […]

3/22/2013 Q: I have feelings of guilt every day that I should be a better caregiver. I keep asking “why?” questions from “why did this happen” to “why can’t I be more patient”. I go round and round with no answers. Is this normal? Louise H., Woodstock, GA

A: Many caregivers experience “caregiver guilt” so in a way it is normal in that it is not unusual at all. Your feelings are appropriate for you and there are ways to cope and refocus your thoughts to stay mentally healthy.  First, it’s important to examine if it is really guilt that you are feeling.  […]

3/11/2013 Q: I am exhausted and overwhelmed from being a fulltime caregiver for my father and resent not having any time for myself. Is there anything I can do to make things better? Carolyn P., Lawrenceville, GA

A: It is very important to put plans in place to ease your stress, anxiety, and even anger at all the responsibilities of being the primary caregiver.  You recognize you need help and reaching out is a good thing. First off, know you are not alone in how you feel.  As people live longer with […]

2/24/2013 Q: I think my elderly parents need help but my brothers, sisters and I can’t agree on how we should care for them. Can a Geriatric Care Manager help? Chuck S., Roswell, GA

A: Absolutely!  You have taken an essential first step in realizing your parents possibly need assistance.  Experience has shown that using a “wait and see” approach usually leads to a crisis situation.  At that point, critical decisions may be made in an emergency situation with fewer options available and emotions running high between family members.  […]

Do I have to use a Caregiver Agency? Couldn’t I just save a few bucks?

1/31/13 Q: Why would I need to use an agency to find a caregiver for my parents? Couldn’t I just save the extra cost by hiring privately? John S., Atlanta, GA A: The short answer is: You get what you pay for… The long answer has to do with protection, for you and your parents. […]