Thank you so much for your question!
Often families will call us when they are stuck between the frantic responsibilities of their own lives and dealing with the tasks and needs of being a caregiver to their loved ones. It becomes an extremely difficult balancing act between work and children and a loved one with declining health who needs daily coordination of involved services and resources. We also get many calls when it is an ABSOLUTE crisis medically. These calls are literally from the side of the hospital bed, the skilled nursing facility with a looming discharge, or when the caregiver is in absolute tears with just having had “enough”!
These crisis times are very difficult for families. In these situations, choosing to hire a Geriatric Care Manager is a “no brainer”! The Geriatric Care Manager helps to release and relieve the caregiver’s immediate stress by absorbing as much as possible. They will prioritize needs and manage their loved one’s care efficiently and successfully. This, in turn, provides relief to the whole family system because everyone is receiving better care and attention (including the overstressed caregiver)!
However, it is different when things are not “on fire” (crisis state) or the caregiver has more time such as through retirement or after the summer when children are back in school. There is a natural tendency for the caregiver to want to absorb the responsibilities of the management of their loved one’s needs. They want to use that increased available time in an attempt to do what is needed on their own. Yes, I could see where this might make sense for a few of the tasks and the “free” time would be helpful in having more time to spend on caregiving tasks.
What we typically notice is that the caregiver is often truly wasting their precious time and energy. They stumble through things that surface and become unnecessarily overwhelmed. This leads to a much higher risk of inappropriate decisions in the unknown world of senior care. Caregivers often find they are dealing with things where they have no familiarity or experience.
Homecare, hospice, Medicare, medications, constant forms, new doctors and appointments, diagnoses, and even more can make a caregiver’s head spin! As caregivers just do their best to react to what is thrown at them, we find it is not long before they find the situation is “on fire”. They realize a majority of their energy and free time has been spent before the crisis has even occurred.
Thus, just because the time is available for the caregiver does not mean that it should be poorly or ineffectively used. The Geriatric Care Manager brings a level of clinical strength, skills, and support. The use of services both within and outside of crisis can greatly reduce overall stress, conserve the energy of the caregiver, and most adequately balance the needs of the entire family system.