Have you ever faced a situation when you’ve asked yourself, “What is a geriatric care manager?”
In the realm of senior care, few roles are as pivotal yet often misunderstood as that of the geriatric care manager.
Geriatric care managers are unsung heroes navigating the intricate maze of elderly care, ensuring our loved ones receive the best possible attention tailored to their unique needs.
- But what exactly does a geriatric care manager do?
- Why might you or your family require one?
The Senior Soup‘s comprehensive deep-dive into geriatric care management will unveil precisely what aging life care managers do, who hires them, and how they can guide families through the aging abyss.
The Benefits of Hiring a Geriatric Care Manager
Seabury Resources for Aging’s community relations manager, Jennifer Brown, joined Raquel Micit and Ryan Ryan on The Senior Soup Podcast Get to provide Maryland families with insight on choosing the proper support and finding peace of mind.
Jennifer discussed the care management services that Seabury Resources for Aging offers older adults in Maryland and throughout the DMV and when families should consider contacting a care manager for help.
The care management field began locally about thirty years ago.
It is a specialty area of licensed social workers available to assist older adults and their families with various care, social, and housing needs.
- Geriatric care managers (aging life care managers) are hired to provide the same care and support that a next of kin would do for an older adult with no next of kin or a family far away.
- Care managers develop care plans to connect older adults and their families with home care agencies, primary care physicians, specialists, therapists, elder law attorneys, daily money managers, house cleaning services, and many other resources.
- Aging life care managers also advocate for older adults, ensuring their needs and safety are considered. They help mediate and arbitrate between family members who may have different opinions about the best course of action for an older adult.
About Seabury Resources For Aging | Geriatric Care Managers in Maryland
Seabury Resources for Aging is a Washington, D.C.-based not-for-profit organization that has existed since 1924.
The organization was initially founded to provide a residential home for women, and they have a legacy of working with faith communities to support seniors.
Seabury Resources for Aging provides care management services to help older adults manage their medical prescriptions and other needs.
In 2024, Seabury Resources will celebrate its 100th birthday – and they’re throwing a big party in Washington, D.C.!
Call Jennifer Brown today at (202) 640-0200 Seabury Resources for Aging and learn how a geriatric care manager can help your aging loved one.
How to Choose a Geriatric Case Manager?
Choosing the right geriatric case manager or geriatric care management company is crucial for ensuring your loved one receives the best care.
Here are some factors to consider when selecting a geriatric case manager:
- Experience: Look for a compassionate geriatric case manager with several years of experience working with older adults and their families.
- Credentials: Ensure that the geriatric case manager is well-credentialed, a licensed social worker, or has a certification in geriatric care management.
- References: Ask for references from the geriatric case manager’s past clients and check online reviews.
- Communication: Choose a geriatric case manager who communicates effectively with you and your loved one.
- Cost: Consider the cost of the geriatric case management services and whether they are covered by insurance or other programs.
Cost Implications and Financial Support
Jennifer Brown shed light on the financial aspects of hiring a geriatric care manager.
The typical hourly rate for a care manager ranges between $155 to $175. These rates are transparently broken into five-minute increments.
Some care management organizations may offer financial support.
When first contacting a geriatric care management company, ask if the offer financial support.
Seabury’s care management component, for example, with its roots in aiding those in need, provides subsidies for clients who cannot afford the standard hourly rates, ensuring they don’t miss out on essential care.
Collaborations and Third-Party Payments
Seabury has partnerships with entities like St. Mary’s Court and the MS Society.
These organizations can cover the fees for seniors who can’t pay out-of-pocket, ensuring they receive necessary care.
Geriatric Care Managers In Maryland | Seabury Resources For Aging Podcast Transcript
0:00:00: Raquel Micit
Welcome to The Senior Soup Podcast, the DMV’s senior resource hub and the premier senior advocacy platform.
My name is Raquel Micit.
0:00:08: Ryan Miner
And I’m Ryan Miner.
0:00:09: Raquel Micit
The soup of the day is geriatric care management, also known as aging life care management.
Our special guest is Jennifer Brown, who works for Seabury Resources for Aging.
Hi, Jennifer. So happy to have you on today.
0:00:23: Jennifer Brown
Raquel and Ryan, it’s a real pleasure to be with you this morning, and I really appreciate you inviting me to the podcast.
0:00:29: Ryan Miner
We’re glad you’re here to talk about one of the biggest components in older adults – helping them manage their lives and getting them the right resources, which is what this podcast is all about.
0:00:41 Raquel Micit
Keeping it all in order.
So I’m excited to hop right in!
So Jennifer, tell us about yourself, your background, and what your role is at Seabury.
0:00:49: Jennifer Brown
So, I’ve been fifty plus years in the healthcare industry.
I have a bachelor’s and Master’s in psychology, but I am not an aging life care manager.
I’m the community relations manager for Seabury Resources for Aging, and I do business development, outreach, and communications and presentations similar to our podcast today.
I’ve worked locally in the older adult space for over twenty years, fifteen of which were in CCRCs (continuing care retirement communities).
0:01:19: Ryan Miner
What services does Seabury Resources Care Management offer, and when is the appropriate time for someone to reach out to a care manager?
0:01:30: Jennifer Brown
Well, Ryan, the field of care management is relatively new.
It started locally about thirty years ago, and it is a specialty area of licensed social workers who are available to assist older adults and their families in all aspects of care needs, social needs, and housing needs for older adults.
So they are able to age in place, they’re able to thrive, they’re able to have a high quality of life as they advance in years.
When To Hire A Geriatric Care Manager
0:02:02 Jennifer Brown
To be very specific, a care manager can be hired for a whole host of tasks, assignments, and responsibilities.
It’s defined by the client, by either the older adult themselves and or in concert with their family members.
The simplest way to describe it is a care manager functions like a next of kin.
When next of kin is unavailable on the behalf of an older adult, if they have no next of kin, they have no family, or in the cases where there is a very loving and caring family, but they are great distances away.
0:02:34: Jennifer Brown
We provide support and conduct all the functions that a next of kin would do for an older adult.
0:02:39: Raquel Micit
So let’s roll out a real scenario.
Say a family member reaches out to you and is interested in your services.
Walk us through the process.
What does it look like step by step, from the initial consult to the assessment?
And what does the assessment consist of for the continuous management of them?
Seabury Resources for Aging Intake Process
0:02:57: Jennifer Brown
I’m going to speak a little bit about how Seabury operates.
It’s fairly similar to other care management practices across the DMV.
The initial inquiry will come via email and telephone contact. It is more often the adult child rather than the older adult, but it’s not one way or another.
I’m initially the first point of contact, and I will talk with the individual, set up a virtual meeting or phone conference, or in certain cases, even a first meeting in person to learn about what the situation is, to understand what the needs are, to get an appreciation for their circumstances and how a care manager can help support them.
We’ll discuss what we do, how we do it, what the fees are, and what our business relationship would be going forward.
0:03:45: Jennifer Brown
And then, if the family wishes to engage us, then there’s some initial paperwork to get started.
Seabury Care Management will match a licensed social worker with that older adult to help them navigate, negotiate, and advocate for their care needs as the situation warrants.
0:04:02: Ryan Miner
There are so many resources available.
For example, there’s Amada Senior Care, which provides home care services – Raquel!
0:04:11: Raquel Micit
Best home care agency out there in Montgomery County!
0:04:14: Ryan Miner
I think so, I think so!
And then Ennoble Care –we provide home-based primary care.
When care managers are working with older adult clients, how do they differentiate between the resources, and how do they show or tell the clients about the resources?
And how does all of that work? What’s the process like?
Seabury Resources for Aging Initial Meeting With The Client & Families
0:04:32: Jennifer Brown
If a family engages a care manager, the first step after the business front end is completed is for the social worker to meet with the older adult and do a fairly thorough assessment and evaluation, which will produce a care plan.
And that’s based on the goals and objectives of the older adult and their needs and their circumstances.
And one thing that’s critical for the relationship’s success is that the older adult sees the care manager as an advocate for them: they’re in their corner; they’re looking out for the older adult’s best interest.
0:05:08: Raquel Micit
I love that!
0:05:09: Jennifer Brown
And they’re not just showing up to deliver a message from their daughter in California.
When we engage with the family, that’s one of the things we really try to articulate – that as much as we’re trying to work with the family as a whole and support and engage with the entire family, its safety, well-being and the quality of life of the older adult that we’re focused on.
We assess the situation; we evaluate their circumstances.
We look at comprehensive factors in terms of their health, their physical needs, their psychological needs, their emotional needs, and in that assessment and the development of that care plan, we’re going to engage home care agencies; we’re going to contact Amada [Senior Care], and we’re going to say, we have a client that needs home support because of the following reasons and circumstances.
And then, we would introduce the home care agency to the older adult and/or their family members to set up specific services geared to their needs.
Those needs can be four hours, eight hours a day, twelve hours a day, and twenty-four hours a day, based on what’s required for the safety and well-being of the older adult.
Contact Amada Senior Care at (301) 701-3511 to learn more about the best home care options in Montgomery County.
Home-Based Primary Care In Maryland
0:06:20: Jennifer Brown
In a group like Ennoble Care, we often interface with primary care physicians, specialists, therapists, and all allied medical health professionals.
And we will run into situations where the older adult has not been in primary care for a long time: Their primary care physician has been long retired, their primary care physician is not in practice, and the older adult needs a new set of medical professionals.
And that older adult may or may not be able to go to a physician’s office on a regular basis.
We would invite Ennoble Care to meet with the family, meet with the older adult, and bring those primary care medical services into their living environment to help maintain their health and well-being.
Call Ennoble Care today to learn more about doctor house calls in Maryland at (240) 203-7172.
We’ll do this with elder law attorneys, we will do this with daily money managers, we will do this with house cleaning services, and we will do this with delivery services.
It’s a comprehensive view of the needs of the older adult, and then the care plan and the related services are specific to the needs and circumstances of that older adult in their home.
0:07:27: Raquel Micit
I bet there are a lot of people out there that don’t know about these services, and this is one thing where the investment would be well worth it.
What I come across often at a home care agency is the families having a hard time bringing all the pieces together, coordinating appointments among healthcare physicians, and home health – elder law attorneys get involved; it’s too much.
It becomes so overwhelming for them.
So you guys really step in here, serve as their advocate, and manage their day-to-day to ensure they’re continuing to thrive in a healthy environment.
0:08:00: Jennifer Brown
Yes, you’ve summarized that very well!
The circumstances for every older adult are unique, although they’re common elements as we age, and what we see is as we age, there are more demands on healthcare providers.
We have chronic illnesses; we have emerging health conditions; we lose some mobility; we lose other skills as we age.
And it is overwhelming for the older adult, and it can be overwhelming for the well-meaning next of kin, whether they are local or they’re halfway across the country.
0:08:33: Jennifer Brown
In our healthcare system, the reality is it’s very complicated to navigate.
It’s very multifaceted.
There are all kinds of insurance issues and private pay issues.
0:08:42: Raquel Micit
You’re being so nice about it, too.
0:08:44: Jennifer Brown
Well, I’ve lived in the healthcare industry literally for fifty years, and I’ve been on all sides of it – in the acute care environment, the long-term care environment, and the specialist environment.
For trained professionals, it’s a challenge to navigate and negotiate.
For the average consumer, it’s a maze that is hard to crack at best.
0:09:05: Raquel Micit
We always call it the senior care maze.
It’s one that I don’t think anybody could ever be prepared for – but that’s why we’re getting the word out there to help our generation be more prepared and see what will be the best investment for them, too.
Because this is exactly it.
I hate to use the word burden, but at the same time, the burden always does fall on the adult children, typically, or the next of kin, as you said.
For services like yours, it could make things so much happier and easier.
0:09:35: Raquel Micit
When we have these larger families, talk to us about that.
When you have these larger families wanting to get a word in, how often do you communicate?
What does that look like?
0:09:44: Jennifer Brown
Every family has its own dynamics and its own personalities.
And to be blunt, everybody brings a little baggage to the party.
0:09:52: Raquel Micit
Yeah, it’s a good way of putting it.
What Does A Care Manager Do?
0:09:54: Jennifer Brown
In Maryland, geriatric care managers are often mediators or arbitrators.
Now, we’re not mediators or arbitrators by training or profession, especially with extended family who are across the country and sometimes across the globe, out of the country.
Everyone feels a great deal of responsibility, connection, and emotion toward their mother or father, and they want the best for their mother and father.
They always don’t have the same opinion or perspective on what the best is.
0:10:24: Jennifer Brown
The care manager’s role is to help educate all of the stakeholders – try and give them an understanding and insight into the unique circumstances of their mother or father, the older adult, and their loved one, and help them get comfortable with a course of action that is in the best interest of the older adult.
This probably plays out the most when we’re talking about cognitive loss.
It’s a very difficult circumstance for the older adult if they begin to lose some of their cognitive ability. It is extremely difficult on all the next of kin, some of whom don’t really appreciate the degree of cognitive loss that their parent may have been experiencing.
0:11:09: Jennifer Brown
So there’s a disconnect between the reality of what mom or dad can really manage today and what mom and dad managed for seventy or eighty years successfully.
And that child in California thinks, well, ‘You don’t need to go to the doctor with my mother; she can do that herself.’
In some cases, she really can’t.
And that’s where the care manager has to help get everyone on the same page, be tactful, sensitive, and supportive – to make sure that the needs of the older adult are primary and being met.
0:11:40: Ryan Miner
Let’s think in terms of bullet points.
If this happens, you should call a care manager.
What are those scenarios?
0:11:47: Jennifer Brown
It varies – because of the relationship of the extended family.
We’ll get calls; an adult child will describe mom and dad’s decline.
They may be very much hands-on with mom and dad, and they have a very close relationship, and they are in their space frequently, versus someone who only is seeing mom or dad every six months – pick a number; nine months – and their perspective on what their mom and dad are able to do are greatly different.
But, if mom and dad are stopping their regular social engagements, if they’re not regularly meeting their responsibilities in regards to seeing their physicians, if they’re missing appointments, not making appointments, if they seem not to be maintaining a good diet, and have a regular source of meals and food…
If the home is becoming less clean and more cluttered and not like the neat, clean home that the adult had maintained for forty or fifty years…
If they begin to show other signs of being unable to manage their affairs, then it would be beneficial to engage a care manager to get involved and understand where the shortcomings are and help support and fortify that.
Geriatric Care Manager Communication With Families
0:13:08: Raquel Micit
On average, how often is the care manager in communication with the family or the client?
0:13:15: Jennifer Brown
It is situation driven.
Our scope of work is defined by the family, the client, the older adult, and the next.
We’re often given somewhat specific tasks – and sometimes, it’s much more broad-based.
In general, a care manager probably is seeing an older adult on a weekly basis.
It could be more frequent if the older adult is in a very difficult situation (i.e., they wound up in the hospital, or they’re in a rehabilitation center, or they’re in another environment that is not their home).
And the care manager may need to be more active in interfacing with either the hospital personnel or the personnel in the skilled nursing facility in the rehab center.
0:13:59: Jennifer Brown
As things stabilize or there becomes more routine – there’s a home care agency in place; there are primary care and medical services coming in on a regular basis; the prescriptions are all up to date and being managed appropriately – maybe the frequency drops off to every couple of weeks or even less, but then the care manager is on call when the older adult needs more direct support.
How Do Geriatric Care Managers Communicate With Families?
0:14:24: Jennifer Brown
The communications with the family are really driven by the family.
Some folks are very comfortable with emails.
Others want to get on the phone with you; a text message is just fine for others.
It really is, what does the next of kin want in terms of communication? And again, the frequency is driven by the circumstances.
This mom or dad is in the hospital.
The social worker is probably talking to that family member in California – if every day, if not several times a day – as they navigate through the hospital, hospital into the rehab center, rehab center into home care.
That frequency of contact with the family may be every day, twice a day, until mom’s home, back in her environment, comfortable with home care services in place and her medical care in order and maintained.
0:15:12: Raquel Micit
Wow, so this is completely tailored to the client and their family.
I absolutely love that!
0:15:19: Ryan Miner
About Seabury Resources For Aging
Seabury has been around, what, ninety-five years?
0:15:21: Jennifer Brown
Seabury was founded in 1924 – so we celebrate our 100th birthday in April of 2024.
0:15:30: Raquel Micit
0:15:31: Jennifer Brown
We’re going to have a big party, yes! The planning is underway.
0:15:38: Ryan Miner
0:15:39: Jennifer Brown
It will be in D.C.
We are a D.C.-based organization.
We are a 501 (c) 3 – a private, not-for-profit.
And the roots and the origin of Seabury are in the faith community.
The original 1924 service was a residential home in the District of Columbia for women – so it was a women’s retirement home in D.C.; that’s the starting point.
So we do have deep roots and legacy in the faith community, and we do a lot of outreach to congregations to support senior ministries and seniors in their faith communities.
0:16:14: Jennifer Brown
The care management program was founded in 1996.
So we’re one of the earlier care management practices in the DMV, and we’ve grown to be one of the largest care management practices in the DMV, though we are in Virginia, Maryland, and D.C., where we provide care management services.
Does Medicare Cover Care Management Services?
0:16:32: Ryan Miner
People call and say, ‘Hey, does Medicare cover this?’
0:16:35: Raquel Micit
We can just do a very general standpoint on how it works hourly or daily, and then they’ll just have to call you for a more specific number.
0:16:42: Jennifer Brown
That’s right, total transparency.
The hourly rate for a care manager runs probably at the low point of about $155 an hour to a high point of somewhere around $175 per hour in different increments.
Generally, we are involved in fees based on a five-minute increment.
So if we’re on the phone with the daughter in California for ten minutes, that’s a ten-minute unit of service.
In Seabury, a couple of things about our 501 (c) 3 status, our roots, and our legacy is that we are about to help support clients with subsidies when they cannot cover the hourly rates.
0:17:23: Ryan Miner
0:17:24: Jennifer Brown
It’s more complicated than that.
But we do have a budget for subsidies and subsidy slots where we’re able to continue to maintain clients after they’re able to financially cover our costs on a monthly basis.
Seabury Resources for Aging | Life Enrichment Specialist | Geriatric Care Managers in Maryland
The other thing I want to say about fees is that we have a component of our care management program called the Life Enrichment Specialist.
So this is a non social worker – adult, mature individuals with bachelor’s and sometimes master’s degrees who work in partnership with the care manager as a team with the older adult.
And the life enrichment specialist will do everything from social engagement and activities, shopping and going to the supermarket, and things of that nature that the older adult needs to do and wants to do but would be better off with a companion to help them accomplish those tasks or to enjoy those activities and those hobbies that they love to enjoy – but they can’t quite do it on their own.
The Life Enrichment Specialist, unlike a social worker, is billed at a much lower hourly rate, so that’s like $60 an hour for the life enrichment specialist.
And as a team, they can help support a family and be sensitive to their budget to be able to cover the costs of our services.
0:19:27: Raquel Micit
That is a great option!
How do people find out about your services?
What is the typical way they find out who you guys are and what you do?
0:19:36: Jennifer Brown
Fortunately, Seabury has a very, very solid and positive brand across the DMV.
So we have a high profile.
People find us on the website; they find us through other websites that refer to us.
We have an information, referral, and assistance line that people call in – and even if they aren’t looking for a care manager or a care manager is not really in their scope of resources, we will provide references and referrals to services such as Amada Senior Care & Ennoble Care.
And there are no fees for anything; that’s just strictly conversation, dialogue, and then providing referrals and recommendations for resources that would be beneficial for them.
0:20:18: Jennifer Brown
Seabury has been around, like, a long time, and we have a mission; we’re a mission-driven organization.
In addition to serving all older adults, we do try to provide services, guidance, direction, support, and housing for low and moderate-income older adults across the DMV.
0:20:36: Raquel Micit
Jennifer, we had a blast learning so much about care management!
This was extremely helpful.
I think our audience will get a lot out of this and realize that there are options and advocates for them – and that is so important!
Where can they find you on the web?
How To Contact Seabury Resources For Aging
0:20:51: Jennifer Brown
Seabury Resources is plural – dot o-r-g.
You’ll find us in the local directories for older adults and senior services.
The call number for our information, referral, and assistance is (202) 364-0020.
I’ll repeat that because I always need to repeat it.
(202) 364-0020 is our information, assistance, and referral line.
How To Hire A Geriatric Care Manager in Maryland
Geriatric care managers provide an essential service for older adults and their families in Maryland.
When working with a reputable geriatric case management company like Seabury Resources for Aging, you can ensure that your loved one receives the best care and support.
Remember to choose a Maryland geriatric care manager with experience, credentials, and excellent communication skills.
If you have any questions or concerns about geriatric case management in Maryland, please do not hesitate to reach out to The Senior Soup for recommendations and resources.
Contact The Senior Soup today for senior resources in the DMV region by calling (202) 250-2674.