Why would I want a geriatric care manager?

Mar 19 / Jay Zigmont, PhD, MBA, CFP®
No one likes to think about getting older (or your loved ones getting older and requiring specialized care), but it happens to most of us. When you're planning for your old age (or that of someone else, such as a parent or grandparent), you may want to pay for the services of a very special person: a geriatric care manager who can help you navigate our very broken healthcare system. Keep reading to learn what kind of services they provide and how to decide if you want one on your team.

What is a geriatric care manager?

A geriatric care manager is most often a licensed nurse or social worker who specializes in geriatric medicine (care for older adults). If you're caring for an elderly loved one, a geriatric care manager can make your life much easier.

They will provide services like:
  • Managing hired caregivers, like home health aides
  • Creating a care plan
  • Booking medical appointments and arranging for transportation (especially crucial if the patient needs specialized equipment along the way)
  • Recommending social services
  • Answering questions and explaining different processes and procedures to family
  • Making referrals to professionals in the medical, legal, and financial space
  • Helping loved ones when they're overwhelmed with thier caregiving duties

In short, a geriatric care manager can be your loved one's advocate and your best friend when it comes to navigating elder care. 

How do you find a geriatric care manager?

You can learn more about geriatric care managers and eldercare services by visiting AgingLifeCare.org. This is a great resource for more information about them and how to find one. You want to hire a geriatric care manager who isn't associated with or working for any of the medical entities providing your loved one's care, because you don't want a conflict of interest between their needs and what can be provided (or paid for). Another way to find someone is through word of mouth from people you know who have worked with one.

How much does a geriatric care manager cost - and how will you pay?

It is not cheap to hire a geriatric care manager. According to reporting from AARP (and data from Aging Life Care Association), an initial assessment will cost $800 to $2,000. This is when a prospective manager will determine the level of care and services needed. And ongoing hourly rates range from $90 to $250. 

These costs will not be covered by Medicaid or health insurance. If you have long-term care insurance, it may cover some of it. But you will most likely need to pay out of pocket for these services. They could end up taking a chunk of retirement savings, so it's worth planning now how you're going to pay. 

Whether you're hoping to hire someone for a loved one (such as a parent) you're currently caring for (or will be soon), or planning ahead for your own Childfree old age, a Childfree Wealth Specialist® can also help you navigate the costs and decide how to pay for them -- whether that's by saving and investing or getting a long-term care insurance policy.
Jay Zigmont, PhD, MBA, CFP® is the Founder of Childfree Wealth®, a life and financial planning firm dedicated to helping Childfree and Permanently Childless people. Dr. Jay is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Childfree Wealth Specialist®, and author of the book “Portraits of Childfree Wealth.” Dr. Jay is the co-host of Childfree Wealth Podcast. His Ph.D. is in Adult Learning from the University of Connecticut.

He has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, and many other publications.
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