Senior Lifestyles: What is a geriatric care manager?

Published 5:28 pm Monday, June 12, 2017

There are times when a family caregiver, usually the spouse or adult child, reaches the end of his or her rope and needs to bring in an expert to provide some clarity and guidance as to what to do next.

This is where a geriatric care manager (GCM) can play a critical role in resolving a crisis or even more importantly help plan for the future care of the patient. Many people don’t know what a GCM is or what the best are trained and skilled to do and provide. This article should help clear that up.

A geriatric care manager is a qualified healthcare professional who assists individuals and families to understand, anticipate and manage their current life circumstances. This can include making care decisions, locating resources, facilitating and planning for implementing needed resources, veteran’s benefits and Medicaid application assistance, as well as referrals of support services that can help in maintaining a person’s or family’s quality of life.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Older adults are happiest when they can continue an independent lifestyle, making their own decisions about daily living. However, there may come a critical time for older adults when illness, memory loss, disability or simple problems of aging arise. These new challenges can have significant physical, social and emotional impacts on older adults and jeopardize their well being. 

For family members who live out of state, this creates tremendous worry about their parent(s) concern as to what to do next. A professional geriatric care manager can provide the solution to this dilemma by helping the family to develop a coordinated plan of care to assist the family and the older adult.

Geriatric consultants can assist seniors and their families by providing for a thorough assessment of a person’s level of social, emotional and medical factors, then coordinating a variety of services to meet the unique functional and care needs of the older adult. This can involve working closely with family, bank trust officers, guardians and estate planning professionals on the client’s behalf.

The GCM can become an integral part of this process by building a trusting relationship with the older adult, acting as both advocate and friend, and is readily available as a resource for the family to evaluate needs and services as well as to help develop a long range plan for care.

These plans developed with the family by the GCM may include the referral to resources that provide personal care, monitoring in-home services, facilitating long term care placement, connecting clients to financial assistance/community/government programs, and acting as a liaison between a person with dementia and their local and/or long distance family members and caregivers.

This coordinated plan of care helps older adults meet the challenges of daily living and maximizes their quality of life.  It also offers reassurance and peace of mind for the family member that may reside many miles away.

Costs for geriatric care management vary based on needs, but usually includes an initial assessment, an assessment evaluation and written report with recommendations. The initial assessment may require more than one meeting, particularly if out of town family is to be involved. If hired by the client or family, subsequent fees are based upon an hourly rate that can be discussed in person or by phone, fax or email.

Ron Kauffman is a consultant and expert speaker on issues of aging, Medicare and Obamacare and is the author of Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease, available as a Kindle book on He may be contacted at 828-696-9799 or by email at