Friday, October 9, 2009

Universal Design: Geriatric Planning

With forethought and planning, you can recognize and then optimize the ability to enjoy life, reduce chances of hospitalization or institutionalization, and continue independent living. This might be for yourself or for someone you care for such as a parent, spouse or sibling. Consider this endeavor as meaningful as having a life savings and a fully paid mortgage.

Where To Begin:
--- Start with an overview: Are there changes in physical or mental health? What medications are being taken, and as directed? Daily living skills – any area becoming a concern such as meal prep or phone use? Personal hygiene? Home and community safety? Finances? Social contact? And, engagement with day-to-day living?
--- If you are the care provider, check in with yourself, how are you managing? Has the responsibility of care become stressful?
--- If you are renovating, building or relocating, this is an excellent time to build for future need (it’s pennies on the dollar).
--- Finally, search the internet using the term, “geriatric case manager” or “geriatric assessment.” This will help launch you into what will be a collaborative process with a knowledgeable and experienced specialist who will support you in the planning and implementation tailored to your needs. Costs vary from $50 - $200 per hour (typically an out-of-pocket expense). This initial expense buys long-term savings achieved through efficiency and cost-effective solutions.

What Will Be Considered:
--- You and your manager will discuss care-planning based on present need, anticipated need, cost, quality, benefit eligibility, legal considerations, confidentiality, advocacy, resources, scheduling, monitoring and implementation. The purpose is to optimize the maximum level of wellness both in the present and in the future.

What You Want To Verify:
Determine your own needs: consultation, assessment or ongoing care.
Before hiring a geriatric planning agency or individual, discuss the following: certification, cost (immediate and ongoing), availability, other credentials and experience, your specific needs, resource network and references. A word of caution: this is a fast growing business with minimal consumer protection.

Helpful Websites:
--- National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers
--- AARP (articles and links)
--- Family Caregivers Alliance

Konrad Kaletsch, CAPS
October 9, 2009
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