Posts Tagged: Care Manager

Is it time to get a vaccination?

2020 has brought us a wider variety of topics of conversation. 

Case in point! While having a social distancing get-together with 2 of my friends in a parking lot, one friend asked if we were up to date on our vaccines. She showed us that she got the flu shot in one arm and pneumonia shot in the other arm. My other friend had the flu shot and shingles shot already. We are all in our 60’s and I didn’t expect this to be a hot topic to discuss, but it was informative and interesting. 

We all seem to have the flu shot on our minds, you drive by grocery stores, pharmacies and signs are posted that welcome you in get the shot. Turn on the TV and you can hear the warnings on the news; urging us all to get the flu shot this winter.  We are cautioned on ways to protect ourselves from not only the flu but also Covid-19. What we do know is that we need to be up to date on medical recommendations and check in with our own Physicians. 

What my friends and I realized: you are never too old to get vaccinated. While we kept up to date on our children’s vaccinations, now we must keep up to date on our own.

The top 5 vaccinations recommended for adults by the CDC: 1. Annual flu 2. Pneumonia 3. Tetanus booster 4. Shingles and 5. Hepatitis A and B. The best advice is to speak with your own Primary Care Physician to discuss these vaccinations and follow their recommendations.

As we age, our immune system which helps us fight illnesses does not work as well as it used to when we were younger. We can control how we live our life: eat healthy foods, get regular exercise, get a good night’s sleep, and decrease our stress level to strengthen your immune system. Your Primary Care Physician will be able to recommend the best options for the dose and timing of these vaccinations based on your health history.

Vaccinations not only benefit our personal health, but it benefits our family members and other people in our lives. Keeping ourselves healthy and reducing exposure of illness to those we care about is important to all of us. Doing our part to reduce doctor office visits, hospital admissions, out-of-pocket medical costs and time away from family is key in 2020.

Costs of vaccinations? Most health insurances cover these preventive measures; be sure to check in with your specific insurance provider to find out.  

Stay healthy by speaking with your health care provider about vaccinations and add this topic to your list of great topics of 2020.  

Care Manager Success Story

Years ago, we were honored to help a woman decide a move from her home into a senior living community where her sister lived. The older sister was unrelenting in telling her younger sister to move to her community and as soon as possible. She told me it was reminiscent of childhood with her older sister bossing her around.

This situation was causing a rift in the sister’s relationship, and they both were stressed. The sisters went to the same Physician who learned of the disagreement from each sister’s viewpoint. He recommended a Care Manager to help the younger sister choose a senior community based on her desires, needs, and budget.

The Care Manager met with her and reviewed all her preferences for her ideal housing type to meet her needs now and in the future. She always visited her sister and enjoyed her community but was not sure it was the one for her.

The Care Manager identified three communities that met the younger sister’s preferences, and they toured all three with an open mind. They compared each community, even making a pro and con list, and discussed the long and short-term advantages.

In the end, the younger sister chose the senior community where her older sister lived, but it was only after she had the time to look at her options and make a decision that was best for her. She felt confident that the move was the right one for her and not what her older sister wanted her to make.

At times like this, a Care Manager can provide professional, impartial guidance and options to consider. The Care Manager also assisted the younger sister with all of the steps required to sell her home, downsize, pack/move, and settle into her new home at the senior community on a different floor than her older sister.

New to Care Management? How a Care Manager Works with Clients and their Families

Corewood’s Care Management team works with clients and their families on a wide variety of issues, health conditions, and family dynamics. You may not know about all we do, so please let me provide a brief overview of the most noteworthy tasks we undertake.

Determining Where an Older Adult Should Live

Every family’s situation is different. Some older adult clients are temporarily immobilized due to a fall or hospitalization, or one spouse has a condition that will worsen over time, such as Alzheimer’s. Can the spouse or caregiver help with bathing and dressing? Does the older adult need constant supervision or someone to check in on them occasionally?  The answers to all of these questions – and many more – will need to be taken into consideration when deciding where an older adult will live. Care Managers are trained to look for warning signs to determine if an older adult is safe living at home alone. Whether or not an older adult remains at home, there are concerns that the Care Manager will review to ensure safety.

  • Making a Home Safe – If an older adult is going to remain in at home, a Care Manager can recommend modifications to make the home safer.
  • Finding Senior Housing – If an older adult can no longer live independently, a Care Manager can assist with a move to a senior housing facility, such as assisted living or CCRC. Throughout the process, a Care Manager will evaluate a community based on the level of care a person needs now and in the future as well as consider their lifestyle.

Covering Your Legal Bases

If you, your spouse, or your parent were suddenly incapacitated, who has the legal authority to act on their behalf? A Care Manager works with older adults and their families to avoid legal red tape and make sure older adults have the right legal documents in place. They will recommend and work with an attorney to be sure there is a power of attorney, advance care directives, a will, and, if needed, guardianship.

Organizing Finances

Would you know what to do if you suddenly had to take over managing money and paying bills for your spouse or parents? Care Managers work with older adults and their families to be sure trusted individuals know where the essential paperwork is kept and how to access funds if need be. Care Managers also work with older adults to review long-term care insurance to help cover the cost for care as well as help them determine their eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, or Veteran’s Assistance.

Managing Medical Care

Care Managers are often first called when there is a medical crisis. Care Managers are older adult’s front-line advocates who know the medical system, know the older adult, and can help provide the best care. Before a crisis occurs, a Care Manager knows an older adult’s full medical history, record all of the prescription medications, and have attended doctor visits with an older adult in the past. They know how to ask questions and bring up concerns with a doctor and can summarize and take notes of the encounter to be discussed afterward with all interested parties.

Talking About the Future

When an older adult is ill, plans for the future must be made. Holding a family meeting helps make sure everyone is informed and on the same page. Care Managers are often called upon to facilitate these difficult conversations that must take place. They work to ensure an open, honest conversation but are also prepared for resistance. The goal is to determine the older adult’s current needs, limitations, and concerns, and let them state their wishes for the future.

Coping with the Reality of Caregiving

The emotional and physical health of the lead caregiver is always a top concern for the Care Manager. They work to prevent burnout and isolation as well as provide relief time for the caregiver. A Care Manager may coordinate coverage so that the lead caregiver can get out to dinner, a movie, or a walk in the fresh air. Without such relief, the physical and mental toll can be heavy on the lead caregiver.

Care Managers are trained professionals who work with older adults to find support and resources to make their daily life more comfortable. They are especially helpful when family members live far apart because, as we age, it is imperative to have supporting eyes and ears available locally.

COVID 19 has shown that supporting an older adult is not a process that can be managed long-distance, even as in-touch as we are with cell phones, text messaging, and Zoom conferences. A relationship with a Care Manager can allow a spouse or children of an older adult to be the spouse or the children, while someone else manages the situation.

When a spouse or daughter is providing hands-on care, the quality time they have to be there emotionally for their spouse or parent is limited. A Care Manager can handle the difficult interpersonal issues, address the immediate problem, remain connected once the crisis passes, and get back involved as the situation requires it.

When to Use a Care Manager

Feeling confused about when to hire a Care Manager? We’ve compiled a list of situations when hiring a Care Manager would be beneficial:

1.     When you want to save money

Many people believe that engaging the services of a Care Manager is expensive and beyond their reach. This is often a short-sighted view. Hiring a Care Manager can often save money. Yes, the initial cost may be high and often not covered by insurance, but a Care Manager can help you avoid costly mistakes.

Care Managers know the medical system, senior living communities, and local specialists better than any other senior resource.  Recommendations by a Care Manager, who are usually trained as a social worker or is a registered nurse,  can save you from making uninformed and hasty decisions. They can also assist in developing plans for future care and act as an honest agent of communication between the power of attorney, financial planner, and elder law attorney.

2.     When you’re confused about services

Trying to find the right care for an older adult can be confusing. Good news – there are a lot of choices out there. Bad news – there are a lot of choices out there. Hiring a Care Manager to navigate through these unchartered waters is indispensable. A Care Manager knows their local resources, a company’s reputation, and cost factors. If staying within a certain budget or remaining within a specific insurance plan is important, a Care Manager can guide you through all your options.

3.     What specialist to choose?

If a specialist, new primary care physician, or alternative treatments are on the table, a Care Manager can provide recommendations about local experts. It’s important to recognize that a Care Manager is working on your behalf. They receive no compensation from an outside source. They work for you and are looking out for your well-being. Thus, Care Managers can recommend a specialist for a particular treatment. They can also attend the doctor’s meeting with you, and they can help you communicate with your healthcare professional.

4.     Feel exhausted?

Many caregivers feel obligated to take on too much responsibility in caring for an older adult.  This effort can be exhausting for everyone: the caregiver, the caregiver’s family as well as the older adult. A Care Manager can help share the work burden and suggest ways for you to focus on yourself. A Care Manager can also assist in building your “circle of care” enabling others to assist you with your caregiving duties by driving, making meals, or spending time with your loved one.

When a referral is needed, a Care Manager’s commitment is to recommend the most trusted and respected local care providers. A Care Manager does not accept referral fees or other forms of compensation from the service providers that are recommended. A Care Manager wants you and your family to be completely comfortable when placing your trust in us.

10 Things Everyone Should Do As We Age (And that your Care Manager Can Help You Carry Out)

  1.  Identify a trusted person Identify a trusted person or persons to receive your essential documents. We’ll call this person the Information Keeper. This may be an adult child, a long-time friend, or someone who can be counted on as absolutely trustworthy. Set a date for this person to review this checklist.
  2.  Choose one or two people to become your legal and/or durable medical power of attorney (DPOA). Include these names, signed and notarized in the estate plan documents. But it is surprising how many families don’t have one when they need it. A generic DPOA form can also be downloaded free from the internet.
  3.  Have a signed advanced healthcare directive and fill out a Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST). Competent elder care attorneys should also include this document in the estate plan. This document is available for free from your physician’s office or from the internet for free. It is vitally important that you express your end of life wishes now, so that family members don’t have to make those decisions for you.
  4.  Make a list of all bank accounts, passwords, investment records and financial planning. The professionals you are working with should be on the list. And you should give permission in writing to each of them, such as your accountant, elder care lawyer, and financial advisor to communicate with your appointed trusted person.
  5.  List all of your insurance policies and provide the location of these written documents. This includes life, disability, health, property, and anything else you own that will protect your heirs. Millions of dollars of life insurance proceeds go uncollected each year because the beneficiaries do not know that the policies exist or that they are the recipients.
  6.  Make a copy of your mortgage statement, other loans and debts, financial statements, and bank statement. These should be updated quarterly as they change and amounts fluctuate. If you become incapacitated, your designated person would need to step in and handle your affairs. Make sure they have the financial information necessary.
  7.  Make a list of all physicians, care providers, medications and allergies you take and give the list to the Information Keeper along with written permission to speak with your doctors. This could be a life-saving measure if you are unable to communicate. This one is simple and won’t take much time.
  8.  Talking about death and your burial wishes to your family is difficult but do it anyway. Create or have on hand information about your wishes for burial or disposition of your remains.
  9.  Update your will and/or trust with your elder care attorney. Laws vary by each state and these need to be current in the state where you now live in retirement. If you’ve never gotten around to updating your will or trust, then make a date and see a lawyer.
  10.  Call a family meeting to discuss the items on this checklist. Transparency is critical to avoid conflicts down the road. Everyone should know your wishes.

Corewood Care Managers are trained nurses and social workers dedicated to providing expert guidance and advocacy to deliver safe and cost-effective long-term care solutions. We understand the importance of delivering solutions that help our clients and their families reclaim their lives and increase their quality of life, all while maximizing independence, safety, and comfort. Our Care Managers will develop a comprehensive, personalized care plan offering you and your family options of how to proceed with both immediate care and long-term care. If you wish to learn more or have any questions about our new operational guidelines, please call our office directly at 301-909-8117.

Call Us: (301) 909-8117