There’s a lot of confusion around what Care Management is and we are here to break it down for you. It can be difficult to really conceptualize what a Care Manager can do for you or a loved one, because the scope is so broad! At the heart of it, a Care Manager is someone who works with individuals and families to advocate on behalf of an aging individual. They assess, plan, and then execute – always with the goal and needs of the individual at the center.
Who Do Care Managers Work With?
Care Managers work with individuals who don’t have support systems and manage everything on their behalf, with individuals with a lot of support team members, where they help organize, get everyone on the same page, and make sure the individual isn’t getting lost in the shuffle, and everything in between! At enABLE, our motto is: if we can’t do it for you, we will find a trusted resource who can!
What Can Care Managers do?
Sometimes Care Managers are described as being like the hired adult child of an aging individual, standing in as a loved one would.
- Coordinating every aspect of care for that person, from medical appointments and transportation, to grocery shopping, coordination of house projects, medications, care team coordination between various agencies, bringing in or coordinating caregivers, medical personnel, and more.
Care Managers serve as “boots on the ground.”
- Visiting the individual regularly, noting changes in health, behavior, emotion, habits, etc. If there is a support system or responsible party, Care Managers report to them after every visit or appointment, to ensure it’s a collaborative effort and that they are informed.
Care Managers enrich the lives of those they work with.
- They strategize around ways to provide enriching experiences for individuals and ensure that their overall needs are met, while executing on their wishes.
Care Managers coordinate efforts between all members of the care team.
- Serving as liaisons between all of the various entities that support a life well lived for an aging individual.
How to Find a Certified Care Manager
- Care Management has not yet become highly regulated, so if you are looking for someone who is certified as a Care Manager, you can find them on the Aging Life Care Association (ALCA) website. It is the one regulatory association for Care Managers that exists at this time and they can be reached through their website at www.aginglifecare.org. Once you have logged in, be sure to search by zip code to find Care Managers in your area. If you are looking for a certified Care Manager (and we recommend you do) look for an “Advanced Professional” on the site.
Helpful Insights on Care Management
- Care Managers can steer the ship in several ways:
- Care Managers are an added layer of organization and support for existing care services OR, they can be used to determine what is actually needed, and offer vetted, trusted resources for those needs.
- How they charge:
- Care Managers either charge an hourly rate or a flat rate based on need. Ask about drive time, mileage, hourly increments and if you will have a dedicated person, or a team supporting you or your loved one.
- Look for the ALCA or NACCM logo on websites or emails – this shows the Care Manager or agency is certified and part of the Association that regulates Care Managers.
- Methodology and finding the right fit:
- Ask about personality fit and what will happen if the Care Manager assigned isn’t the right fit. Care Managers become like family, so they have to fit in! It’s important to take the time to find the right agency and Care Manager for you and your family.
- Virtual vs. In Person Help
- Care Managers work all over the nation, and we are a growing industry. If you can’t find a Care Manager in your area, ask about virtual options to at least support needs and give guidance over the phone or Zoom.