Eldercare: Getting Professional Help
By Cate Coulacos Prato

More Helpful Eldercare Information

Eldercare: How to Talk About It With Your Aging Parent

The ABCs of Aging: A Glossary of Eldercare Terms

Getting Professional Help

Eldercare Facilities: An Overview of the Options

Eldercare Safety Checklist and a downloadable Eldercare Emergency Info Sheet

Should You Have Your Parent Move In With You?

Increasingly, mature children of elder adults are turning to professionals for assistance with their loved one’s care needs – especially if they don’t live near the elder or if family members disagree on his or her condition and needs.

“Professional help can be costly, but mistakes can cost much more in financial and emotional ways,” says geriatric care consultant Rona Bartelstone, M.S.W.

A social worker, gerontologist or geriatric care manager trained in eldercare issues and support can help assess your parent’s needs and become an advocate.

SIZE: 10pt">Rates for these specialists can vary, from $150 to $200 hour in many urban areas to $50 to $60 in rural areas, says Bartelstone, who is a founder of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers and the National Academy of Certified Care Managers. Rates also vary according to skill level, so it’s important to check out credentials, she says.

SIZE: 10pt">Geriatric care managers are highly educated, licensed and bonded, and they assume liability for others they hire to come into the elder’s home, says Bartelstone. Check references and stay involved after you hire the person.

SIZE: 10pt">“If a care manager is not communicating with the family, get someone else,” she says. And be wary of anyone without credentials. Most specialists have a master’s degree in social work or gerontology or are registered nurses

SIZE: 10pt">Once it’s acknowledged that your elder has a need for special care, there are a variety of options. Things to take into consideration include:

SIZE: 10pt">• What are the care needs?

SIZE: 10pt">• Does the elder have dementia?

SIZE: 10pt">• What are the financial resources?

SIZE: 10pt">What most elders want, and what experts recommend, is that the elder stay in his or her own home for as long as possible. Familiar surroundings and relationships with friends and neighbors help elders function better and maintain their independence.

SIZE: 10pt">Because of this, a number of services are popping up to help elders live on their own. Some doctors are beginning to make home visits again, many communities have transportation services specifically for elders, and businesses have emerged to provide a range of assistance to seniors, from nursing care to handyman services.

Cate Coulacos Prato writes frequently on family issues.
From United Parenting Publications, June 2004. 

SIZE: 10pt">