As a family caregiver, you may be responsible for coordinating the care of a loved one who is ill, aging, or has a disability. This can be a challenging and overwhelming task, especially if you are also working and/or taking care of your own family. A care manager can be a valuable resource to help you manage the care of your loved one and give you peace of mind. But even if you don’t want a care manager, thinking and acting a bit more like one can make a difference in your experience providing care.
What is a Care Manager?
A care manager is a professional who has expertise in geriatric care, disability management, and/or social work. They work with individuals, families, and healthcare providers to assess the needs of the care recipient and create a plan to meet those needs. Care managers can be hired privately or be provided through an organization or agency.
What does a Care Manager Do?
Care managers have a variety of responsibilities, including:
Collecting and organizing information from healthcare providers
Care managers will gather medical records and other relevant information from healthcare providers to understand the care recipient's health status and treatment needs.
Assessing their care recipient
Care managers will conduct an assessment of the care recipient to identify their physical, emotional, and social needs. They will also assess the care recipient's ability to manage their own care and make decisions about their treatment.
Assessing the care recipient's home environment
Care managers will visit the care recipient's home to assess the safety and accessibility of the environment. They may make recommendations for modifications to the home to improve the care recipient's quality of life.
Researching and finding any relevant resources
Care managers will research and identify any public or private resources that may be available to help meet the care recipient's needs. This may include financial assistance, in-home care services, or support groups.
Manage communication to keep everyone on the same page
Care managers will keep the care recipient, their family, and healthcare providers informed about the care plan and any changes that are made. They will also facilitate communication between all parties to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. (Source)
What Can I Do To Think More Like a Care Manager?
As a family caregiver, you can take on some of the responsibilities of a care manager to better manage the care of your loved one. Following their example, here are some steps you can take to think more like a care manager:
Gather and organize information
Keep a file of your loved one's medical records and other important documents, such as their insurance information and any advanced directives. This will make it easier to coordinate their care and access the resources they need.
Assess your loved one's needs
Consider your loved one's physical, emotional, and social needs and how they are being met. Are they getting the care and support they need to live as independently as possible?
Assess the home environment
Look for any potential hazards in the home and make any necessary modifications to ensure that it is safe and accessible for your loved one.
There may be financial assistance, in-home care services, and support groups available to help meet your loved one's needs. Take the time to research what is available and how to access these resources. Here are some places to start:
California Caregiver Resource Centers. The California Caregiver Resource Centers (CRCs) are a network of centers that provide support and resources to family caregivers throughout the state of California. The CRCs offer a variety of services, including support groups, education and training, respite care, and care manager programs. To find the CRC nearest you, visit our website: Caregiver Resources Near Me.
Area Agencies on Aging. Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) are organizations that provide resources and services to older adults and their caregivers. AAAs can help you find information on topics such as home care, transportation, and financial assistance. To find the AAA serving your area, visit the California Department of Aging website at https://aging.ca.gov/.
Family Caregiver Alliance. The Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) is a nonprofit organization that provides resources and support for caregivers throughout the state. The FCA offers a range of services, including a caregiving hotline, support groups, and educational materials. You can visit their website at https://www.caregiver.org to learn more.
California Department of Aging. The California Department of Aging (CDA) is a state agency that provides resources and support to older adults and their caregivers. The CDA offers a variety of services, including financial assistance, in-home care, and legal assistance. You can visit their website at http://www.aging.ca.gov/ to learn more.
In addition to these resources, you may also want to reach out to local hospitals, senior centers, and faith-based organizations for additional support and resources.
Communicate with healthcare providers
Keep in touch with your loved one's healthcare providers and make sure you understand their treatment plan and any changes that are made.
As a family caregiver, you can also think more like a care manager by gathering and organizing information, assessing your loved one's needs, assessing the home environment, researching resources, and communicating with healthcare providers. The California Caregiver Resource Center of Orange County is a valuable resource for family caregivers in the area and can provide additional support and resources to help you manage your loved one's care.
You’re Not Alone: Using the California Caregiver Resource Center of Orange County to Help Manage Care
Managing the care of a loved one can be overwhelming, but you don't have to do it alone. The California Caregiver Resource Center of Orange County is a great resource for family caregivers. They offer a variety of services, including support groups, education and training, and respite care. They also have a care manager program that can help you better manage the care of your loved one.
If you are a caregiver in Orange County, consider reaching out to the California Caregiver Resource Center of Orange County for support. We can help you navigate the challenges of caregiving and find resources to help you and your loved one.
Join our Facebook Group
If you’re looking for a community of caregivers that truly understands what you’re going through. A group you can turn to when you have questions, frustrations, or need advice? Join our California Family Caregivers Facebook group today.
Our California Family Caregivers Facebook group is a safe space for caregivers across different communities in California to speak about their caregiving journey and interact with one another. Join us today.