Caring for elderly relatives is always a team effort. Sometimes the team consists of the entire family, sometimes the team is a man and wife, and sometimes the team consists solely of the elderly person and their primary caregiver; but no matter how you look at it, elder care is a complex, difficult, and expensive job, and one made 10 times easier if you have a knowledgeable and trustworthy expert on your team.
There are many knowledgeable elder care experts out there: doctors, lawyers, social workers; but few of them can straddle ALL of the elder care issues (medical, legal, residential, financial) to help you look at the big picture. A geriatric care manager is someone who can do just that—look at any given situation from all angles and advise your elder care team on the big picture. This article in the New York Times describes geriatric care managers as assessors, counselors, mediators… and sometimes someone to play “bad cop” in a tough situation.
Of course, because most insurance companies won’t yet pay for the services of a geriatric care manager, hiring one is going to be an extra expense; but it is the business of a GCM to know the ins and outs of the elder care system, and the money they save your family by helping you research experts and options, and avoiding bad situations can more than make up for the expense.
A geriatric care manager cannot replace a doctor or a lawyer on your elder care team, but they can help all of the team players work together effectively toward a common goal: ensuring that your loved one is well taken care of in the best situation possible.