Yesterday’s New York Times included an article by Lesley Alderman titled “When Elder Care Problems Escalate, You Can Hire an Expert.” The article described the valuable role that geriatric care managers can play in helping elderly loved ones age safely. When families need help with health assessments, living accommodations, medication management, attending doctors’ appointments, finding in-home health care, and related issues, a geriatric care manager can help. Their involvement in a case can be brief, a few hours of consultation, or long-term, with one interviewee spending 20 years helping a client.
In contrast, an elder mediator is focused on the decision-making process a family might face regarding an aging loved one’s well-being. The elder mediator works with those involved to reach decisions and make plans that fit their unique situation. At times an elder mediator could help a family decide whether to seek the help of a geriatric care manager — and how to pay for it. At other times, a geriatric care manager could refer a family to an elder mediator to resolve conflicts surrounding care, finances, communications, and other issues.