by Cheryl Smith, MA
You are managing your time pretty wellóthings are
tight and there are activities you would like to add to
your schedule, like a yoga class or a new hobby, but you
just canít juggle one more thing.
But then something happens that is about to add a huge
responsibility to your already overloaded schedule Ė
there is a crisis with your elderly parent or relative.
The crisis might involve your mom or dad falling and
breaking a hip, rear-ending another driver, getting
pneumonia, or wandering away and, this time, canít find
their way back home.
How do you find the time to add one more thing to a
schedule that is already full? How do you take
time away from your job or taking care of your own
children? You are determined to take care of your
parent the same way that they took care of you, but how?
Feeling overwhelmed, or giving into a meltdown, is not
the only alternative.
Donít get frustrated; get help to deal with this new
complex situation. With more than 80 percent of
elder care (an average 71 hours a week) provided by
family members, an emerging field of geriatric experts
known as professional care managers have sprung up to
A Professional Perspective
When faced with helping your aging parents make
decisions about their future, making sense of the
information and wading through the options can be
frustrating. Getting an outside perspective from a
geriatric care manager can help assess your parentís
needs, identify things you may not have considered and
create a care plan with possible options and
As specialists with extensive education and experience
in elder care, geriatric care managers are skilled at
assessing the level of help seniors need, changes that
should be implemented now or in the future, and
scheduling needed care services. Care managers can also
identify helpful community resources, monitor needs and
be an ongoing source of information.