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Eldercare: What is a Care Manager and
Why Would You Need One?


When it comes to healthcare terminology and titles, each are haphazardly thrown about and are often confusing.


To make matters worse, the terms are typically discussed at a time in life when you feel the most vulnerable and unsure. No one should feel this way; this is when a care manager steps in.

Much like a wealth advisor works with a client to identify financial goals and develops a plan to reach those goals, a care manager works with individuals to identify care goals and locates services that are the best solution to meet those goals. Now more than ever, the two are becoming very closely intertwined. Healthcare costs can destroy wealth if not planned for, and what’s more, why accumulate wealth in the first place if not to add value to your life?

You may have heard of a healthcare advocate, care consultant or even licensed social worker or case manager. These are each different than a care manager and the role it plays. The first two are not certified, but their titles are indicative of how they hope to assist their clients.

Licensed social workers and case managers are typically employed by an organization such as a hospital or health agency.

To understand the difference, you need to know only one thing: a care manager works for you. Care managers are paid directly by you and cannot take a finder’s fee or commission of any kind. Therefore, they remain completely unbiased, working exclusively for their clients’ best interests.

You’ll find that as information, providers and services become consolidated, costs are contained and even more importantly, your time and well-being are preserved.

To instill confidence, there is a national governing body that ensures care managers are certified, that they’ve met stringent educational and practice requirements and that they adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards of practice. It is called the Aging Life Care Association.

If you visit the Aging Life Care Association website (www.aginglifecare.org), you can search for a care manager in your area (by zip code), learn about his or her practice and find contact information to learn more.

All care managers will offer a consultation to determine if they are a good fit and can provide the type of service you are expecting. Once hired, you can plan to pay between $100 – $150 an hour.

The scope of services and knowledge areas a care manager possesses include:

  • Health, disability and disease management
  • Financial assistance
  • Housing needs or facilitation of a move
  • Family communication and understanding of family dynamics
  • Outreach to local resources
  • Advocacy and support
  • Answers to legal concerns
  • Crisis intervention

Sometimes, services are “one and done,” meaning your needs are assessed and a plan of care is developed. You may find your situation is better suited for onging care manager services, if, for instance, you or your loved one is out of town or the needs are more progressive in nature.