Last Updated: March 18, 2019
Alzheimer’s disease care managers take a holistic approach to maximizing outcomes for patients, ensuring that all aspects of an individual’s family, health care, physical and social needs are met.
Learn more about how an Alzheimer’s care manager can benefit your family and how to find one for your parent or senior loved one with the disease.
How an Alzheimer’s Care Manager Can Help Your Family
Alzheimer’s care managers coordinate the many facets of disease care, including drug interventions as well as nonpharmacologic therapies, like a safe environment, social engagement and other issues that go beyond daily medication.
As the Alzheimer’s Association describes, care managers have these chief goals:
- Enhance behavior, cognition and mood
- Foster a safe environment
- Maximize the individual’s function in daily activities
- Promote social opportunities
Combined, these goals help ensure that the person with Alzheimer’s maintains a quality of life and that caregivers and families receive the support they need to make decisions about their loved one’s care.
Whether it is at home or in long-term care, Alzheimer’s care managers guide families through complex issues.
Among their many duties, care managers may do some or all of the following, depending on the situation:
- Arrange care services tailored to the unique needs of your parent or senior loved one.
- Conduct a thorough assessment of your parent, looking for issues relevant to his or her situation, such as finances, health history, insurance, memory, nutrition and safety.
- Create a care plan that incorporates the assessment and recommends local community options.
- Monitor your loved one on a regular basis, ensuring that any health changes receive the accommodations and attention they require.
Professional Standards for Care Managers
Care managers work in assisted living communities, hospice agencies, hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities and other facilities that focus on senior care. They also help at-home caregivers and family members.
The National Association of Geriatric Care Managers has set standards in education, experience and training to become certified as a geriatric care manager. Additionally, the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP) offers specialized certification in Alzheimer’s care.
To achieve NCCDP certification, candidates must meet all local, state and federal regulations, as well as these requirements:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree in a health care field or they must be an LPN (licensed practical nurse) or RN (registered nursing license)
- Have completed a comprehensive Alzheimer’s and dementia education program, as well as other NCCDP-approved training courses
- Have one year of experience in a health care management role
- Have three years of health care experience working directly with geriatric patients
Questions to Ask When Looking for an Alzheimer’s Care Manager
When you are looking for an Alzheimer’s care manager, remember that not all of them specialize in the same thing, which is why it is important to learn about a care manager’s particular background and experience.
Some questions to ask when interviewing care managers to determine the right fit include:
- Are you available for emergencies?
- Are you licensed?
- Can you provide references?
- Do you provide home care services (if applicable)?
- Do you specialize in Alzheimer’s care management? In what other areas of geriatric care do you specialize?
- How long have you been providing Alzheimer’s care management services?
- How will you communicate information to me (phone, in writing or other)?
- What are your fees? (Remember to get this in writing.)
- What are your professional credentials?
Have you worked with an Alzheimer’s care manager? How did he or she help? What advice would you offer someone searching for an Alzheimer’s care manager? We’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
- Empathy for Alzheimer’s: The Validation Method
- Study Shows the Effectiveness of Supportive Care Approaches for Dementia
- Questions to Ask When Exploring Memory Care Options