What you need to look for on your holiday visit to older loved ones and how a Geriatric Care Manager can help

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The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers offers some warning signs to look for as you visit older adult relatives over the holidays.

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The holidays are approaching...these visits oftentimes reveal that their loved one is struggling.

The holidays are approaching. Many adult children will spend time with their elder loved ones. Many are traveling near or far, but these visits oftentimes reveal that their loved one is struggling.

The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers offers some warning signs, what many in the business call "red flags" such as the following:

1. Environment: Does it looked maintained or is it in disrepair? Is trash accumulating? Does it smell of urine or feces?

2. Food: Is there adequate food? Any spoiled food present? Do you notice weight loss or do you suspect that your loved one is skipping meals or not eating a nutritious diet?

3. Mood or behavior: Do you notice your loved one constantly repeating things? Are you noticing increased confusion? Are you hearing from their friends that something has changed? Are they having difficulty carrying on an extended conversation? Are they showing irritability or apathy? Are they reporting difficulty sleeping?

4. Routine: Do you notice stacks of unopened mail? Are bills not getting paid? Are medications being taken? Are prescriptions not being refilled? Are medical appointments being missed or follow-ups not being made?

5. Personal Hygiene: Are you noticing your loved one is unkempt, not dressing during the day like they used to; not showering and wearing dirty clothing when they do get dressed? Do you notice bruises that may indicate they have had falls?

These are just a few warning signs that an older adult needs assistance. It might be time to bring in a professional to help.

Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) are a wonderful resource to older adults and families who need assistance. GCM's expertise and day-to-day experience in the community, can guide older adults and their families with choices. Beginning with an in-depth assessment, a care plan is created by the GCM and family. Together they arrive at the best possible options. It is difficult for many adult children to navigate through the myriad of options, especially when they are at a distance, working, and/or raising their own children. Let a GCM help you. To search for a Geriatric Care Manager in your area, please visit http://www.caremanager.org.


The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) was formed in 1985 to advance dignified care for older adults and their families. Geriatric Care Managers are professionals who have extensive training and experience working with older people, people with disabilities and families who need assistance with caregiving issues. They assist older adults, who wish to remain in their homes, or can help families in the search for a suitable nursing home placement or extended care if the need occurs. The practice of geriatric care management and the role of care providers have captured a national spotlight, as generations of Baby Boomers age in the United States and abroad.

A Geriatric Care Manager is a health and human services expert, such as a social worker, counselor, gerontologist or nurse, with a specialized body of knowledge and experience related to aging and care issues. A Geriatric Care Manager assists older adults and persons with disabilities in addressing issues related to their health, psychological, functional and legal/financial status. In addition, the GCM coordinates ongoing care and serves as an experienced guide and resource for families of older adults and others with chronic needs. The GCM respects the autonomy of the individual, services with sensitivity, and supports the dignity of each individual.

Geriatric care managers who are members of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) are committed to adhering to the NAPGCM Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. For more information or to access a nationwide directory of professional geriatric care managers, please visit http://www.caremanager.org.

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Kaaren Boothroyd
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