Dear Readers: After answering an email question last week where I once again suggested the services of a geriatric care manager (GCM), I realized that it’s time to refocus on the services that these professionals provide. In the process, I contacted GCM Linda-Fodrini-Johnson to ask her permission to publish a link to her website, and she said yes. Even better, she informed me that her new book was just published.
What is a geriatric care manager (GCM)?
A GCM can support and advise you with planning and problem-solving, coach you regarding more productive conversations with both your parents and their health care providers, and in some cases provide oversight of in-home care. Some provide more services than others, but nearly all of them can point you to additional resources.
Each GCM will have a somewhat different background, but most have degrees in social work plus extra training.
About the author
Linda Fodrini-Johnson, MA, MFT, CMC is a certified geriatric care manager and an expert in the field of aging as well as a licensed family therapist. Her book, “The Empowered Caregiver: Practical Advice and Emotional Support for Adult Children of Aging Parents,” is the perfect place for adult children to start, but it would also be a valuable resource for those of you who are already involved in parent care.
"The Empowered Caregiver" is specifically designed to provide you with stress-reducing strategies and solutions for caring for your older parents. Fodrini-Johnson begins with the all-important basics, such as safety concerns and navigating legal issues. From there, she assists you in helping your parents cope with declining health, managing their medications and handling the often increasingly complex rounds of medical appointments.
She covers how to recognize possible dementia, family dynamics (huge!) and end-of-life issues. "The Empowered Caregiver" is packed with great information to help you with your planning and a ton of advice from an expert who’s been helping caregivers since 1981.
"This book is a treasure trove of practical information addressing virtually every issue that comes up with aging parents. Linda Fodrini-Johnson is among the eldercare professionals whose advice and insights I trust the most." … From Leslie Kernisan, MD MPH, founder of Better Health While Aging.
Now for full disclosure: I moderate Dr. Kernisan's caregiver support community, “Helping Your Older Parents,” and it's through my work there that I’ve witnessed the expertise and compassion shown by Linda, as well as Michelle Allen, LCSW, and Malka Young, LICSW, CCM. All three GCMs have given me permission to mention them here and have assured me that they provide virtual meetings. Each has my respect for their work as well as for who they are as people.
I’d suggest two things to any of you who are struggling with parent care issues. One, purchase Linda’s book (available on Amazon) so that you have a readily accessible guide to consult along the way. Two, consider a GCM for even one session just to see how much they can help you with your parent care strategy.
Carol Bradley Bursack is a veteran caregiver and an established columnist. She is also a blogger, and the author of “Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories.” Bradley Bursack hosts a website supporting caregivers and elders at www.mindingourelders.com. She can be reached through the contact form on her website.