Turning to a Geriatric Care Manager: Assisted Living

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old couple in a home care agency for alzheimers careAnn and Stefan Hoffer were both working full-time at the Federal Aviation Administration and raising two teenage boys when Stefan’s father passed away and his mother moved in to their home. Mrs. Hoffer had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but Ann and Stefan did not realize how far the disease had progressed until she came to live with them.

The couple sought assistance with Mrs. Hoffer’s care from several home care agencies. Unfortunately, they found that the home care providers were often unreliable, showing up late or not at all. They were discussing the challenges of finding good care in their support group, and one of the other members suggested that they consult with a geriatric care manager. The individual referred them to Ann O’Neil, Inc., and they began working with Lana Wingate, a care manager with the firm.

Stefan recalls spending “literally hours” on the phone searching for good care for his mother, but admits that he was unsuccessful because he “couldn’t see the whole picture.” Lana was able to provide a comprehensive care plan for Mrs. Hoffer that helped bridge the gap between her needs and the providers available to meet those needs.

The first step in Lana’s care plan was to set the Hoffers up with a reliable home care service. “People started showing up on time; we finally had peace of mind, knowing we could count on the providers,” says Stefan. Ann continues, “Lana is so knowledgeable and professional, and she knows the industry inside and out. She was able to turn our situation around very quickly.”

After arranging for quality home care, Lana helped the Hoffers locate a physician who was taking new Medicare patients, something they had been trying to do unsuccessfully for months. As Mrs. Hoffer’s needs changed, Lana found first an assisted living community and later a nursing facility that could provide the care she needed. She identified communities close to the Hoffers’ home, told them which ones to avoid and which ones to consider, and made appointments for them to visit the prospective communities.

During their community visits, they learned just how integral Lana’s experience as a former Director of Nursing is to her effectiveness as a geriatric care manager. Stefan notes, “She was able to ask the right questions because she truly speaks the language of the industry.”

In addition to helping the Hoffers negotiate the continuum of care, Lana also offered emotional support. “When Mrs. Hoffer goes to the emergency room, Lana is always right there. She manages the whole thing; she is always so calm and informed,” Ann says. The Hoffers are relieved to have found a care manager who is not only “the ultimate professional” but also “a truly sensitive and genuinely nice person.” Knowing that Mrs. Hoffer is in such good hands, Ann and Stefan can fully enjoy their recent retirement.

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