1. What led you to become a Geriatric Care Manager?
I think there’s a lot to be learned about a person by how he or she responds to this question. Listen for genuineness and most of all, listen for an acknowledgment that he or she enjoys working with seniors! If this piece is missing, it would be a red flag for me.
2. What educational opportunities have you sought to enhance your skill at providing effective geriatric care management?
Those with degrees (B.A., M.A., PhD) in fields related to care management like social work, gerontology, psychology, mental health, counseling, and nursing (including non-degreed RNs) are particularly well suited to be Geriatric Care Managers. However, individuals who have changed careers in order to realize their passion to work with seniors and who have acquired knowledge and experience to do so competently can be equally effective.
Regardless of the path to becoming a Geriatric Care Manager, good ones continuously seek out opportunities to expand their knowledge of aging-related issues throughout their careers. Examples of continuing education opportunities include: taking community college courses, participating in Geriatric Care Management Certification Programs, completing online courses, and attending workshops offered through professional organizations.
When a Geriatric Care Manager takes the time to expand his or her knowledge of issues that are pertinent to his or her work they are demonstrating a commitment to the caliber of that work. That’s a good thing.
3. How long have you been practicing geriatric care management and what are you best at?
Length of time in practice is not always a measure of competency, but it is one possible sign. Aside from having a pool of clients whom they’ve helped and whom they should welcome you contacting, Geriatric Care Managers in practice for a few years or more should have strong knowledge of the resources in the community in which they work and an ever-growing list of individuals/companies whom they collaborate with as needed to better assist their clients (think elder law attorneys, physical therapists, handymen, home care agencies, transportation companies, etc.).
If you do ask about length of time in practice, consider following up with a question about whom in the community they work with on a regular basis and seek these individuals out as professional references.
If the person you’re interviewing is new to the field, this should not deter you from hiring him or her so much as it should stir you to look for other indicators of competence. One of the best ways to do that is to engage the Geriatric Care Manager in a self-assessment.
What you’re looking for here is to confirm that he or she has successfully assisted seniors and their families with problems and concerns similar to yours. Asking about what they feel they are best at, what interventions they’re most proud of and even what types of situations they would feel least prepared to handle will give you good insight into how they approach their work and where their skills lie.
4. What are your fees and why do you think you are the best person to assist me?
Not only is it a good idea to discuss fees, but it makes sense to request an explanation of fees in writing. Typically, a Geriatric Care Manager will charge an initial assessment fee and then expect to be paid an hourly rate for services thereafter. I would strongly suggest inquiring at the outset about what activities constitute “billable” time so that there are no surprises on your bill. Also, it’s important to ask about any “over time” charges such as when a Geriatric Care Manager may assist you in an emergency situation.
With regard to the second part of this question, please remember this: no matter how you slice it, Geriatric Care Management services can be expensive. As such you should feel confident that you are enlisting the help of someone whom you can trust and who will work to make things better. Geriatric Care Management is a rapidly growing field. This means that you have choices and therefore the right to be selective.