Geriatric Care Managers: Liaison with Conservators for Coordination of Care

Geriatric Care Managers can help ConservatorshipsWe all like to think we’re prepared for the eventuality of growing old, but unfortunately, circumstances can sometimes spiral quickly out of control. Your healthy, active parent – who feels she has years to worry about things like durable powers of attorney – may one day suffer a debilitating stroke. Suddenly, she’s unable to make decisions and worse, unable to choose her own advocate. At this point, a legal conservatorship might need to be considered.

Legal conservators are appointed and overseen by the court system. A conservatorship can be created when a judge decides that a person (called the “conservatee”) can’t take care of their financial affairs, or themselves or both. When that happens, the court chooses another party, a person or an organization, (called the “conservator”) to be in charge of the conservatee’s care or finances, or both.

In California, there are two kinds of conservatorships:

  • Conservatorship of the person, in which the physical care of the person is controlled by the conservator
  • Conservatorship of the estate, in which the person’s financial affairs are controlled by the conservator

Sometimes, the conservator of the person and the conservator of the estate are the same person, but if they’re not, geriatric care managers do an excellent job of keeping everyone updated about your loved one’s health and home or long-term care situation.

A conservatorship is not something to enter into lightly.  In a conservatorship, the court is taking rights away from the conservatee.  Because of that, conservatorships are complex legal arrangements that can lead to large legal fees and other costs.  When possible, less costly alternatives such as trustee arrangements should be considered as well.  Expert advice from an elder law attorney is needed in order to select the most appropriate approach.

Geriatric care managers help with crisis management when the unexpected happens, offer professional, objective advice about the care of your loved one, and provide status reports to you and to appointed conservators (or trustees). Whether or not advanced planning works out quite like you hoped, court-appointed conservators, caregivers, and a competent geriatric care manager working together can help make the best of difficult situations when they arise.

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Tim Colling

Tim Colling is the founder and President of A Servant's Heart In-Home Care, which provided in-home caregiving services in San Diego County, and also of A Servant's Heart Geriatric Care Management, which provided
professional geriatric care management services and long term care placement services in San Diego County. Tim has more than 30 years of experience in management in a variety of industries. He held a Certified Care Manager credential from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers. Tim is also a Certified Public Accountant (retired), and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from California State University at San Diego. In addition to writing blog posts here for the Servant’s Heart blog, Tim also is a regular contributor to HealthLine.com and to FamilyAffaires.com as well as blogs of other eldercare services provider companies. Finally, Tim is also the president of A Servant's Heart Web Design and Marketing, which provides home care marketing as well as website design and online marketing for those who serve the elderly and their families.

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