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Free Evaluation to Address Needs of Elderly or Disabled

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How do you know if it is the right time to look for assisted living or a nursing home? There are resources that can help you to choose the right solution for you. The first resource that most of us heard about is hiring a Geriatric Care Manager. These managers are trained in social services, psychology, nursing and counseling.

Geriatric Care Managers assess your health, living environment, emotions and ability to handle daily living activities. They will then make recommendations to you or your family about the options available to you. They can help you to decide if you can stay at home with services or if you should pursue assisted care or nursing home. They can even help you to find the best placement. Geriatric Care Managers charge a fee for their service usually on an hourly basis which can range from $60 and up. Before you decide to hire a Geriatric Care Manager you should make sure they are certified by calling the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers at 520-881-8088 or visit them on the internet at www.caremanager.com.

What if you can get all the services from a Geriatric Care Manger but it was free! There is a program out there which is run by the Maryland Medicaid known as the Adult Evaluation and Review Services (AERS). Anyone age 18 or over, elderly or disabled, who are at risk of nursing home placement can receive a free evaluation regardless of income. A team of nurses, social workers and psychiatrists provide a comprehensive medical/nursing evaluation in the individual's home. The team develops a plan of care that recommends services to enable the individual to remain at home or in the least restrictive environment. There are a lot of services out there to help the elderly and disabled stay in their own home including healthcare aids, durable medical equipment, shoppers and even people to help pay bills. The information gathered in the evaluation is used to link the client with appropriate support services.

The evaluation is usually by self referral and is non-obligating if you wish not to proceed. If you like the recommendations you can pursue obtaining them on your own or you may request a case manager to assist you. Although the Adult Evaluation and Review Services are free for all, case management services are provided to Medicaid recipients' at no charge; others are charged on a sliding fee scale.

To request an Adult Evaluation and Review Service call your local health department or the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Division of Long Term Care Services in Baltimore, MD at 410-767-6767.

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