Aging Well Press

How to be a Care Consultant and Care Manager: Working With Elders and Their Families With Compassion and Respect, by Joan McGinnis and Gary Bloom.

Available at and the Apple Books Store.

A Short Excerpt From Chapter 1

Recently, I spent several unanticipated hours attending to some basic needs of my client: was she fed, was her phone installed?

She had just moved into a pricey assisted-living facility, and during her first day there, had not received the services for which she was being charged. I ended up subsidizing the services of this facility by attending to these things, which meant that my client was paying me for what should have been taken care of by the facility.

I returned home, upset, and began to vent: “It’s a good thing I’m detailed-oriented, because those at the facility aren’t!”

After listening to my frustration, my husband (co-author and go-to consultant) suggested that being detailed-oriented is just a footnote to providing service. Service is being vigilant—alert to your client’s needs, sensitive to their moods. What needed to be done for them, detailed or not, followed from that.

That discussion got me to reflect on the difference between being detailed-oriented versus being sensitive to the needs of clients. A detail-oriented person (or efficiently run facility) would make sure that dinner was always served at 5 p.m., sharp. An individual (or facility) that was sensitive to the needs of clients would make sure their clients are not hungry. Being detail-oriented means every necessary service has been put in place. Being sensitive to the needs of clients means that you make sure those services are working for them. Being detailed-oriented means making sure meds are taken, as prescribed. Being sensitive to clients’ needs means that you observe the effects of those meds: are they helping, are they causing problems, or are they helping in some manner, but causing discomforting side-effects?

There are countless examples of the difference between being detail-oriented and being sensitive to the needs of clients, but in general, it boils down to this: being detail-oriented is about efficiency; being sensitive to the needs of clients is about service.

The Responsibilities of the Care Manager

I could attempt to describe the profession of care management by listing common services that we provide, but as with any complex profession, being a care manager is not service by rote, and it’s not a list of stuff we do, it’s service guided by expertise and concern. The concern part comes from what I expressed above, being sensitive to clients’ needs. That’s necessary, the way fine-motor coordination for a surgeon, dentist, or mechanic is necessary. Expertise comes as always from experience and the training and education necessary to learn from experience.

A care manager is hired for several related reasons. Often, after a care consultant advises a family on the services that need to be put in place, the members of the family decide that they are too busy, too much in conflict, or lack the confidence or skills to follow through on the initial or ongoing advice from the care consultant. Along with having knowledge of a wide variety of services, and knowing which ones will best serve a particular client, a care manager’s main job is to get those services to work in harmony.

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Brad Lancaster


Part I: The Care Manager
1 The Care Manager

Part II: The Client’s Experience
2 Old Age and Loss
3 Why Are They Doing This to Me?
4 The Loss of the Ability to Communicate Makes You a Ghost
5 Religion and Spirituality

Part III: Screening and Assessments
6 Screening and Intake
7 How Things Go Wrong
8 Types of Assessments
9 Introduction to Ongoing and Brief Assessments
10 Introduction to the Comprehensive Written Assessment
11 Comprehensive Written Assessments
12 Care Assessment of Josephine B.
13 Care Assessment of Gary Bloom
14 Care Assessment of Joan Bloom

Part IV: Working with Families
15 The Accidental Care Giver
16 Introduction to Working With Families
17 A Family Session Is Not Family Therapy
18 Who’s the Client?
19 Managing the Family Session
20 How Family Sessions Go Bad

Part V Working With Other Professionals
21 Lawyers
22 Doctors
23 Social Workers
24 Out of Area and Out of State Care Consultants
25 Financial Services
26 Guardians
27 Counselors
28 Assisted Living and Dementia Care

Part VI: Your Career
29 How to Have a Career—Private Practice
30 How to Have a Career—Money, Theirs
31 How to Have a Career—Money, Yours

32 Conclusion



Blurbs From the Back Cover

Families caring for aging elders may sink in relational quicksand. How do I take care of Mom or Dad, and still keep my own life working? Confused, caregiver members often injure themselves or their elders. What to do? Where to turn? McGinnis and Bloom extend a hand to families mired in care quandaries. They tutor professionals who provide care analysis, assessment, and management (or wish to do so). Joan and Gary help families in need of guidance. I practice elder law. I will be giving copies of this book to my clients, so they can profit from this couple’s insights.

Brad Lancaster, JD, Lancaster Law Office

In a practical and humorous manner, McGinnis and Bloom have captured the nuts and bolts, as well as the very human and sometimes messy essence of care consultation and care management. The narrative is useful to anyone considering becoming a care manager, as well as to seasoned care managers curious about the complex problem solving that goes into helping elders and their families navigate the care journey. Steeped in many years of thoughtful and insightful experience, it’s a fun peek into McGinnis’ theoretically sound approach.

Susan Miller, RN, MN, CEO, CareForce, Inc.

A comprehensive guide to the important functions of Care Consultation and Care management. It is well written and filled with knowledge and great examples. I especially enjoyed the care assessments the authors did on themselves—a great exercise for partners to explore preferences for their own care. This book is a useful tool for both aspiring and experienced care managers.

Nora Gibson, MSW, Care Consultant, Full Life Care

This book is a valuable source for anyone wishing to pursue a career in care consultation and care management. Joan McGinnis and Gary Bloom have created an excellent guide, rich with case examples and illustrations of care assessments. With compassion and wisdom, Joan’s wealth of professional experience shines through.

Barb Morgan, MSW, LICSW

Joan McGinnis and Gary Bloom present clear pathways for care consultants and care managers to support elders and their families who are going through difficult and complex transitions.

Cecilia London, MSW, LCSW

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