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Geriatric Care Management News and Caregiver Tips!

The Caregiver’s Journey

By Mark Narvaez, Care Manager

Rosalynn Carter, former first lady and founder of the Rosalynn Carter Caregiving Institute has noted, “There are only four kinds of people in the world—those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who need caregivers”. Currently, in America, 65 million caregivers make up 29% of the adult population. Indeed, we are rapidly becoming a Caregiver Nation, each one with their own personal and poignant story to tell.

Each November, we celebrate and pay tribute to our caregivers during National Family Caregiver Awareness Month. At the same time, we must also note the significant challenges and risks which caregiving entails. At the recent 8th Annual Family Caregiver Conference, Keynote Speaker, Barbara Michels, metaphorically and accurately, referenced the “journey of the caregiver” and the need for each to develop a “roadmap” in embarking on their personal journey.

A few of the important considerations in preparing and planning one’s caregiving roadmap, include:

Preparing and Planning for the Journey:
With the awareness that, at any moment, we may be called on to take-up the caregiving journey, it is never too early to begin to develop and plan our roadmap. Even after beginning the journey, planning and making adjustments to our map along the way is essential;

Taking Care of Yourself:
Caregivers are often selfless in their commitment to care, often at the risk of their own physical, psychological and spiritaul health. From the outset, it is important to allow yourself to consider and plan for those practices and activities which support one’s own on-going health and well-being.

Learn the Landscape:
A key component in taking care of oneself and our loved ones, is in coming to intimately know the aging process, disease and/or condition which we are confronting in our caregiver role and responsibilities. A key component in taking care of oneself is being able to anticipate the stop, starts, turns and hazards which might lie ahead;

Seeking Directions:
In beginning any journey, it is useful to have help in navigating the road ahead. This includes being willing to pull-over on occasion to ask for direction. With the increased complexity of our health care, insurance, legal, financial, public benefit and service eligibility systems, it is important to seek out assistance from those professional, and others, including other caregivers, who travel these roads daily or have in the past, and are familiar with the network of community resources which exist to serve and assist us;

Seeking & Keeping Good Company:
Caregiving is a “job of jobs”. We need not and, in most cases, cannot embark on our caregiving journey alone. On any journey we take, it is an asset to have kind, caring, helpful and supporting company. In addition to those specialists and experts who can assist, it is useful to identify those within our more informal support network of family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and acquaintances who might also welcome the opportunity to “walk beside us” and contribute time, experience, expertise and other “gifts” in giving-back to you and your loved one;

Blessings of the Journey:

While the caregiving journey often presents many risks and challenges, as any longtime caregiver will tell you it also brings with it many blessings, in its’ humanity and commitment to fundamental values and virtues. 

“While on your caregiving journey, remember that a whole network of local organizations and virtual/web-based resources have come into being in responding to and assisting with your caregiver issues, concerns and needs. These include: Area Agencies on Aging; non-profit organizations focused on specific disease conditions; local support groups; educational classes; caregiver web-sites, chat rooms and blogs and, of course, ourselves at Geriatric Care Management LLC!

A few helpful caregiver websites are:

THANK YOU TO ALL THE CAREGIVERS! As the Lebanese poet, Kahlil Gibran wrote in his classic work, The Prophet, “For this (we) cherish you most, you give much and know not that you give at all”. 

GCM News

We have moved and are happy to be in our new offices:  2730 San Pedro, NE – Suite E, ABQ, NM  87110.
Martha (Marty) Brown, MSW, CMC, NCG and Kimberly Gyle, MSW, MSG are just back from the Annual conference of the Western Regional Chapter of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, where they presented on “Eccentricity:  Dementia or Mental Illness in our Elders?”  (More on this topic in future issues.)

Mark Narvaez, BA presented on a panel at the Annual Caregiver’s conference “Caregiving:  The Heart of the Journey” in November 2012 sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association.  The topic was entitled,  “Off the Beaten Path”.


Kimberly Gyle was elected to the Board of the NM Guardianship Association and Marty is just going off the board.


Geriatric Care Management is a new member of the NM Estate Planning Council.

We are grateful for all our very qualified and caring staff that are with our GCM/Silver Runner team!  And we wish you the best this Thanksgiving and holiday season! 

Our staff/family continues to grow:

GCM has a new Care manager, Bonnie Bowlin, LPN. Bonnie joined us in July and her experience includes working in specialty dementia care assisted living settings for the last 16+ years.  We are proud to have her join our team.


Asia Negron-Esposito, MS in Gerontology and a professional Journalist, Writer and Illustrator joined us in November to help prepare the monthly

And Brianna Matel, MSW, continues to help prepare the monthly e-newsletter and is getting ready to expand her family with the expectation of a new baby boy in March, 2013.

Copyright © 2012 GCM
Office: (505) 897-3009 Toll Free: (866) 997-3009
Silver Runner: (505) 872-0451



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The Silver Runner allows seniors to schedule transportation based on their agenda and their needs. No waiting around for the “Senior Bus” to possibly show up on time, and then ride along to each persons destination until you finally arrive at yours. The Silver Runner is a personalized transportation company that gets you to and from where you want to go when you want to do so. In offering our “door-thru-door” service, we are able to offer families the peace of mind that their loved one is being well cared for. The Silver Runner is dedicated to providing quality, safe, and reliable transportation services to the aging population of New Mexico. By assisting individuals from within their place of residence into their final destination we are able to ensure the quality and safety of each trip.

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The GCM Newsletter – September

Planning for All Futures: GCM Can Help

It is common for people to talk about planning for the future and planning for retirement, but not many people talk about planning for memory loss. According to the Alzheimerʼs Associationʼs 2012 report, over 5.4 million people are currently living with Alzheimerʼs Disease, which is just one of the many forms of dementia. One in eight Americans have Alzheimerʼs Disease. As the number of people in the U.S. being diagnosed with a form of dementia increases, this talk about planning for the future is becoming even more important.

Early conversations are imperative. They allow families to plan on a variety of levels. First, early interventions allow for the person, diagnosed with any form of dementia, to seek medical treatment right away. Getting a diagnosis and finding a trusted medical professional allows the person to explore all medical opportunities. They may be candidates for medications that may or may not slow the progression of the disease. They may also be interested in pursuing life changes that could impact their overall health. Programs are springing up all over the country that focus on Brain Health and provide opportunities for those in the early stages of memory loss to stay active and receiveopportunities for those in the early stages of memory loss to stay active and receive support from people experiencing similar issues. It also allows caregivers to seek support early on how to cope with changes.

Talking about memory issues also allows families to make financial plans. Sometimes, some of the earliest signs of memory loss occur when a person makes poor financial decisions. Since people with memory loss are at an increased risk of being victims of financial fraud, interventions allow the family to meet with financial planners and attorneys to protect the personʼs financial interests and provide them with the greatest number of options for future care. A recent article in Kiplingerʼs, entitled “Prepare for the Financial Impact of Alzheimer’s”, did a great job of addressing the financial needs of planning for Alzheimer’s.

Finally, early intervention allows the person who has been diagnosed to be a part of the planning process while they are still able to make decisions. The person may express that they would like to remain at home, if possible, and may want to make some safety modifications to their home. Some may want to move closer to their children, who could help. Others may express that they would like to live in an assisted living facility or other community where they could receive support. Allowing the person to be a part of the process of selecting a facility or even transitioning to a new home in the early stages of the disease, increases their chances of being comfortable and feeling at home in the new setting.

All of this early planning and conversations allows the family to know that they are meeting the wishes of the person living with memory loss and removes some of the stress, worry and guilt that families feel when they have to make these decisions. At Geriatric Care Management, we work with families in all stages of dementia and to help clarify which type of dementia their loved one has: Alzheimerʼs, Frontal Temporal, Vascular, Lewybody, Alcohol related, mixed dementias, etc. and what to expect. We can meet with families and the person who is experiencing memory loss to do screening and evaluation about being home alone, driving, and what specialists to see. We can make recommendations also on financial planners, needed legal documents and refer to attorneys to prepare those, as well as specific programs and facilities that could provide the services that person and their family may need.

If you would like a consultation about planning for memory loss,
please call to schedule an appointment. 897-3009

– Brianna Matel, MSW

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