To the Editor:
I found the article ''Services for the Elderly Who Don't Want to Move'' [May 9, some regional editions] very empowering in encouraging seniors to remain at home with supportive services. I am disturbed however that the article neglected to discuss the important role of geriatric care managers other than mentioning them as surrogates to absent family members.
Geriatric care managers have a multifaceted role. They are skilled professionals who advocate for seniors. They are trained to clinically evaluate the needs of older adults and assist with ongoing monitoring and placement of services (for medical needs as well as safety in the home, or for concrete needs such as house repairs and coordinating visits to doctors or other professionals). They can offer emotional support regarding serious issues of depression, bereavement, retirement and transitions due to physical limitations and life-style adjustment, as well as promote socialization and exercise.
As a society we have become fearful of Health Maintenance Organizations that make medical decisions using nonmedical staff, or that are concerned about profits instead of what's in the best interest of the insured.
Relationships established with seniors, family members and geriatric care managers should be part of a continuing dialogue to create a safe and comfortable independent life style, not just a service to call when the leaves need collection or the grass needs to be mowed.
TERI KOFF, A.C.S.W.
Geriatric Care Manager Manhattan