Mark Zilberman, LCSW, is the Director of NorthStar Care and Guidance, LLC, a geriatric care management agency devoted to guiding and managing the special medical, psychological and social needs of seniors, their families and disabled people of all ages.
Mark acquired his Social Work degree from SUNY at Stony Brook. He acquired professional specializations including Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor in alcohol and substance abuse treatment.
Since 2000, Mark has dedicated his time to geriatric care management. He is a member of National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers and National Association of Social Workers. He also assists the Board of Directors for the New York chapter of NAPGCM.
Passare Expert Series | Mark Zilberman, LCSW
Welcome to the latest Passare’s Expert Series, a forum for our experts to share their insights directly. Today we welcome Passare Expert Contributor Mark Zilberman, LCSW. Mr. Zilberman is the Director of NorthStar Care & Guidance, LLC, a geriatric care management agency devoted to guiding and managing the medical, psychological and social needs of seniors, their families and disabled people of all ages. Mr. Zilberman has dedicated his career to elder care advocacy and management. He is a member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) and National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
Passare: Welcome Mark. Please tell us about what a Geriatric Care Manager does.
Mark: I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and I specialize in substance abuse treatment and treatment for the mentally ill and homeless. I wanted to better serve my clients by expanding my skills to include support for the elderly, so I acquired geriatric care management training and credentials through the NAPGCM. I am now in my 14th year as a Geriatric Care Manager (GMC).
A professional GCM is a health and human services specialist who is a guide and advocate for families caring for elder relatives or disabled adults. GCMs are generally trained in many fields including nursing, gerontology, social work or psychology. My skills and social work background were a natural fit for supporting the special needs of the elderly.
Passare: Why did you choose geriatric care management?
Mark: As a LCSW I saw a concrete need to professionally address the needs of the elderly. Elder issues are present in many of the families and individuals I counsel, especially adult children who are caring for or managing issues related to elderly parents. Many need to help or support their aging parents yet are completely unprepared to cope or make decisions about their care. There are also cases where well elder adults are caring for a disabled or mentally ill adult child.
Sometimes, adult children are at odds with their siblings about how to handle their aging parents’ decline. There seems to be a natural, ongoing, critical need for elder advocacy as well as a need for managing complex family dynamics.
Passare: When do people contact you and what services do you provide?
Mark: Adult children often contact or are referred to me when they begin to notice that their elderly parent is acting “differently” due to an age-related condition. For example, their parent can no longer manage their home, pay their bills, prepare meals, shop or manage medications.
Often there is a recent diagnosis of an age-related illness like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and the parent can no longer live alone. Or, there is an imminent discharge from a hospital requiring home care and monitoring of an aging loved one. Sometimes, the family lives a long distance away and must consider an assisted living or nursing facility for their elderly loved one, but aren’t sure how to find the resources they need.
GCMs assist elderly patients in attaining their maximum functional potential by encouraging independence while addressing safety and security concerns. GCMs have extensive knowledge about the costs, quality and availability of elder care resources in their communities.
Passare: How do people learn about your services?
Mark: People are often referred to me through their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at work, or are referred by nurses, community agencies, hospital discharge planners, adult protective services, legal professionals, nursing homes or healthcare providers that understand the specialized elder care services and resources that I offer.
Passare: Can you give us an example of your services?
Mark: Sure. I helped a family where there were multiple adult children involved in the care of their elder parents. Each of the adult siblings had differing levels of commitment, resentment and “positions” that they held within the family dynamic.
When it was time to face the decline of their aging parents, they each held different views of how treatment, care and End of Life decision-making should be managed. It was important to have an objective person to help them sort out their issues with each other, and to identify what decisions needed to be made to best support their parents, who could no longer care for themselves.
Family dynamics can be complex. Managing these issues often must be done in conjunction with serving the needs of the elderly parents. My skills as a therapist and social worker are integral to my success as a GCM.
Passare: Why don’t more people know about GCMs given our increasingly aging population?
Mark: The field of Geriatric Care Management is relatively new – only about 30 years old - in the US. Only recently has there been specific, established criteria for assessing and certifying geriatric care management professionals. The field is comprised of mostly healthcare professionals, like nurses, social workers and gerontologists, who now must be certified through the NAPGCM. A great resource for learning more about GCMs and their certification requirements are on the NAPGCM website at: www.caremanager.org.
Passare: What interests you most about elder care and End of Life management?
Mark: Helping people solve problems and achieve peace of mind so that they can better enjoy their lives and families is very motivating and inspiring to me.
Passare: What does Passare offer the consumer that aligns with your professional objectives?
Mark: Passare offers a “one-stop shop” where people can conveniently learn about everything related to End of Life planning and management, from healthcare options and resources to legal, financial and funeral planning. It’s a comprehensive approach to elder care and End of Life management that provides expert resources that anyone and everyone will need.
Passare: Thank you for partnering with Passare Mark. We appreciate your expertise and look forward to learning more about Geriatric Care Management services for elders and their families.