‘90s FAMILY : Try Putting a ‘Care Manager’ on the Case

Items are from Times staff and wire services

Trying to arrange long-distance care for elderly or ill parents can present adult children with a maze of confusing providers and sources. The way out may be a professional care manager.

Care managers, also called case managers, often have a background in nursing, social work or gerontology, according to Good Housekeeping magazine, and they have taken over the role of health service brokers.

They arrange and supervise health and social services for elderly and disabled clients, overseeing home health care staffing needs, monitoring the quality of in-home services and equipment, and acting as a liaison with families living far away.

Private care managers can be expensive--$50 to $150 an hour. Medicaid or other publicly funded programs may provide care managers to qualifying families. Some insurers also provide care managers.


Health Can Mirror Beliefs, Study Shows

Traditional beliefs can affect the survival of people with serious disease, a study of Chinese Americans in California has found.

Compared with European Americans who died of the same illness, the Chinese Americans who believed that they had been born in an ill-fated year died anywhere from one to four years sooner, the Harvard Mental Health newsletter reported in its May issue.

In traditional Chinese astrology and medicine, people born in certain years are thought to be more susceptible to certain diseases. The authors speculated that people born in such years died because they thought death was inevitable.


‘Theme Gardens’ Help Grow Green Thumbs

Planning a “theme garden” is one way to get children interested in gardening, says Lawn and Garden magazine.

For example, a “pizza garden” could include basil, oregano, tomatoes and peppers.

Other suggestions:


* Grow “fun foods,” such as sunflower seeds, popcorn and purple pod beans, which change color after cooking.

* Try varieties suited for little hands, such as miniature pumpkins, cherry tomatoes and “baby” carrots.

* Family File appears every Wednesday on this page.