Sometimes, old age can take us by surprise. Your Father may be living happily on his own until one day, he falls and breaks a bone. Overnight his world changes, and you become a caregiver with an overwhelming list of new responsibilities. Or, perhaps you have known for a while that your Mother has memory issues, but haven’t been too concerned. Then, one day she becomes lost, and the possibilities of what could have happened shake you to the core. You know at that moment that your Mother can no longer be left alone.
The challenges of aging can change your life in an instant. And, in that instant, you may not have time to search for the best course of action. Planning ahead helps to keep chaos at a minimum, and assures that your family member receives the care and resources he needs. So, instead of just responding to emergency situations, you remain in control and ahead of the curve. Instead of searching frantically for resources, you have them at your fingertips. And, instead of regrets, you have peace of mind in knowing that you have done all that you could in caring for your loved one.
Where do you start? Contacting an Aging Life Care Manager is a good way to begin making a plan for care. A Care Manager can meet with you and your family members to plan for health care and other challenging issues that accompany aging. The Care Manager will review medical history, finances, support systems and area resources to help you and your older family member make a plan for aging gracefully and with the best possible care strategy.
If a crisis has already occurred, a Care Manager can immediately put resources into place, and then work with your family to move forward with a plan of care. Preparing for the future not only means locating the appropriate resources, but also talking with loved ones about their wishes for the “what-ifs” in life. In the event of a health crisis, does your family member want to remain at home, or is he open to moving to a residential facility? Does she have the financial resources to pay for care? It is a good idea to get the individual’s wishes in writing while he is still able to express them.
Other considerations include:
- Handling legal matters such as medical and financial powers of attorney.
- Discussing financial matters with an advisor to determine what resources are available for long term care.
- Visiting residential communities to get a sense of cost and services offered.
- Having a safety check of the house to determine if physical or cognitive disabilities can be accommodated.
- Documenting the location of important paperwork and passwords for personal technology
Planning for care for an older adult can not only save time and money, but will also help families avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety. A Care Manager is always available to provide the support and assistance you need.