Elder care planning is a critical part of a senior’s long-term care. It’s often the most overlooked aspect, as many people make significant effort planning for other life phases, like home ownership, retirement, and a child’s college education. This means decisions about a senior’s long-term care are often a knee-jerk reaction and made at the 11th hour. It shouldn’t be the case. With the majority of the population likely to get aged between 2015 and 2050, families need to make elder care solutions a priority. Here’s more about the subject.
What Is an Elder Care Plan?
It’s a plan to help seniors enjoy a healthy life as they age. Also referred to as geriatric care, it encompasses subjects like long-term life care planning, estate planning, life-sustaining treatment, among other issues. Adult children and other family caregivers often make plans to ensure their loved one’s needs are met. However, discussing elder care solutions requires great detail and patience from both parties. Unless you are a professional, you might not be the best person to implement some of the plan’s steps. However, you can create a checklist to help get the plan on track. Let’s look at essential things to include in an elderly care plan.
Organize the Paperwork
The legal documents should be up to date, and copies of documents regarding the senior’s identification, finances, and health should be in the hands of a family member who is acting as an advocate. While some parents find it difficult to disclose their financial affairs with their children, it’s important to inform at least one adult child. The most important information to include in the list is the following:
- The financial checklist: Wills, trusts, bank accounts, investments, charge cards, and life insurance
- Parent’s advisors: The lawyer, accountant, doctor, accountant, and tax advisor
- Health care checklist: Living will, long-term care insurance, a list of medications, and nursing home
- Basics: Insurance cards, driver’s license, friends’ phone numbers, safe deposit box, marriage records, copies of birth certificates
Coordinate All the Caregivers
The most important person of the whole plan is the elderly person in question, thus you can’t make decisions without their consent. Also, any shared decision-making must be made with a clear understanding of the loved one’s needs and future wishes. However, if the patient has dementia or another mental incapacitation, the guardian should make such decisions on their behalf. Consider informing close friends and family members providing care to the senior to reduce conflict as well. On the same note, it’s essential to appoint one person to facilitate communication and coordinate discussions among all the members. It can be an adult child, the patient care advocate, or the person with a power of attorney.
Understand Your Role As a Caregiver
Whether part of your elder care solutions is hiring a caregiver or family members are assuming that role, it’s important to explain their responsibilities. Apart from preparing meals and feeding the loved one, they will be required to administer medication and understand symptoms that need attention. They must also understand the loved one’s emotional needs. If the loved one’s needs are too overwhelming for family members, it may be time to admit them to an elder care facility.
Offering a Range of Elder Care Solutions
Many seniors prefer staying at home or receiving community-based caregiving instead of getting admitted to a nursing home. While it’s a viable solution, the loved one may need 24/7 care, which is only possible in an assisted living institution. When evaluating different elder care solutions, it’s important to look at some pitfalls:
- Whether the caregiver has the physical ability and training to provide quality care to their spouse
- How do you pay for elder care service if admitting the loved one in a nursing home?
- Do you know that health insurance plans don’t cover long-term care expenses? If relying on Medicaid, it’s important to note that it pays for 100 days of care under specific conditions, and the beneficiary co-pays after day 20
- How long will your assets last if obliged to pay for long-term expenses?
As with any plan, it’s important to re-evaluate it and adjust it to the caregiver or loved’s needs. Well-thought-out elder care solutions help families work together and improve the loved one’s quality of life.