Most families have a plan for the future so they save money for college and invest in their insurance or retirement etc. However, when it comes to creating a caregiving plan for senior parents, most don’t give it a thought until issues begin to arise and it’s time to seriously start thinking about how best to take care of their ageing parents.
And it’s not that they don’t care for their senior loved ones. It’s more about being hesitant, or not ready to accept the fact that someone they love will go through changes in their lives. Just the thought of their senior parents losing independence or getting sick can be disheartening.
According to Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families by the AARP Foundation, it can make matters worse if you fail to create a caregiving plan for your senior parents earlier. Your senior loved ones may end up suffering the most. On the other hand, preparing for senior caregiving in advance may help you and your family avoid issues arising at home and even at work. Most importantly, everyone will be able to provide consistent, quality senior care.
This AARP Foundation guide listed 5 steps to an ideal senior caregiving plan:
Prepare to have a discussion with your senior loved ones and family members
Some family members may refuse to have a talk; they will think that it’s too early. Your senior parents, on the other hand, may hesitate to be the focus of the discussion. They may not even entertain the idea of them dealing with the loss of independence, sickness, and other issues associated with aging. They might immediately drop your suggestion for a talk. So, what should you do?
Before you gather everyone, approach the family member who is best to head the discussion and explain the importance of planning. If they understand your purpose, think about how you can convince everyone to come together. It may also help if you anticipate how other family members will react and think of possible responses to persuade them.
Build the team
As soon as everyone is around to discuss the caregiving plan, make sure to listen to what each family member says. Everyone must be heard. On the side of the senior parents, ask them what their goals are. To remain at home, stay healthy and active, take classes, and join social activities within the community are only some of the possible goals they could have in mind.
Appoint a leader, who will make sure that the team is following the process and all the things that have been discussed. It’s good to have a person, whom everyone can talk to in case of changes or issues.
Assess the needs of the seniors
The family team must identify the needs of each senior parent. For an easier process, divide them into areas of need. The AARP Foundation has a list of the areas of need and the tasks that come with it. For home maintenance and living situation list includes housekeeping, home repair, grocery shopping, lawn care, and safety concerns. For financial affairs it includes things like paying bills, keeping a record of finances, and monitoring public benefits programs.
To see the complete list, you may visit this link (beginning page 9): https://assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org_/articles/foundation/aa66r2_care.pdf
Make a Plan
After forming the team and assessing the needs, it’s time to create the caregiving plan. Host a family meeting. Prepare food for everyone to feast on after a difficult discussion so everyone can relax. If a face-to-face meeting isn’t possible due to COVID-19 restrictions, you may continue making a caregiving plan through video call. Make sure one of you is taking down notes. The leader can designate one member to manage each area of needs not only for division of responsibilities but also to make sure that each task is attended to. For instance, you take care of financial affairs. You monitor the finances that are coming in every month, the bills that you have to pay on time, and the medicines that you have to buy regularly.
Everyone will only know the efficiency of the caregiving plan created when it’s time to implement it. Now, give each a copy of the caregiving plan with names and responsibilities already indicated. Follow each religiously. However, the family does not need to stick to it; make some changes if it is necessary to improve the plan, and more importantly, to make things more comfortable for the seniors.
If you know from the start that it’s not possible to accomplish a caregiving plan for your senior parents without the help of an in-home caregiver to provide senior care, then give us a call and we will gladly assist you!