October is the month where both National Critical Illness Awareness Month is set to take place, as well as Long Term Care Planning Month. Both of these initiatives involve planning for the future and establishing a plan of caring for seniors. In Hernando and elsewhere, activities will be occurring to raise awareness of critical illnesses and dealing with them, as well as considering options available for long-term care for seniors. Senior home care professionals throughout the country will be part of this long-term care planning, since they already account for a considerable percentage of senior care for many families. Continue reading below to find out more about how to plan for the later years of your family’s beloved senior members.
For all the years of our youth, it’s hard to consider ourselves in a situation where we’re living in our golden years, possibly even requiring assistance with regular day-to-day activities. However, most Americans are living much longer these days, and that being the case, it becomes far more likely that some kind of long-term care will eventually be necessary. That’s one of the best reasons for planning for that type of long-term right now.
Long-term care includes any type of personal care which is given over a prolonged period of time, and which usually includes assistance with all those activities associated with daily life. Some of those activities will include dressing, bathing, feeding, taking medications, driving around town, and possibly just providing companionship. All these services can be delivered right in the home by a senior home care professional, by an adult child of the senior, or by employees at an assisted care facility.
Factors to think about right now
If you have a senior person living with you, it’s definitely important that you start thinking immediately about long-term care, and coming to some clear decisions on how this will be provided. For instance, in the event that your senior loved one becomes unable to make good decisions for themselves, who will make those decisions on their behalf? This can be extremely important, especially as it regards medical situations because it’s very possible that at some point in time, your senior parent or loved one will not be able to make such decisions for themself.
Another thing to think about is how the burden of senior care can be eased among family members. Will you be able to rotate care among adult children, or will it be necessary to arrange for in-home professional care from skilled caretakers? This will be even more important if the adult children are working at the same time as they’re trying to provide care for a senior loved one.
That’s one of the things that makes this such a difficult decision. This is the ideal time to start thinking about long-term options that might be available for your senior loved ones. If this kind of consideration is put off indefinitely, it is almost certain to come as a sudden shock when care becomes necessary for your senior loved one, and at that time it will be much more difficult to arrange for care because it has to be done quickly. By planning for it ahead of time, you will be much further ahead of the game, and you’ll already have some idea of how to manage the situation when it does occur.
Long-term care options
In order to choose the best kind of care for your senior loved one’s needs, you may have to consult with some external sources as well as your family members. There are a number of Agencies on Aging that are able to provide information on many of the services available for the elderly in your area. These kinds of services can include in-home care, meal delivery, legal help, and all kinds of nursing services. You might also want to enlist the aid of social workers who can help to coordinate home care services for your senior loved one.
Another aspect of planning for the future should involve end-of-life planning. Distasteful as this process is to most of us, it’s one of the most natural things in the world, and we should plan for it accordingly. When you don’t have any clear plan for this, it can be very difficult when the end comes and it must be considered all at once. At this time, decisions will generally be made on the spot and with a great deal more stress attached, and this brings in the possibility that mistakes might be made.
It’s much more beneficial to plan for end-of-life preparations now, so as to be prepared for it when the time comes. Your senior loved one should have a will or an estate plan, regardless of how many assets they intend to leave behind. It’s the only sure way to have your end-of-life wishes carried out, and this will be the case whether you actually pass on or if you become incapacitated in some way. It’s best to engage the services of an estate planning attorney so that the appropriate documents can be drafted and so the estate plan can be based on your actual wishes.