Did you know that only 13% of Seniors have a plan for long-term care? Having conversations and making decisions BEFORE it’s needed not only ensures that Seniors are able to have a say in how they live out their life, but also takes the pressure off the shoulders of their Caregiver to make tough decisions.
8 out of 10 times, when a client comes to us to help find community options or resources, it’s usually in a time of crisis. Weighing options and coordinating when things are rushed and emotional makes the process even more overwhelming. Here are 4 steps to creating a long term care plan with your loved one:
- Start the Conversation: It’s important to remember that the BEST TIME to make a plan for long term care is when you don’t need it. When there’s no pressure and you can discuss Plan A, but also Plan B and C. The future is unknown, but having correct expectations about pros/cons, costs and what is required is critical to making the best decisions as a family.
- Get Legal Documents in Place: Once an emergency strikes, it is usually too late to prepare necessary documents, and this can add so much unnecessary stress and confusion. It’s important that as your loved one’s Caregiver, that you are legally able to manage their care. Two of the most important documents are Power of Attorney, which enables a person to handle specific healthcare decisions on their behalf, and Advanced Health Care Directive, otherwise known as a living will. This allows people to record their wishes for end-of-life care and avoids Caregivers agonizing over difficult medical decisions. An Elder Care Lawyer is your best resource to help with this step.
- Research Care Options: There are many options when it comes to aging in place at home, in-home care, Assisted Living Communities and other alternatives. It’s important to look at the advantages and disadvantage and costs associated with them so correct expectations are set. For example, living at home may be preferred, but if 24/7 physical or cognitive support is needed, it may not be financially viable. But don’t stress, THIS is where Sunways comes in! Our free service helps compare and contrast your options and create a gameplan.
- Assess Financials: Even though it’s often uncomfortable talking about money, this step is critical. As your loved one’s Caregiver, you need to know what is possible and within their means…not just now, but as more care is needed down the road. For starters, knowing their monthly income that usually includes Social security and any pensions, retirement funds, etc. If they are a Veteran or Veteran’s Spouse/Widow(er), they may also be eligible for Aid and Attendance which can be put towards monthly care costs. Also, take into account savings, investment accounts, trusts and other assets so you begin to get a clear picture.
Caregivers are responsible for so many day-to-day decisions and responsibilities. Starting the long term care planning with your loved one allows you to take some of that burden off your shoulders and allows you to rest easy that you know their wishes. Reach out to us directly to brainstorm or create a custom step-by-step plan to make sure you know all your options!