By Gleria and Tommy Anderson
Home Care Assistance
The most important thing in planning? Do so in advance. We’re very good at saving for college, planning for mortgage and tax payments, investing in an IRA, but when it comes to planning for the care of an aging loved one, too often we don’t have a plan until there is a problem. If our parents are elderly, but healthy and are still living independently, we tend to not worry, but realistically that reality could change overnight with a medical emergency and the need for long-term care, or a sudden, unexpected death.
Putting together a caregiving plan for your loved ones and other family members now, versus later, can eliminate problems at home and at work in the future, when a once-independent parent needs more consistent care. In the middle of an emergency, we don’t always make the best decisions, let alone the decisions our parents may want; there can also be a lot of family tension and financial strain. With a plan in place this stress can be mitigated.
Most importantly, with advance planning, parents can decide their future while they can. They can choose what they want, where they want to be. They are in fact the most affected by a crisis, so we need to know – in advance – what their wishes and priorities are. They need to be an integral part of the planning process. Before it’s too late. No one likes the idea of having no control over their future.
- Prepare to talk. A planning session for the adult children before approaching parents.
- Form a team. The most important members of your team are your parents; or those who will be receiving care, they need to be involved if possible.
- Assess future needs & available resources. You and your parents need to anticipate future needs and they need to clearly define their priorities – where they want to live, what their finances can afford, etc. Take stock of the financial resources available, such as pensions, social security, and personal investments.
- Make a plan. Put future actions in writing. Plan for the last stages of life, not the end of lift. Have a household and financial management back up plan. Health care directive, living wills, POA document in place.
- Take action. Hopefully your plan will not have to put into action for many years, but you will have some peach o mind knowing g the tools are in place when it’s needed.