Caring for an elderly or ill loved one can be one of the most rewarding experiences of one’s life. While challenging at times, caregiving is full of unexpected joys.
If you’re providing comfort and care for a loved one, developing a senior care plan is an important first step in your caregiving journey.
A senior care plan provides comprehensive direction for individualized care of your loved one to ensure he or she receives as consistent of care as possible. It can be an informal agreement between close family members and friends to bring you a deeper sense of your loved one’s needs. Furthermore, a senior care plan can help you prepare for any situation, knowing resources are readily available.
To set yourself up for success as a caregiver, we explain how to develop a senior care plan for an aging loved one below.
1. Consult a doctor or physician to asses your loved one’s health.
The very first step in developing a senior care plan is to consult with your loved one’s doctors and physicians at their next appointment.
As the family caregiver, what questions do you have about your loved one’s physical heath? By addressing yours concerns, you can develop an appropriate plan of action for all parties involved. Some questions to consider may include:
- What illness or condition does my loved one have?
- What are the treatment options?
- What are the risks and side effects of the recommended prescription?
- What is the average recovery time?
- What costs can we expect?
Beyond the medical questions listed above, you’ll also want to have conversations about your loved one’s lifestyle. For instance, are they able to live independently on their own, or is it time to consider alternate arrangements based on their health and mobility? If they will be living with you, you’ll need to make general home modifications to provide a safe place for your loved one.
By taking these actions, you can adhere to your loved one’s health condition.
2. Identify your loved one’s needs and wishes—both now and in the future.
Because your loved one’s wellbeing is of the utmost importance, take time to identify his or her needs to better honor their wishes in the future.
What are their feelings about long-term care? Have they thought about financial and legal planning? Do they have advance directives in place? By asking these questions, you can dive into deeper conversations about preplanning to understand how they want to be remembered after they pass.
While talking about preplanning is difficult, it’s also an act of love for your family. You can ensure that your loved one’s final wishes are met, and your family won’t have to worry about making the right decisions during an already emotional time.
>>>Related Resource: Download the Seniors’ Guide to Funeral Arrangements to learn how preplanning can save time, money and worry.
3. Build a support team to help you carry out your loved one’s senior care plan.
The final step in developing a care plan is to build a cohesive support system. These are the people you know you can rely on to ensure your loved one receives the highest quality of care. This includes close family members and friends, as well as your loved one’s doctors and physicians.
When more people share the responsibility, you’re able to divvy up tasks, lessening the likelihood of caregiver burnout. Take turns assisting with basic needs like bathing and grooming, as well as transporting your loved one to and from appointments and other activities. Involving others can help you carry out your loved one’s care plan in the event you’re unable to do so.
>>>Tip: If you’re looking for a safe place to connect with others beyond your direct support system, consider joining a local support group. Members can exchange practical information on caregiver challenges and offer possible coping strategies and solutions.
Once a plan is in place, you can rest assured knowing you’re prepared for any medical obstacle that may come your way while caring for an aging loved one.
Schedule a Preplanning Consultation Today
When discussing a care plan with your loved one, it’s important to have conversations about preplanning. To save you and your family time, money and worry, we encourage you to schedule a preplanning consultation. Our advisors can explain your options and answer your questions within one afternoon.