If you are the caregiver of an aging parent who is still living at home independently or living with you, you are responsible for most of the major decisions that need to be made regarding your parent’s immediate and long-term care. The day-to-day care of doctor appointments, taking care of bills, meal planning, and providing a social connection for your parent may make it difficult to find the time to draft up anything specific about future care. But having a care plan in writing that you can access when you need it, as well as having it available for anyone who might be helping you with caregiving – now or in the future – can provide a sense of security that your parent will continue to be cared for in the best way possible no matter what the future brings.
Once you’ve decided to draft up a care plan for your parent, you’ll want to sit down and discuss what it should all cover with the following people.
- Other Caregivers. If you are sharing the responsibility of caring for your elderly parent, whether it’s with a sibling, an adult child or spouse, sit down together at the very beginning to discuss what your care plan will cover. Not sure where to begin? Many websites have sample care plans that you can use to begin the process.
- Your Parent. If your parent is still able to have healthy conversations about his health, talk to him about what he would like in the coming years. Does he have specific treatments he doesn’t want applied to him? Does he have a favorite hospital or clinic he prefers to use? Does he have financial documents that he only wants specific people to have access to? When possible, honoring your parent’s wishes will make the process easier.
- Your Parent’s Physicians. Your parent’s doctors and specialists can help you navigate complex medical decisions and guide you to a place that you’re comfortable with in planning out your parent’s care. You can ask about treatments and medications that should be referenced in the care plan.
- Your Lawyer. If you are including items such as Power of Attorney in your care plan, you’ll want to make sure every part of this legal process is completed accurately. These types of forms are usually attachments to the actual care plan and can then all be kept in one place.
- Home care providers. It is essential in a care plan that the home care providers who will assist your senior loved one know what their wishes and needs are. From medication reminders to special diet needs and preferences for a daily routine, home care providers need to made aware of all that caring for your loved one entails. Family caregivers can do the best they can, but at some point it will be beneficial for everyone that home care providers be there for your senior.
A care plan can be as simple or complicated as you like. Sometimes, it’s simply a sheet that lists what is the best way to care for your parent in case you’re not around. It may list his primary treatment resources, along with medication doses and therapy appointments. It can also be in depth enough to include Power of Attorney information as well as an Advanced Directive or Living Will. The important thing is it sparks these conversations and gets them in writing before an actual emergency happens or someone needs to make some quick decisions. It prevents rash decision-making and helps you and all of your parent’s caregivers make decisions that are well informed and mutually agreed upon.
If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring caregivers in Mesa, AZ, please call the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Scottsdale at (480) 284-7360. We are here to help!