A majority of older adults, individuals with chronic conditions, and those recovering from an injury or illness prefer the comfort of home and independence of living athome. The likelihood that one can continue to live in the familiar surroundings of home is much greater if there is a written Care Plan. The following are 10 steps that you can take to create an Independent Living Care Plan. Develop a plan and enjoy the freedom and independence of living at home with the peace of mind you deserve.
Follow the ten steps below. Call us and we’ll be happy to help and provide a free in home care consultation to help you develop the best plan to enable you or your loved one to live at home, not a facility.
- Call a Meeting: Members of this “circle of care” can include caregivers, friends, neighbors, and loved ones. This is a good opportunity to share emergency contact information, decide on care giving duties, and have frank discussions about personal needs. Take advantage of A Better Living Home Care’s free in-home care consultation we can answer your questions, and help you decide on a plan for in-home care.
- Take a Tour of the Home: As you learn more about home caregivers, take down notes on how to make the living space safer and more navigable. Look into products that are designed to enhance independent living and home safety. Also, look for items that can be removed. Downsizing the accumulated belongings can help make maintaining the home easier. Click here for a Home Safety Checklist.
- Write Down Routines: Writing your daily routine down, or observing and writing down the routine of a loved one will let you know what the best times are for experiencing an alert and active state. You’ll learn the time of day when you or your loved one is most likely to be tired , depressed or anxious. With this valuable information, you can plan your days accordingly, and provide extra care during the more vulnerable times.
- Consider Transportation: Do you or a loved one plan to continue driving? If so, work out a schedule for car maintenance; take the necessary steps to ensure that all license information is valid and can remain so. If not, determine what transportation options are in the local area; make travel arrangements with your caregiver, friends, or family. Create monthly or weekly schedules of transportation routines and have a list of contact numbers on hand at all times in case of emergencies.
- Consider Finances: What resources are available for long term care? Do you have long term care insurance, or VA benefits? Do you or your loved one plan on managing the finances? If so, estimate for how long and if you will need help with bookkeeping, filing, etc. If not, look for public and private resources that can help out; find out what services your caregiver can provide. Assign someone you trust to be your “Power of Attorney” for financial affairs (You can make this power contingent on your ability to make decisions if you prefer).
- Consider Health Care: Is the home near a hospital and close to personal health care providers? Create a plan in case of a medical emergency, especially during a holiday. What would happen if you were unable to make medical and financial decisions? Assign someone to be your “Power of Attorney” for medical care and for your financial affairs. Provide all caregivers, family, and friends with a list of emergency phone numbers, and include numbers of members in your circle of care.
- Household Maintenance: A caregiver can handle most household maintenance needs. Be sure to define for your caregiver what those needs are. For other household responsibilities, make a plan with friends, family, and neighbors on how those duties will be accomplished. Calendar deadlines and maintenance appointments in advance as reminders and as a schedule for caregivers to follow.
- Schedule Time for Fun: Don’t forget to enjoy life. We choose independent living for this very reason. Find out what pastimes and pleasures are to be had and make the necessary arrangements to take part in as many as you can. This may include a night out to see a play, a drive in the country, or a weekly card game with friends. Try to fit as much fun and laughter into your life as possible because the happier you are, the healthier you’ll feel.
- Re Assess Regularly: Pay close attention to signs of deterioration, mood swings, and other signs of unusual behavior. Jot down notes and revisit them every few months or so to see if you are missing a new need or an old ailment is getting worse.
- Plan for the Unexpected: Don’t let an illness or sudden change in catch you unprepared. Always have a second plan of action in case the unexpected occurs. If this means having a home care agency or a couple of nursing home picked out, have all the necessary contact information available and easy to access. You’ll be thankful you’ve thought ahead and reduced needless stress. If you do get caught unprepared, A Better Living Home Care’s knowledgeable staff can help. Contact us to speak to a staff member.
Using the above steps as guidelines for some well thought out planning will benefit you with an increased sense of security and peace of mind. You will be able to live independently longer and enjoy the freedom you deserve.