Make a Care Plan for Independent Living
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
at home. 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
- 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 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
- 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.