The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created Long-Term Care Planning Month to bring attention to the need for families to discuss long-term care. While many older adults end up needing long-term care as they age, not every family discusses it.
Now is the time to sit down as a family and talk about long-term care and how it helps your parents stay independent. Here are the six steps your family should take to establish a long-term care plan.
Discuss Their Goals While Aging
What are your parents’ goals? Have they talked about staying in their current home or moving to a smaller, energy-efficient home? Either way, make sure you know what they want to do as they get older.
Your mom’s always wanted raised gardens and to grow her own vegetables. Make sure that’s possible. She might need help carrying her gardening supplies to the garden. Your dad wants to go out still and tour historic sites. If he can’t drive, arrange to have someone else drive him around.
Pay Attention to the Things Your Mom and Dad Cannot Do Independently
Keep track of the things your parents need to do on their own. Are they able to do these tasks? If they struggle to do them or skip them until someone else stops by, it’s time to address their need for help.
Independence doesn’t mean doing everything on their own. It can simply be a case of their knowing their limits and not being ashamed to ask for help. As you learn about the things they need help completing, put those on a list.
Examine the Home for Safety Issues
Go through their home to make sure it’s safe for them. Grab bars in the bathroom, non-slip flooring, and bright LED lighting are all features that can make it safer to age at home.
Create a Group Calendar
Use an app like Google Calendar to build a to-do list for each day. Some chores will be done weekly, and others will be completed each day. People can put their names on days that they’re available to help.
As you find days when no one is available, those are the days that your parents will need home care services. Caregivers can fill in and ensure your mom and dad are never alone on days there are chores that they need to complete.
Talk About the Benefits of Caregivers
Go over the benefits of professional caregivers. Your parents have the help they need, and you’re able to keep working. Plus, you have the peace of mind that they never struggle with daily routines.
Call a Home Care Agency to Fill the Schedule
As soon as you know what care needs your parents have, explore care options with an expert in personal care at home. Go over the list of services that interest your parents, ask your family’s questions, and schedule personal care at home services.