All too often “a senior care plan” takes place in real-time, as a knee-jerk reaction in response to a crisis.
Action must be taken quickly, without clear or complete information and under duress, which is no way to make important decisions. This is why it’s so critical to have a senior care plan in place for yourself and/or for loved ones.
By planning ahead of time, everyone has the opportunity to research information, make thoughtful decisions about various options, and create a step-by-step set of guidelines that can be followed as inevitable age-related and/or condition-related changes unfold.
Read our At Home Care Services Guide for more information about your senior and long-term care options. Also, consider consulting with prospective home care providers in your area for more assistance in creating a senior care plan that is customized to your situation, needs, and wishes.
5 Reasons to Put a Senior Care Plan in Place
There’s no doubt that American culture has a distinct “disconnect” or “denial” about aging and death. While everyone knows these natural processes are unavoidable, coming to terms with the fact that you are a senior and that this will have an effect on you, your loved ones and your future care providers can be more challenging to assimilate.
However, the choice not to accept and plan for the inevitable has disastrous effects, ranging from the inability to financially obtain adequate care, to not having a say in the place or type of care you receive.
The misconception that creating a senior care plan is akin to “giving in” or “relinquishing control” is simply not true. In fact, you are executing complete control by planning now, while you’re physically and cognitively able to do so. The alternative is others deciding for you when physical or mental decline makes it more difficult for your wishes to be considered.
Here are 5 reasons why it’s so important to work with your spouse, family and/or loved ones to create a senior care plan while you still have ample, healthy senior days ahead of you.
5 Benefits to Having a Senior Care Plan
1. You’ll be financially able to receive high-quality care
Unless you have a specific memory care diagnosis, it’s difficult to know exactly what type of care or assistance you might need. Thus, planning for the “middle ground” is a smart way to go about it so that you and/or your spouse can adequately prepare for the financial costs associated with senior care.
In most cases, seniors planning to age-in-place will eventually need some type of part-time assistance with:
- Driving/transportation to social events and activities
- Errand running
- Meal preparation
Eventually, these general home-based care services transition into the next level of care, which may include:
- All of the above home-based services, on a more frequent basis
- Daily hygiene care (bathing, dressing, hair-styling, etc.)
- Full-time care
- Home health care services that address specific medical conditions
- Memory care and/or assisted living community
Each of these “tiers” comes with varying financial demands. By getting quotes now, exploring long-term care insurance options and/or working with a financial advisor, you’ll learn more about your options and get expert advice on how to comfortably finance your prospective senior care plan.
2. You have control of the process and the outcome
Creating a senior care plan should be as much a part of your long-term planning as advanced directives, family trusts or wills and testaments. Instead of viewing this phase as a symbol of your loss of control, try looking at the senior care planning process as a completely empowering process.
By taking the reins and making important decisions now, you’re ensuring your future self will be cared for exactly as you want him/her to be cared for if/when you’re not able to make clear decisions on your own.
It’s a very satisfying feeling to know that you have the finances and the know-how in place to guarantee you get the care you want, in the place of your choosing, including the little extras you know will make a difference.
3. You can enjoy the luxury of time and no-pressure space
Decisions made in haste are rarely the best because they’re made without the full spectrum of information, and typically by a mind that is in fight-or-flight mode, rather than one that is calm and logical.
When you take the time to explore all the options, you’ll have the opportunity to consult with home care agencies, tour senior and/or memory care communities, think about how you want to age, as well as and how you want to die, learning more about home health care and hospice options.
Once you’ve gathered this information, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you want your care plan to look like in various circumstances. For example, creating “if this, then that,” scenarios, depending on what happens to you and/or your spouse, or the two of you, in years to come.
4. Give the gift of peace of mind to your loved ones
We can’t tell you how often we work with distraught spouses and/or family members who are agonizing over the fact they can’t provide the level of care their loved one needs. These individuals are consumed by unfortunate guilt and feelings of inadequacy.
What a wonderful gift you give to yourself, your spouse and your loved ones when you create a personalized senior care plan ahead of time. Then, when it’s time to implement the plan, loved ones are confident the steps they’re putting into place were your choice and honor your desires, even if dementia or Alzheimer’s progression causes you respond otherwise.
In addition to simplifying things in an already stressful situation, a premeditated senior care plan provides invaluable peace of mind to the ones who love you most.
5. You can begin implementing smaller steps so you’re ready for the bigger ones
Often, when individuals start the active process of creating their own senior care plan, they begin making immediate changes that accommodate a more independent senior lifestyle.
Perhaps you’ll modify your home to minimize trip hazards and accommodate mobility aids. You may decide it’s time to join a senior exercise class to keep your body strong and active. Maybe you’ll acknowledge it’s officially time to turn in the car keys or restrict your own driving privileges, keeping yourself and others safer.
Enjoy the Future, Create a Senior Care Plan Now
The process of creating a senior plan can help you prepare both mentally and physically for the next phase of your life’s journey. And ironically, the environmental and lifestyle changes you make as a result of your plan could postpone the senior care plan from being implemented for longer than originally anticipated.
Our compassionate team of senior care professionals at Georgetown Home Care is trained to help you create a personalized senior care plan that takes all of your needs and wants into consideration.