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5 Steps to Plan the Future With Your Loved One

By Peter DiMaria

Home Care Suffield CT and Alzheimer’s Care Somers CT

It has been a busy holiday weekend for us at Home Helpers Home Care. Although some clients did not need their caregivers because they were staying with their family, we received a number of emergency calls, including one from a former Home Care Suffield client who wanted to resume our services immediately and a prospective Alzheimer’s Care Somers client in need of help for her husband.

In the world of caring, there is hardly a time when there isn’t a need or a crisis and we are here to help. That's more so during the holidays.

Noticing the need for Home Care

When people get together with their loved ones during the holidays, they realize that they are not as independent and able to do daily tasks the same way as before. So I thought of sharing this publication by the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons): Prepare to Care.

It is a guide prepared for first-time family caregivers to help guide them through the new situation they find themselves in. It brings 5 steps that people should take when they conclude that their loved ones need care: start the conversation, form a team, put together a care plan, find support and care for themselves.

The guide comes with a glossary and a resources list that will help those new in the caregiving world to navigate through different terms, expressions, and institutions related to caregiving. It also brings a number of tables and checklists to help you to keep track of tasks, needs, evaluations, and activities.

Five steps to plan for the future home care

1) Start the conversation.

Many people will only start talking about values, preferences, wishes and financial preparation after a crisis happens. However, when these decisions are taken after a fall, an accident or the diagnosis of a serious illness, some important choices may need to be made based on assumptions.

The AARP guide brings some useful tips on how to start this important conversation beforehand. Start talking with your family and then raising important topics with your loved one.

At Home Helpers, we also give a lot of attention to this stage of the aging process, when adult children need to talk to their parents about care.

2) Form your home care team.

Caregiving is not a task to be carried out alone. It is common that someone in the family will step up and take all the tasks for himself/herself. Other members of the family step away, believing the problem is solved or for being afraid of interfering with a sibling’s strong personality. That is usually a mistake. Caregivers who try to do everything end up burned out. You need as much support as you can get. Not only from family but also, friends, colleagues, clubs, or religious and other organizational affiliations as resources too.

And don’t forget the option of an in-home care agency to help a few hours a day, some days of the week or to bring respite once in a while. With a little thought, it is possible to plan ahead to reduce the unbearable stress of caregiving.

3) Make a senior care plan.

Once you talked to your loved one about their need and have set up a team to help in the caregiving tasks, it is time to build an elderly home care plan to help you respond more quickly and effectively if there is a need. A plan will also provide some peace of mind while it makes your life easier. The AARP guide brings a number of tables and checklists that will help you to have a plan in place. These will help everyone get on the same page and keeps the focus on what’s best for your loved one.

4) Find outside support.

As mentioned above, family caregiving is not an easy task. Many issues may arise during this experience. The AARP guide brings additional information and resources to help you find support. It also has lists of health care and services you may need.  Many studies show that online support and participating in support groups help caregivers to feel that they are not alone and to find together solutions for common problems. Find outside groups like the Alzheimer’s Association, in the case of your loved one being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Don’t hesitate to reach out to organizations and professionals with experience in helping family caregivers.

5) Care for yourself.

Someone cannot take care of their loved ones if he or she is not well. Your mental and physical health is as important as your loved one’s. Keeping up your energy and maintaining your health are critical in order to care for others.  Don’t neglect yourself. It’s just as important to make a plan to take care of yourself as it is to create a caregiving plan for others.

Ask for Home Care Assistance

The AARP plan is great, but in caregiving, there is not a one size fits all solution for one’s needs. It is important to ask for help in-home care before a crisis arises or a caregiver gets burned out. Having outside help since the beginning goes a long way in keeping your loved one safe, clean and healthy. It will help you to navigate through the most daunting tasks and moments and to get some relief when times get tough.



Got something about in-home care, senior care, dementia care or Alzheimer's Care you would like to ask? Send us your questions. 

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