Planning Ahead

Posted on

Oct 11, 2017

Share This
Assembling a care team or support team for an aging adult is a critical step in planning for wellness and longevity. The best time to assemble a team is when all is wellthis allows everyone to think and plan creatively and effectively. Since emergencies typically occur when we least expect them, proactively assembling reliable back-up is our assurance that our loved ones will be cared for when they most need help.
Who should be on the care team? A care team consisting of experienced and knowledgeable professionals, family members and close friends can add much needed support during times when support from more than one person is needed. The team can consist of a circle of individuals who are supportive and understand that even if they provide one small contribution, the assistance is appreciated and makes a difference.

Your care team should consist of individuals you and your family feel comfortable with. They can consist of many professionals including the staff at an adult day center, such as River House. The centers staff usually consists of health professionals, therapeutic recreation specialists and social workers who are experienced and can assist with support, recommendations and referrals. The staff then becomes an additional lifeline for you. Other valuable team members can include physicians, pharmacists, case managers, clergy or church members, volunteers, friends, or a home health aide.

How do you get started? Plan a family meeting to talk about who is in your network. Who would you want to make decisions and advocate for you, your family members and loved ones? Evaluate your current situation and what you might anticipate moving forward. Most importantly, communicate with each member of the team to ensure continuity and shared goals. Each member of the team has a skill or ability to contribute. Discuss openly which member of the care team will be best equipped to handle specific needs as they arise. And finally, take a deep breath in knowing that you will be prepared and supported as needs and situations occur.

Editors Note: This article was submitted by Marie Johnson, MA, Social Services Coordinator, River House Adult Day Center. She can be reached at 203-629-0079.

Other Articles You May Like

Importance of Documenting Medical History

The US National Council On Aging reports that 95 percent of senior Americans over 65 live with at least one chronic condition. The percentage of older adults with two or more chronic medical conditions comes in at 80 percent, and the number of conditions that an individual experiences tends to increase as they age. As they grow older, senior citizens may find it very difficult to keep track of their comprehensive medical history, any complications, and daily medications. Maintaining detailed records of past and present medical issues is one of the most effective ways to guarantee ongoing health success.The Significance of  Tracking Medical HistoryA medical history doesnt only track illnesses or diagnoses from years gone by. It encompasses all facets of an individuals health journey, including pharmaceutical medications, hereditary predispositions and carrier status, and minor conditions that might become problematic in the future. Maintaining documentation from all physician and hospital visits documents allows for more informed and safer medical decisions in the future.Medications and Prescriptions  Many senior adults, especially those living with dementia or other memory issues, fail to consistently take daily required medications, with more complications becoming evident as new treatments and doses are introduced. Keeping a full roster of which prescription drugs you take, those you took in the past but no longer take, and any complications you experienced gives doctors and medical professionals the insight they need to recommend new medications that dont result in unwanted side effects or dangerous contraindications.Genetic Diseases and Family History  Knowing and documenting a personal medical history does more than just assist a personal health journey. An accurate and comprehensive medical history gives children and grandchildren a framework to better understand what medical conditions they may be predisposed to, and any genetic diseases they might be carriers for.Even if an individual doesnt currently live with a specific condition, a family predisposition might cause these conditions to appear in their family. When physicians are performing tests and attempting to identify conditions based on their symptoms, the collected data is invaluable for rapidly narrowing down the possible pool of diagnoses as well as providing your family the help they need as soon as possible.More Targeted Care  While healthcare professionals strive to provide each of their patients with individualized care, you understand your own health better than anyone else. Especially when you go to a new physician for care or are admitted to the hospital due to health concerns, being familiar with your complete medical history allows you to ask relevant questions and expedite the process of getting the treatment you need. If all of your medical history is amassed and preserved as written documents, you can also have more confidence in your healthcare professional to represent your best interests if you are incapacitated. You can then idenitfy those close family members you trust to make decisions on your behalf based on your medical history.How To Create a Personal Medical HistoryNow that you know more about the criticality of keeping and understanding your medical history, you should learn how to actually collect all the required data.Typically you can request this information from physicians and hospitals via paper forms or online customer service portals. For more in-depth information, like unrecorded family medical history, you can contact extended family members such as cousins or siblings, in order to gain a more holistic view of your familys health issues. Often, this information is invaluable for younger family members when they have hard-to-diagnose health situations.At My Care Finders, we are dedicated to finding the best senior living solution for you or your loved one. A medical history is just one of many ways we help you to narrow down the possibilities and make the very best choices for your situation.

The Importance of Visiting Senior Parents After Moving Into a Senior Community

Moving elderly parents into a senior living community is a significant transition for the entire family. Its a time filled with mixed emotions, adjustments, and new routines. Amidst these changes, the importance of visiting senior parents cannot be overstated. Regular visits offer more than just a check-in; theyre fundamental to your parents emotional well-being and adjustment to their new living situation.Making Your ImpactHere are five compelling reasons why visiting your elderly parents after their move to a senior living community is essential:Emotional Support and Reassurance: The transition to a senior living community can be emotionally challenging for your parents. They might feel a sense of loss, uncertainty, or isolation. Your visits act as a critical source of emotional support. Seeing a familiar face provides comfort and reassurance, reminding them that they are loved and not forgotten.It can significantly reduce feelings of loneliness and depression, fostering a more positive outlook on their new life phase.Maintaining Family Bonds: Regular visits help maintain strong family bonds and keep the lines of communication open. Sharing stories, reminiscing about the past, or discussing current events helps your parents feel connected to the world outside their community. These interactions are crucial for preserving family ties and ensuring that your parents continue to feel an integral part of the family.Monitoring Well-being and Care: While senior living communities are designed to cater to the needs of their residents, nobody knows your parents like you do. Visiting allows you to monitor their well-being, ensuring they are healthy, happy, and receiving the proper care. Its also an opportunity to speak with staff and understand any changes in your parents health or behavior, allowing for timely interventions when necessary.Encouraging Socialization and Activity: When you visit, you bring energy and change into your parents routine. You can encourage them to engage in community activities, take them out for a change of scenery, or participate in social events together.This not only breaks the monotony but also encourages your parents to utilize the amenities and social opportunities their new home offers, enhancing their quality of life.Affirming Their Worth and Autonomy: Your visits are a powerful affirmation of your parents worth and autonomy.Affirming the worth and autonomy of elderly parents is vital, especially after they move to a senior living community. This act acknowledges their importance and decision-making power, fostering a sense of self-respect and dignity. By actively involving them in conversations, respecting their choices, and valuing their opinions, you help maintain their sense of identity and self-esteem. Such affirmation is crucial for their emotional well-being and can significantly boost their happiness and willingness to embrace their new living situation.By involving them in decisions, seeking their opinions, and listening to their stories and concerns, youre reinforcing their sense of self and importance. This can be incredibly empowering for elderly individuals, especially those adjusting to life in a senior living community.Visiting your elderly parents after theyve moved into a senior living community is about more than fulfilling a duty; its about nurturing a relationship that continues to evolve and adapt. Your presence can significantly impact their happiness, health, and overall adjustment to their new living situation.So, while life might get busy, remember that a visit to your aging parents is invaluable. Its an act of love and support that resonates deeply, providing comfort and connection during a time of significant change.

The Cost of At-Home Care vs. a Senior Residence

Our parents have always been there for us so when the time comes to care for them, the decision on how to proceed can be heart-wrenching. There are many choices, ranging from becoming their caregiver to finding an assisted living or memory care facility. For many people, at-home care is the best solution for their parents. It is comforting to keep people you love with their family, or in a setting they find familiar. Most people also choose at-home care because they believe that it will be much more affordable than a senior residence. However, there are many variables to consider, and taking care of a parent at home may not be as economical as you assume.We know that there is not one single right answer in these situations. While at-home care is the perfect solution for some families, it may not work for others. When determining the right course of action for your loved one, it is essential to weigh all the alternatives and make the best choice for everyone involved.The Reality of At-Home CareChoosing at-home care may seem like a natural option. You love your parents, and you want them to be comfortable and happy. However, if you have reached this point, it is likely that your loved one needs a caregiver at least in some capacity. This means that either you need to hire a caregiver, or you will act as their caregiver.Hiring a caregiver obviously costs money. However, there are often financial implications when you choose to be a caregiver for your parent, especially if you have to leave a job to do so. Additionally, implementing at-home care often requires specialized medical equipment and home renovations to allow senior adults to safely navigate their environment. These modifications may include installing bathroom grab bars or wheelchair ramps, transforming a downstairs room into a bedroom, or even widening hallways and doorways.Key Takeaway: Whether they stay in their own home or move into yours, there are always expenses to cover as your parent grows older and their needs evolve.The ongoing, day-to-day expenses often surprise those choosing at-home care. You may need to cover transportation costs for appointments, hire someone to perform regular home maintenance, or have meals delivered to ensure your loved one is eating well. Over time, these costs can add up.The Cost of a Senior Care ResidenceAssisted living facilities and memory care centers are considered to be expensive by most people. However, the all-encompassing approach to a seniors lifestyle requires a different perspective to understand.When you pay for these types of residences, it replaces a rent or mortgage payment. There is no more property tax bill or need for property maintenance or upkeep. There are many other services included in assisted living communities, such as:Round-the-Clock Care and Medical Assistance: If a senior needs extensive supervision or care, these costs can become prohibitive at home. Assisted living facilities provide 24/7 access to professional caregivers who can immediately contact medical staff if necessary. This availability guarantees life-saving and timely attention during emergencies, regular monitoring of health issues, and accurate medication management.Physical Therapy, Fitness, and Wellness Programs: Assisted living and memory care facilities often incorporate on-site physical therapy and wellness programs that cater to the needs of individual senior residents. These programs enhance physical health and wellness, which helps to support autonomy for as long as possible. Not only are these programs available, but your loved one will be encouraged to attend by a staff dedicated to ensuring they stay engaged and active.Meals, Housekeeping, and Laundry Services: The all-inclusive nature of a senior residence is also inclusive of daily living requirements. Residents will enjoy nutritious, chef-prepared meals and no longer have to worry about shopping or cooking. They will also enjoy regular laundry and housekeeping services, which often need outside assistance when they still live at home.Emotional Well-being: At-Home Care vs. Senior ResidenceBeyond the financial aspects of senior care, assisted living facilities offer invaluable opportunities for seniors to maintain an active social life making friends, enjoying hobbies, and pursuing interests. When all of the responsibilities of life are being handled, your loved one can truly enjoy their life and spend their days as they wish.Organized Social Activities and Community Engagement: Contemporary assisted living facilities strive to provide a vibrant community where residents can participate in a wide variety of social activities and events. This access to an active lifestyle is often in stark contrast to the loneliness a senior living at home may experience. All of the activities they love and all the people they meet are on the same campus. For those who dont drive or dont want to ask for rides, this can make a radical difference.Call My Care Finders For AdviceAt first glance, at-home care might seem like the more caring or affordable choice. But there are many reasons why families also choose assisted living or memory care. Whatever your choice, we know it is the best one for your family.My Care Finders was established out of a desire to provide professional and compassionate guidance for this emotional decision. If you arent sure about where to turn, call us today. We will listen to you, learn about your family, and provide resources and recommendations to facilitate your decision.