Create a Caregiving Plan for Your Senior Loved One
For many people, there comes a time in life where you may transition from a family member or friend to a caregiver for a senior loved one. As this sometimes stressful transition begins to occur, it is a good idea to come up with a plan that allows you to be proactive rather than reactive in a crisis situation.
The first steps to creating a caregiving plan can often be the hardest, but the best way to begin this process is to be informed. By making sure you are familiar with all that goes into caregiving and how to approach your senior loved one with the topic, you set yourself up for success.
Assessing Your Senior Loved One's Needs
The first step to creating a care plan for your senior loved one is to assess the needs of their situation. Take a look at their daily actives and responsibilities. Are there items that they are unable to complete safely? Anything that you would prefer they not worry about? From there, you can decide what parts of their routine may need assistance, and set goals for yourself.
If your senior loved one is still very independent, this step may simply mean determining goals for their overall well-being, rather than their day-to-day routine.
For example, a goal for your senior loved one's overall well-being may be, "I want Mom to exercise more frequently." To accomplish this goal, you may schedule two days a week to go on a walk with your mom.
During this step, it is important to take into account your senior loved one's own desires and interests.
Start the Conversation
After you have assessed the needs of your senior loved one's situation, it is time to start the conversation with them. Depending on the person, this can be a difficult conversation to start.
Begin by sharing your feelings with your senior loved one. In some cases, they may not have realized that you had any concerns at all and be accepting once they see that you are worried about them.
You can also add a story about any family or friends who have recently experienced a similar situation. This way, they may not feel so alone in the process.
Take a quick look at our resource for Shaping Conversations with Aging Parents to find out more tips on starting the conversation with your senior loved one.
Compile Important Information
Whether your senior loved one is fully independent or is beginning to need some help in their day-to-day routine, it is a good idea to have contingencies in place for the worst case scenario.
Although your senior loved one may not be ready to share all of their personal documents and financial information with you, it is important to encourage them to have an updated and organized file with all pertinent information. Some important documents to locate are:
- Monthly bills
- Financial account information
- Living Will
- Power of Attorney
Some people may not want to spend the time organizing these files. In this situation, offer to help them and be a part of the process. This may prevent your senior loved one from becoming overwhelmed while making sure that you are prepared should anything happen.
Determining how to manage your senior loved one's finances can be overwhelming, so we have created a guide on How You Can Help Your Aging Parents With Their Finances.
Create a Team
One vital part of caregiving is making sure you aren't doing it alone. Establishing a team is a great way to provide the best care while also making sure you don't get overwhelmed or burnt out.
The best people to include in your team are those that are eager to help and reliable. Additionally, it is a good idea to involve the people closest to your senior loved one, as they may not want many people knowing their personal business.
After you have constructed your team, you should start by laying out all of the needs you have identified and work together to delegate responsibilities.
Be Aware of Professional Resources
For many caregivers, there comes a time where your senior loved one's needs may outweigh your ability. In this case, it is important to know what professional resources are available to you and where to access them.
If the stress of these added responsibilities seems to be too much for you and the team you have created to handle, it may be time to consider a community purpose-built to care for seniors. There are many different options available when choosing a community.
Presbyterian Senior Living has created a library of resources for every step of your caregiver journey, including access to and information about any professional resources you may need.
What are some things you have found helpful when creating a care plan for your senior loved one? Comment below and let us know and don't forget to download our eBook to learn how to reduce caregiver stress!