By Alison Wood, Contributing Writer
As we age, our care needs evolve. By creating a “care plan” for a senior loved one, you can prepare for and address these inevitable changes. Read on to learn more about care plans and how to successfully implement one — for the betterment of both your senior loved one and for yourself as a caregiver.
What is a care plan?
A care plan is a record of the current needs of a senior, his or her preferences, and a plan of action should things change in the future. While it can be simply verbal, it is better if the plan is written so there is a permanent record of what decided upon at the start, as well as any additions or any amendments that are made as time passes.
Who should create a care plan?
To be effective, the best care plans are created by professionals who understand the unique needs and problems of seniors. This is especially true if any of your loved one’s care needs cross over into the category of skilled nursing. In Illinois, this is a specialist area that can only be provided by care agencies that are licensed by the state and who employ properly skilled and certified nursing care providers. Care & Comfort at Home falls into this category and would be happy to discuss your needs and help create a care plan that fully addresses your loved one’s needs. To learn more, you can book a FREE call with us by clicking HERE.
The first step in creating a care plan for a senior
The first step to create a care plan for a senior is to look at the current situation and assess what’s working now and what additional requirements need to be met.
It’s important to look at the whole picture so that nothing gets missed. As a start, you can examine these key areas:
Home environment – Do any modifications need to be made to the home to make the environment more comfortable and safe for a senior that wants to age in place?
Daily activities – Does your loved one need any support for daily activities, such as personal care (including grooming, showering, dressing, feeding, and toilet assistance), transportation, meal preparation, running errands, housekeeping and laundry, etc.
Companionship – This is an opportunity to find out if your loved one is lonely, especially if they live alone. If they are, you will want to factor in more frequent visits from family and friends, and consider the companionship that a professional caregiver can offer.
Respite care needs – If your loved one is currently being cared for by family members, it’s important to factor in respite care for the caregiver (such as vacation days or time off for illness) and any other situation when additional caregiving might be required.
Health status – Consideration needs to be given to current health needs, particularly if your loved one has an illness or disability. This is where you might need the support of skilled nursing professionals.
Legal documents – When creating your care plan, it’s a good time to make sure your loved one has all his or her legal documents in place. Is there a will? How about a granted power of attorney? Advanced directives? This is an area where you’ll want to seek legal advice to ensure all legal papers are put in place properly and is legally compliant.
Financial Status – Creating a care plan is a good time to assess your loved one’s current financial status and look at any additional grants or funding sources that might be available. While it’s not always an easy subject to discuss, it’s still necessary to talk through funeral arrangements, see what costs need to be covered, and determine how everything is going to happen when the time comes.
Once the care plan is in place, it’s important to review it regularly so that it meets any new requirements. The senior, their loved ones, and the care team can then work together to ensure that the care goals set during the creation of the plan continue to be met. These goals will evolve as the needs of your loved one change.
If you need assistance to create a care plan for a loved one, then book a FREE initial chat with us at Care & Comfort at Home to talk through your options. This meeting helps learn more about the needs of your loved one, while it helps you discover how our home care services can fulfill those needs. We can work with you to create your loved one’s care plan, which in return will give you the reassurance that the plan has been created by caregiving professionals who understand the unique needs and problems of seniors.