There are several LinkedIn forums that we participate in at Support For Home, along with other professionals in the fields of senior care / elder care and home care in general. Often one of the members poses a question, to which those of us who cannot resist present an answer. 🙂
A recent discussion, still on-going, started with a question from Aimee C. Tillar, Founder and CEO at Lifesong Enterprises, Inc., in the Seattle, WA area. Aimee’s question was,
What are the top 3 questions or concerns that a family has when an aging loved one must make a transition in living arrangements due to declining health or ability to live independently?
I have posted several replies myself, including:
First of all, I love the way the question is phrased. It very correctly implies that the “transition in living arrangements” may not mean moving from the home of 30 years. It may mean continuing to age in place, with support for ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) and IADLs (Instrumental ADLs) from professional Home Care Aides and, potentially, home health providers.
In the senior care industry, we need to recognize that the likely first transition is the (often reluctant) recognition by the senior(s) and her / his family that complete independence is not realistic any longer.
That does not automatically mean moving to assisted living, or even a “retirement community.” I may be as simple as obtaining support for homemaker activities or transportation for shopping, appointments and so forth. Even when more personal care is needed, that is available, in the home, of course.
The key, in our view, is what we call an Advance Living Directive. This is a planning tool that individuals and families can and should use well before there is any need for home care or other transitions. It can be used, objectively and without emotional trauma, for advance planning, again, focused on ADLs and IADLs. We would love to have folks review and suggest ways to improve the tool.
In our view, the answer to many of the challenges families face, concerning how to have “the” conversation with Mom and Dad or how to deal with the need to make a “transition” is to have those transition points mapped out, early, via the Advance Living Directive.
A number of very good answers have been posted, with one of the clearest and most succinct from Julie Zimdars, of LTC Financial Partners in Madison, Wisconsin:
There are 7 reasons why families pre-plan for the potential need of LTC.
1. Pre-planning will preserve lifestyle and maintain standard of living
2. Pre-planning will allow one to not be a burden to spouse/family
3. Pre-planning will allow freedom of choice and control
4. Pre-planning may allow the avoidance or the delay of admission to a nursing home
5. Pre-planning protects Income and Assets
6. Pre-planning may prolong or prevent Medicaid spend down
7. Pre-planning gives access to quality care
But more importantly the Peace of Mind that all the above will be taken care of.
Thanks to all of our colleagues in the senior care industry for their thoughts and their passion.
Best wishes, Bert