One of the forums we belong to and participate in on the AARP Website is the Caregiving group. If you are a caregiver for a loved one, you may want to join some of the appropriate groups there, on Home Care, Long Term Care or Elderly Parents at Home, as well as Caregiving.
One of the current discussions in the Caregiving group is on the issue of siblings disagreeing about caregiving responsibilities. There are actually many facets on which children of seniors can and often do disagree – where the parent(s) should live, who should do what, what is the “true” state of need of the parent(s), and so forth.
Obviously, most adult children certainly want the very best for their parents, so how can families address this issue and get on the same page, driven by their shared concern – the welfare of their parents?
The second principle is really very simple – look outside the family for help. We will come back to that. But the first principle we would stress is too often ignored, and that is early planning. We plan our educations, our careers, our retirement. What we too rarely plan for is aging. In reality, there is really no excuse for us not doing that planning.
I saw a very funny video yesterday, of a senior delivering an “invocation” at a home care convention. One of the comments she made was that she was not very good at being old, since this was the first time she had been old. In her speech, it got a lot of laughs. But, if you take the statement seriously, it is not so funny.
We may only get old once, but we have lots “data” around us as to what that means. It is not always fun to pay attention to that data, but the more we do the better we will be at, as the senior speaker put it, “being old.” So, if we commit to paying attention to the data that is out there, in our own families and friends and society in general, we need some way to organize and analyze that data.
Our recommendation is to formalize the process of analysis and planning, using our Advance Living Directive™ tool. It is free, of course, and consists of a spreadsheet focused on the various Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental ADLs.
The tool allows us to set a threshold or baseline in terms of our ability to perform the ADLs and IADLs. I can, for example, well before there is even a concern about needing home care, decide that if I need help with all home maintenance tasks (2 point level on the Housekeeping IADL), I will arrange for home care.
Then, by repeating the survey occasionally with family or people I trust, I can measure my current ability against the targets I set. Below the baseline, home care is needed or I may even have to give up my dream of aging in place at home, depending on my score.
I do not need to argue with my children about anything. We have determined what the appropriate data is to measure and analyze and we continue to use it, even though I have never been old before. 🙂
Best wishes and happy planning! Bert