Nobody wants to think about the end, so preplanning is often bypassed. But, what do you do when you are caring for a parent who is beginning to decline? The first step is often to help them get the best quality of care that they need at this Journey Stop in their life. You are probably also doing everything possible to help them remain at home or wherever they want to be.
But what’s next? Do you just wait until things get much worse before you encourage your parents to put a plan in place? OR do you encourage them to start the planning process while they have the ability to do so? (Yes, that was a leading question!)
In this post, we will cover the WHY issue – as to “Why should I start the planning process as early as possible? We will also cover a few of the things that you may want to think about as you plan.
WHY is Preplanning Critical?
One of the biggest reasons for preplanning is capacity. This is something that you can never take for granted. For example, my Mom was age 85 and in fairly good shape. She was driving locally, living at home alone and was even watching our young kids a few times a week. Then at one doctor’s appointment, he suggested that she have heart valve surgery to repair a leaky heart valve. Long story short, she had the surgery, then a few weeks later had a stroke, then spent the last several months of her life in hospitals, nursing homes, rehab facilities and an in-patient hospice facility.
This is not the way you want things to end. But you don’t always have a choice. Fortunately Mom had done some planning while she had the capacity to do so – before something bad happened. We see so many people wait until something bad happens – after they have lost capacity, before they start to act. At this point in time, it’s too late!
To Make Sure it’s YOUR Decision
Without preplanning, then your kids are thrust in a position of having to plan for you. Many times they have to pursue a Court ordered guardianship so they can make decisions on your behalf. This is not a good situation and often can be avoided with some proper planning done while you have the capacity to do so. Effective planning often combines financial planning and estate planning. These should be done in a manner that ensures that your financial resources are used in the way you want to help you get the best care for the remainder of your life.
Preplanning for Long Term Care
None of us wants to think about the possibility of needing Skilled Nursing Care at some point in our lives. However, many people do need this level of care at least for a while before they die. The key is to plan so as to make sure that you get the best quality of care, in the least restrictive environment, without having to deplete all of your resources to pay for your care. With some proper legal and financial planning, such a plan can be put in place. These types of plans are most effective when done early.
Even if you don’t have a ton of money and would need government assistance to help pay the staggering cost of Nursing Home care (in our state, it’s around $6,500 per month on the average), it’s necessary to start the planning process early so as to protect as many assets possible from being spent down for Nursing Home Care. This requires that you see an Elder Law Attorney sooner, rather than later.
So that YOU choose the Best Place to Be for You
There is no standard answer for the question, “What is the Best Place for me to be as I decline in physical or cognitive health?”. It will depend on many factors such as (1) personal preference; (2) finances, and (3) the availability and willingness of family to help. We will discuss all of these options in detail in a future post, but for now, know that there are several stay at home options AND there are several facility options. For those who want to remain at home. The key is that you choose the best place for you while you have the capacity to make this choice.
To Get Everyone on the Same Page
Doing comprehensive preplanning in advance of incapacity and getting all of the adult kids on the same page is one of the greatest gifts that a parent can give to their adult children. All of this is done with the Mom Centered Family Meeting (MCFM) process, discussed in a future edition. However, the essence of this process is getting all the information in advance of the meeting, having discussions with all participants before the meeting, then implementing what was decided at the meeting. The goal of this meeting is to get everyone involved working together with the common goal of crafting the best going forward plan possible for Mom. This can get families working together (maybe for the first time ever) and can greatly increase the likelihood of of them working together to implement the plan for Mom’s benefit if she becomes incapacitated before she dies.
Today we discussed the WHY associated with the planning process. In our next blog, we will discuss the Building Blocks of an Effective Plan. This (as Paul Harvey used to say), “is the rest of the story”. Don’t miss it.
We want to be friends!
Ok. That might come off a little fast, but you can trust us. We want to help! We fully understand the stress and turmoil that you are facing as Family Caregiver – including personal experiences with burnout.
In our time as caregivers, we have amassed a wealth of knowledge that we desire to pass on. We understand the emotions involved while making necessary preplanning and caregiving decisions. Likewise, we have met many professional caregivers, as well as other family members who were thrust as Family Caregiver. All caregivers have shared the same advice – Join a community! There is nothing more cleansing for our situation than knowing that we are not alone!
We have since created Caregiver Connection. Caregiver Connection is a newsletter that we write personally and send to fellow Caregivers. It is full of tips, tricks, direction and even professional advice. If you would like to sign up, click the button below.
Please Invite Someone to Our Newsletter
Being an Adult Kid who is helping mom as she is declining can be a scary, frustrating and lonely place lacking stability. You feel like you are solely responsible for solving Mom’s problems while managing yours. Some occasional input and a community you can trust would help, especially when facing burnout! This is a way that all of us can be working together as caregivers!
Many others that you may personally know are having to figure it all out by themselves. Most of them have no community. Please take a minute and do them a favor. Copy this link ~> help.mom/cc <~ and send it to them in an email or private message. They can click on it and subscribe to our newsletter for free.
Then they can enjoy weekly tips and encouragement. They no longer have to feel so alone in their family caregiver journey. They will appreciate the favor! Thank you for thinking of them!
Nothing herein is intended to be legal advice. These are just things that we have learned as various families try when struggling with these difficult issues. Each situation is unique and requires specific professional assistance to resolve. Please contact your local medical or legal advisors to seek assistance in preplanning and appropriately resolving issues for your family.
Thank You for being a Caregiver for Your Loved One – you are making a huge difference in their life!