When a family member grows older and begins considering what they want to do for the rest of their life, it can get overwhelming very quickly. Whether you have a parent that needs care or you just want to make sure they’re going to be taken care of financially for the rest of their lives, it’s appropriate to step in and offer help. In fact, getting the whole family involved in care planning can be beneficial for everyone.
There are different areas of care planning to consider. The first step is to get everyone involved on the same page, including your elderly family members you’re trying to create a plan for. Some of the most common topics when creating that plan include finances, healthcare, and whether the aging individual should stay in their own home on a long-term basis.
It may be difficult for an aging individual to think about these things, but ensuring them that you’re trying to make life easier can give peace of mind. If you have someone you care about who is past retirement age and might be struggling with care planning, suggesting you work on that plan together can allow all of you to avoid a lot of potential problems and confusion.
Health, Wellness, and Medical Needs
One of the biggest factors in care planning is considering a person’s medical needs. As of 2015, 6.3 million Americans over the age of 65 required some type of long-term care, leading to a growing necessity for end-of-life planning. Some of the most common health issues in elderly individuals include:
- Lung diseases
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cardiovascular issues
Older individuals can also go through mental health struggles, including depression, when they feel as though they might be reaching the end of their lives or that they don’t have a purpose anymore. While many people over the age of 65 are perfectly capable of living on their own, those with special medical needs can benefit from getting extra care. Thankfully, there are more options for that kind of care than ever before.
For example, there have been stereotypes surrounding nursing homes for years. Today, however, assisted living facilities are very different. They allow for more independence and can even feel just like home. They allow your aging loved one to be looked after by a professional staff, if they should need anything.
More people are also choosing to hire home health aides or family nurse practitioners to work with their aging parents individually. This is a great way to allow the ones you love to remain in their own home and still receive proper medical care as needed. When considering which option is right for the person in your life, think about how much help they might need on a daily basis. If they have a specific medical condition, determine how often it needs to be monitored in order for them to remain healthy and safe.
Older individuals tend to be preyed upon by phone scams, telemarketers, and snake oil salesmen. It’s easy for seniors to get roped into giving out personal information to these scammers, who can end up draining their finances or potentially even stealing their identities.
Financial planning is a large part of a long-term retirement strategy. So, making sure someone you love is safe from scams and knows how to handle their money with caution is an important factor to consider. If the person you’re planning with doesn’t have a strong handle on their finances, working on it together can make things easier for them to understand. It can also give you (and the rest of your family) peace of mind, knowing you won’t have to worry about them losing all their money.
Keep in mind that finances can be a hot-button issue for anyone to talk about, even your parents or other older individuals in your life. Be patient and understanding, as planning out this area isn’t easy. Nonetheless, working with your aging loved ones to create a budget, open a savings account, or go through different bills and monthly expenses will give them a better idea of how to live within their means. It can also provide you the reassurance that if they ever need anything extra, including medical care, the money is there to provide for it.
If the older individual in your life is struggling to keep their finances organized, you might even want to offer to have someone in your family be in charge of them. Discuss this possibility with them if the need arises.
It’s never easy for anyone to discuss end-of-life wishes. It brings up a situation we don’t want to think about when it comes to the people we love. But it’s important to clearly understand what those wishes and expectations are. Talk to your family about what type of medical care they want to receive if something should happen.
It’s also important to work with your aging loved ones to determine what will be done with their estate, assets, and so on. Again, this isn’t an easy conversation to have, but it will give them comfort knowing their wishes will be upheld — and you won’t be left scrambling to figure out what they may have wanted later.
Finally, end-of-life planning can include some type of grief counseling or a solution to keep the whole family as comfortable as possible. This could include a variety of different services, including hiring a grief counselor or trying alternative comfort methods like aromatherapy, meditation, or caregiver support.
When you keep the entire family involved in the process of long-term care planning, as well as end-of-life planning, it can create a more comfortable environment for everyone. It also makes life less stressful for the older individuals in your life. Don’t wait to have these conversations with your parents or any other senior in your family who might need care in the near future.