By Carol Marak
Last month we discussed whether seniors are getting the information they need to make the best choices for their healthcare needs in the article, “Does Web Content Empower Aging Seniors and Family Caregivers?”We received interesting responses from our readers. Stan Cohen, summed it up quite well with his comment; “The issue I see as a content provider is that many boomers don’t think to “pre-educate” themselves about the issues they will be facing as both they and their parents continue aging.” Thank you Stan for the inspiring insight into the seniors and family members need to plan.
How do boomers “pre-educate” or plan for senior care? Let’s first address the steps family caregivers can take when planning for an aging loved one’s care. But before you run over to your parent’s home and yell, “Here’s what we need to do to get prepared for your elderly years”, take a deep breath and acknowledge that preplanning is not something that can be done in a weekend. Even before you start getting the paperwork in order, get their cooperation. To avoid having your parents feel like they are losing control of independence, it’s imperative to have their collaboration because without it you’ll have push-back that will sabotage the success of your care strategy.
Family members must prepare for having these types of conversations with aging relatives. Start with mental preparation; choose the mindset of positive thinking moving towards solutions that give maximum amount of freedom and independence. But before opening mouth and inserting foot, be careful of the tone you use. If you are condescending or authoritative, your loved one will become defensive and get turned off. Try your best to speak respectfully and honor them as capable and responsible adults. Do unto them as you want done to you is a good motto to play by.
When you feel ready to start the senior care talk, here’s a list of things you’ll need to gather for the care file:
Contact Names and Numbers: emergency contact, doctor (all medical specialist), dentist, lawyer, accountant, bank, retirement plans & investments, safe deposit box, hospital, pharmacy, Health Insurance Company, car & house insurance agent(s),Long Term Care insurance,church clergy, utility company, newspaper, neighbor, close friends. Be sure to list out policy numbers too.
Allergies and Conditions Worksheet – Click on this link to access a good allergies and conditions worksheet by the Home Instead Senior Care network.
Choosing a doctor – a good form to use when choosing a doctor.
Doctor Visit Worksheet – doctor visit worksheet.
Health Care Worksheet – use this health care worksheet.
Health Care Proxy – create your health care proxy.
Click on the state you live in to download a Free Do Not Resuscitate Form
Advance Directives such as Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney – Click here to learn more about Advanced Directives.
Will and Testament
Copy of Medicare/Medicaid Card
Keep these documents in your file so you are ready if a crisis should occur.
Carol Marak is founder of Carebuzz.com (http://carebuzz.com), a platform of websites targeting local senior care help for family caregivers and the aging senior they care for. Carol is a former caregiver for her aging parents. She experienced the frustrations of searching for local elder care help while living at a distance from her loved ones. That’s why she created Carebuzz. She plans to grow the city sites to be a leading local resource for caregivers.