When to Get Started with Life Care Planning
It can be difficult to take time out of our busy lives to start seriously planning our next vacation, let alone plans for long-term elder care. While earlier is better for life care planning, there are several key events many families face when deciding how to handle elder care that can serve as excellent indicators that it is time to seriously undertake the life care planning process with help from a professional.
Some of the earliest signs that it is time to talk to an elder care coordinator are obvious, but others a little more ambiguous:
- A parent is showing signs of what may be Alzheimer’s or dementia
- A terminal diagnosis
- A life altering accident at an advanced age
- A health scare or hospital visit that leaves the family realizing they are not prepared for a long-term care situation
- Loss of energy or declining mobility
Any of these signs should be signals that your family needs a serious plan in place that includes long-term care options for the elder involved, but there are other, more serious signs that you need a life care plan in place now.
So long as the elder is not in the final stages of hospice care, it is never too late to implement a life care plan. That being said, there are several key signs that you need a plan urgently:
- Again, peace of mind is key. Family members are confused or concerned when it comes to discussing and deciding on care options, where to look for assistance, or how to pay for long-term care. Families want the elder entering long-term care to be able to do so without worry, and they cannot do so while the rest of the family is arguing constantly or floundering with decision making.
- Mobility issues are impeding the elder from taking care of themselves, and their children live out of town or are planning to move in the near future. It is easy for children of an ailing elder to feel guilty when they are not physically there to take care of their parents, but it can be difficult for some families to take on the role of full-time-caregiver regardless of physical location. You urgently need a life care plan if you are in this situation as the daily needs of the elder are affected in a way that only long-term care can solve.
- Though this may sound extreme, it is a common situation: a parent is wheelchair bound and their house cannot accommodate them any longer, or they are diagnosed with an advanced disease that has them needing full time medical care.The elder was recently diagnosed with a life changing/terminal illness, suffered an accident, and returning to their home is no longer an option. Not only does this become a logistics problem, but it is also a drain on resources and quickly leads to burnout for families. A life care plan can alleviate many issues around this transition.
- Similarly to receiving a diagnosis that prevents an elder from returning to their home, this is the point where long-term care is not optional. Their mental cognition has decreased to the point where they are unable to care for themselves. It is important to have a plan in place before both material and emotional resources are drained.
- It is common for a primary caregiver to become overwhelmed by the needs of an elder relative. The elder is already in the care of a caregiver, and that caregiver is suffering from burnout, ill health, frustration, guilt or confusion. Burnout is especially common. One of the goals of life care planning is to give peace of mind to the whole family, and when a relative of the elder is suffering from burnout or anything else that has them operating at a diminished capacity the whole family usually ends up in turmoil.
If your family falls into any of these categories, you need to have solid plans in place on how to care for the elder immediately. It is always best to have a plan in place before you reach this point, but again, it is not too late.
At Millman Law Group, we help families no matter where they are in the process. We specialize in end-of-life legal services, but we also enlist the help of medical professionals and trained elder care coordinator to ensure any life care plan is covered from every aspect of life.
Contact Us to Start the Process
As part of our free consultation services, we help people take the first steps to putting their life care plan in place. Before your consultation, download and fill out a workbook one of our workbooks to make sure you have all the information you need: