By Johana Wiznitzer

It’s never easy to accept that it may be time to create a care plan for your loved one or family member. The conversation doesn’t have to be awkward and even though it may seem tedious, it can be much easier than it seems.

A care plan is getting all of the information about the individual and refining it in the simplistic form. A care plan enables you to identify the problem and come up with possible solutions. If you’re not thinking about creating one in the near future, having a plan in mind will eliminate the stress associated with the unexpected.

The first step you should take before even creating a care plan is identifying the problems of your loved one. Does he or she trip, wander, forget things easily or is simply unable to complete simple tasks? If yes, then a care plan may be necessary.

“It’s a case by case situation and there are steps. If people understood the system people would be able to not have everything falling apart. The reality is a lot of people don’t reach out or deal with it because it won’t happen to me,” said Flory Antiga-Stephens Case Manager for Senior Healthcare Center at Springhill.

It is important to keep in mind that a care plan does not have to be done immediately; it is something that should be talked about amongst your family members. They will be there for the emotional support because it might be difficult to accept the fact that it’s time for your loved ones to go into a care plan.

Once it has been talked about, the next step is finding the right information for your loved one. It is important to look at your loved one’s mental and medical history, to make sure the assessment is as precise as possible. Gather all of the individual’s history such as their insurance information, social security, Medicare/Medicaid, medication and their dosages.
At first it may be hard to accept the concept of getting older and needing help. The individual’s life is changing – mentally, physically and emotionally. But there shouldn’t be a fear, if you aren’t prepared, said Antiga-Stephens.

Make sure you have an understanding of the financial aspect of a care plan. It’s important to keep in mind your family’s financial status and the estimated cost of how much the care might cost.

After looking at the financial costs, create an assessment. First look at their physical status. How long can they walk for? Up to what point can they complete a task. What can they do? What can’t they do? Determine their capabilities. Next, look at their current cognitive and mental health. Look into their social interactions, their relationships with others and possible caregivers that meet their needs.

Also look into their social aspect: their social interaction, social group and who could be a potential caregiver.

“We have one patient who is 93 years old and was living alone. One day when she went to her pharmacist to pick up her medication she seemed really confused. The pharmacist called us, and we made some arrangements for her daughter, who is now retired, to live with her. It’s a realization that things have changed; although, it is a mild change it is a significant one that she can no longer live alone,” Antiga-Stephens said.

It is always essential to keep in mind your loved one’s wishes and desires. As your loved one ages, their needs may change as well. Remember the more you know about your loved one, the better it is for them.

At the end of the day, it’s a human experience to age, and it is important to anticipate the unexpected.

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