It seems just yesterday you were asking your parents how to navigate the early steps of adulthood. Then you blink, and suddenly you’re the one helping your parents make decisions about their lives—or maybe you are making those decisions for them.
Yes, it’s confusing. It’s overwhelming. It’s emotional. And it’s okay to admit it’s something you don’t really have time for. But … it’s also inevitable. That’s why, even if this scenario hasn’t happened to you yet, it’s important to begin to prepare and plan before the emergency happens. The world of elder care is confusing, so make sure you find a way to gain clarity. And a great way to do that is to fi nd an Elder Care Consultant. Your consultant will know who to call when you don’t have the answers, and know the correct questions to ask. They know what resources are out there, and help gather your team together to start utilizing those resources. Do you need a medical specialist? Do you qualify for VA benefits? What about transportation barriers? Your consultant can help you fi nd those answers. Also, your consultant can explain who pays for what services, including senior living, home care, home health care, hospice care, and more. Then comes the paperwork—and that is something an Elder Care Consultant can walk you through, helping you discuss who will be the decision-maker for your parents if the time comes that they can no longer make their own decisions. She can point you to a certified elder law attorney who will draft a POA (Power of Attorney), living will, trust, will, or possibly a guardianship. She can explain what each of those documents mean so you are not surprised when the time comes that you need them. And what about your needs as the child of someone whose needs have become overwhelming? An Elder Care Consultant can help you find support groups, educational groups, and other resources to help prevent caregiver burnout. You don’t have to be alone. You don’t have to make hurried decisions because you don’t know where to turn or who to turn to or what to ask. An Elder Care Consultant can be that resourceful, empathetic, trustworthy person to have on your team!
Editor’s note: Article submitted by Terri Maxeiner, RN, CECM, CDP, Vice President of Providence Solutions. She can be reached at (708) 342-8090.