As New Yorkers and people across the nation are living longer and healthier lives, it is easy to forget about the importance of long-term care planning. Health concerns and challenges can arise with a shocking suddenness. Even if a person is alert, vibrant and active, their age will eventually cause them to slow down. Vigilant loved ones will be prepared for this by having a full grasp of long-term care for older people. The situation will dictate its extent, but this is important whether it is someone who needs minimum supervision, requires round the clock care or somewhere in between.
Loved ones should communicate with and pay attention to older family members
In general, the need to keep an eye on elderly loved ones applies to grown children, but it could be anyone – nieces, nephews, grandchildren and siblings. It can be difficult to have the necessary discussions as relatives age, but it is crucial. When they are preparing for retirement or have already retired, they are discussing what they want to do in terms of living arrangements or are even talking about having help with daily needs, it is a prime opportunity to talk about the future. Finances are a fundamental factor. Even those who are of significant means must think about the costs of long-term care as savings can be dilapidated with shocking speed. Having a full accounting of what they own and owe; how much they are accruing in retirement; what their investments are; how their bank accounts are set up and more is wise.
It is also imperative to know where key documents are. That includes estate plans, retirement account information and their financial portfolio. They should be upfront about medical needs. Adult children are often the last to know when their parents are having medical issues. This should be calmly discussed to be completely prepared. Long-term care can range from a watchful eye to extensive care with bathing, feeding, dressing and using the toilet. Talking about it is a vital aspect of preparedness. End of life plans are uncomfortable, but they should be talked about.
Effective elder care requires extensive planning and guidance is key
Caring for an elderly loved one who was once able to live independently but now needs assistance can be emotionally, personally, physically and financially draining. A holistic approach can cover all the bases to address every issue from what is currently happening to what might happen in the future. For guidance in every aspect of this complicated topic, advice with elder law is useful. Consulting with experienced professionals is a good step and the earlier it is done, the better.