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Prepare to Make Long-term Care Choices

Several months ago, I was coming out of a gas station when a woman stopped me and asked me what I did for a living. On the back of our van is our web address. On the side wing windows is "Free Senior Home Placement." I explained to her that I am a Long Term Care Consultant. She breathed a sigh of relief. "Great I need you!"

She went on to explain that her mother had fallen and was in the hospital. Her hip had been broken, and she was going to be discharged from the hospital in two days. She was going to require 24-hour care. To complicate matters her mother had been caring for her father who was unable to walk, or feed himself. Suddenly they found themselves in the middle of a crisis.

Families never expect to be in a situation like this. But situations like this happen all of the time. Here is a list of things families should do to be prepared for a crisis.

While your parents are still mentally cognizant discuss with them the kind of long-term options they would prefer. Discuss, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult family homes, boarding homes, or in-home care.

Prepare a notebook that includes documentation, such as physicians phone numbers, attorney's phone numbers, bank account information, ministers phone number, power of attorney documents, and their living will.

Educate yourself on the kinds of facilities that are available in your area, or where your parents live.

Contact your local department of social and health services, find out what resources that they have available if you should need financial support. Fill out the paperwork ahead of time, leaving the date and other time sensitive information blank.

Discuss some of these issues with your siblings before hand, so you do not have to deal with family dynamics in a crisis.

Visit facilities and discuss prices so you know what your parents are able to afford. (Note that when the time comes circumstances may be that they cannot live in the kind of facility that they would prefer, especially if they require heavier care than they had anticipated.)

Being unprepared when a crisis hits will leave you scrambling. If you have done a portion of the legwork before hand you can face the crisis before you with a measure of confidence. ~Dutchy

Renee "Dutchy" Reeves is an Elder Care Consultant with over 10 years of working with the elderly and their families. Her online advice column, "Ask Dutchy" provides practical ideas and advice for assisting the elderly with Alzheimer's disease, Dementia, Parkinson's, disability, and those needing long term care. See other articles by her at http://www.askdutchy.mycarelink.net

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