Holiday Visits and Long-Term Care Planning

Long Term Care Planning
Visiting with older adult family members during the holidays provides a great opportunity to start a conversation about long-term care planning.

A home-cooked meal with all the trimmings…family gathered together to share love, laughter, and gifts…and a conversation about long-term care planning? While at first the idea may seem out of place, holiday visits with older loved ones actually offer the perfect opportunity for heartfelt, meaningful conversations. Ensuring that plans for the future are in place according to a senior’s wishes certainly falls into that category.

To get you started, AARP provides a great long-term planning resource guide.

What Exactly Does Long-Term Care Include?

When many people think of long-term care, they immediately picture transitioning to a nursing home or other care facility. However, more and more older adults are choosing to remain at home throughout aging. If this is the case with the seniors you love, long-term care may mean:

  • Assistance with day-to-day activities that may become difficult to manage independently, such as preparing meals, grocery shopping and other errands, housework, and personal care needs
  • Assistance with health care needs, such as wound care, IV treatments, blood draws, vital signs checks, etc.
  • Home modifications for safety
  • Technology tools to increase independence

Who Needs Long-Term Care?

Statistics show that more than two out of every three older adults over age 65 will need some sort of long-term care at some point in their lives. Of course, the need for care is unique to each individual. In general, women require care more than men, which may be the result of the extended life expectancy of women.

Discussing Long-Term Care Planning with Someone You Love

An honest, open introduction to the topic allows you to express your care and concern for the older adult, and how planning now for the future will ease your level of stress. Ensure that you’re soliciting the senior’s input every step of the way, making it clear that the choices are theirs and that you will honor them.

Getting the answers to these questions can help in the older adult’s decision-making process:

  • Where do you envision yourself living for the remainder of your lifetime? At home? In a long-term care facility? With a family member or friend?
  • If the goal is to stay at home, what modifications will be needed to accommodate any health changes that may occur, such as the need for a wheelchair? Consider:
    • Grab bars and railings
    • A ramp leading into the home
    • Bedroom and bathroom on the first floor
    • Widened doorways and hallways
    • Rearranging storage to place frequently-used items within easy reach
  • Who would you like to be part of your support network? Make a list of key people along with their contact information, and share the list with those people so everyone is on board and prepared to assist when needed.
  • Are all of the following important documents in place and stored in a location where they can be easily located by trusted family members?
    • Will
    • Living will
    • Powers of attorney (both for health care and financial decisions)
    • List of medications being taken, prescribing doctors along with their contact information, drug allergies, and any other critical health details
  • How will long-term care costs be covered?

With answers to these questions in hand, the transition to long-term care, when the need arises, will be a smoother process for everyone involved.

As the leading provider of home care assistance in Peoria and nearby areas, Nightingale Homecare is always here with a full range of both non-medical and skilled care services to help older adults remain safe, comfortable, and as independent as possible at home throughout aging. You can reach us any time at (602) 504-1555 as part of your long-term care planning process for as much or as little support as needed.