How to Create a Care Plan for Your Elderly Loved Ones
November 29 2019
Working with a Trusted Provider to Build an Individualized Care Plan for Your Elderly Loved One
Each person has their own needs when it comes to their care and for the elderly, it is no different. When working with a trusted care provider, it is important that you work with them to create your loved one’s individualized care plan. An open dialogue between you and the care provider, in which you communicate your loved one’s specific needs, is key in creating an individualized care plan. You might be asking, “How specific is specific?” These tips will help you know what to discuss with your trusted care provider when devising an individualized care plan for your elderly loved one.
Important Legal Documents
If you are beginning work with a care provider, chances are you or your elderly loved one already have the needed legal documents lined up. However, it is worth going over. There are 3 important legal documents you will need in order to truly help your elderly loved one with their medical and care needs.
One is a HIPAA Authorization form. HIPAA is a legal standard that keeps a person’s health information and records private. This document will allow doctors and other medical professionals to keep approved family members in the know regarding their loved one’s medical status.
The second document is a power of attorney (also known as a medical power of attorney or health care proxy document). This legal document enables a person to appoint an agent (generally a relative or trusted friend) to make healthcare decisions on their behalf. While HIPAA allows you access to medical information, a power of attorney allows you, the agent, to make healthcare decisions for your loved one when they cannot.
The final document you need is a living will (also known as an advanced health care directive). This legal document sets forth your loved one’s wishes for end-of-life care. This will ensure that you do not need to agonize over difficult medical decisions as your loved one has already laid out their choices for you. A living will often includes the person’s choices about specific treatments that they may or may not want in specific circumstances. At the very least, a living will should indicate whether resuscitation should be attempted if breathing stops or if artificial life support should be used or a feeding tube inserted.
Assess Daily Living Activities
The first step in creating an elderly or geriatric care plan is to assess your loved one’s daily life. Your care plan needs to be well-rounded and should include not only health care plans, but a plan to help with daily activities as well. Observe your loved one’s day from the moment they get up for the day to the moment they get into bed, and perhaps even while they sleep at night. Does your loved one need assistance getting dressed, performing personal hygiene tasks, creating meals, organizing and taking medications? If you are able to help with tasks as a family caregiver, make a note of what you are able to perform and what you may need help with in caring for your loved one.
You can’t be overly specific so write down anything that you notice that may be difficult for your loved one to do on their own. Perhaps some days your loved one is able to get dressed, but on the days when the pain or tremors are worse, then they may need help. Make a note of those instances too. By being specific about the needs your loved one has, your trusted care provider will be able to create a customized care plan with you. That trusted provider will also be able to make suggestions on how to make tasks easier for your loved to help them continue to be self-sufficient in certain areas. These suggestions may be medical aides you can purchase for your loved one, or changes to the layout of furniture to make it easier for them to move about their home.
Health Care Needs
It is important to share your loved one’s medical history with your trusted care provider so that you can help them create a care plan that meets your elderly loved one’s needs. Be sure to discuss in detail what is currently ailing your loved one, whether that is Parkinson’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis or Dementia. Discuss different care options with your trusted provider and decide what should go into a care plan. The health care part of the plan should include medications (with dosage and timing information) as well as treatments. Know that a care plan should be constantly reviewed and revised as your loved one’s health care needs change.
Once you have created the care plan for both daily activities and health care needs with a trusted care provider, you and the provider should also set some goals. Ask yourself what you would like to have improved in your loved one’s life and base goals off of those answers. Be sure to also order these goals by priority. For example, if your loved one is losing too much weight, your top goal may be to cease weight loss and then later, to help them gain weight. Don’t forget to include your own desires for the future when creating these care objectives. Wanting your loved one to have a higher quality of life is an excellent caregiving goal.
A Trusted Provider
By working with a trusted provider, you will have the assurance that your concerns and observations will be listened to and accounted for. You will also have the peace of mind that the right care team will be created based on your loved one’s individual needs. For example, if your elderly loved one has a specific illness, a member of that care team might be someone who specializes in that illness. Most importantly, a trusted care provider will take into account every aspect of your loved one’s life and needs as well as work with you as part of the team.