There is a lot of information regarding planning ahead and continuum of companion care services presented in the various forms of social media, commercials, print, radio and community presentations. Planning ahead is an important part of being prepared for changes the future may bring. Consider these approaches as you develop a plan of care:
This approach focuses on the importance of looking at the whole person/family/situation, and not just one aspect. Many practices and programs incorporate this concept to give a more comprehensive view. When planning ahead, this means you look at a variety of areas that will need to be addressed in that plan.
There are several planning guides available online. These take you through a variety of questions in various areas of your life. They are really helpful at identifying areas you may have addressed (estate plan) and others you have not gotten to yet (funeral plan). They also ask you to document where information is kept, like passwords and accounts. You can complete them over time, and then they serve as a repository for information that your spouse or adult children can access if needed. They will typically ask questions that prompt you to think about what your wishes will be if someone has to act on your behalf.
Continuum of Care
The continuum of care refers to the many area resources and services that are available throughout the life span. Typically for adults 50 and older, you are looking at home as one end of the spectrum and a skilled nursing facility as the other. However, there are all kinds of supplemental services and housing options in between. For example, on the continuum you might find home care services, assisted living, continuing care retirement communities, senior housing communities, adult day care, meal delivery, hospice and other community-based programs. It is important to identify the possible resources before you need them. This helps you identify options and determine what you think is the best fit for you.
As an Aging Life Care™ manager, my role is often to go into a home and provide a comprehensive assessment to help individuals plan for both current and future needs. There are eight core areas we typically address: legal, crisis intervention, health and disability, financial, housing, family, local resources and advocacy. This gives you an idea of the holistic approach to planning, incorporating all three of the above concepts.
Amy Natt, an Aging Life Care ProfessionalTM, certified senior advisor and CEO of Aging Outreach Services. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org