The start of a new year is probably the most common time for goal setting and resolutions. There’s something about that feeling of a fresh start that inspires many of us to think about our lives and determine what we’d like to accomplish over the course of the next year. Many of these goals and resolutions typically revolve around things like weight loss or personal development, or maybe even saving for an upcoming vacation.
Another great goal is to begin planning for your loved one’s senior care. If you haven’t started already, 2020 is a great time to work through this. Sure, it might be difficult at times, but with any sort of resolution or goal, putting in the work at the beginning can make all the difference in the future.
Why Should I Start Planning for Their Senior Care Now?
Planning ahead allows you and your loved ones to take control of the situation, not the other way around. You want to be able to plan ahead of time so you aren’t caught off-guard and scrambling if a crisis arises. While your loved ones might not want to think about this until they must, waiting until it’s necessary often makes the process more stressful.
Beginning to work with your loved ones through this transition also gives them the chance to change their minds and be an empowered part of the process. At the last minute, most decisions will need to be final. If you’re working ahead, your loved ones can have time to think about their situation and what they really want in a retirement community. In turn, this can help them feel more in control of their care.
Finally, planning ahead allows you to find the best place for your senior loved one, rather than choosing at the last minute. If needed, you can probably put your loved one’s name on a senior living waitlist once they find a community they love. This step can also help the process feel more positive for them and for you.
7 Steps You Can Take Now
Once you’ve decided to start working toward this goal in 2020, it might feel overwhelming or like you don’t know where to begin. We’ve pulled together a list of seven steps you can take to get started on working through the planning process.
1. Have an open and honest discussion.
Communication can often be the most difficult part of a transition into senior care, but it’s the most important. Talking with your loved ones about what they’re expecting in the next phase of their life is critical to making sure the rest of this process goes as smoothly as possible.
2. Discuss financials.
Budget can also be a tough conversation to have, especially if your loved ones prefer to keep these sorts of things to themselves. Explain to them that it’s important that you know their financial and budgetary situation so you can help them make the best decision.
3. Research retirement communities.
Once you’ve had those first conversations you can begin the more enjoyable part of actually looking into communities your loved ones might want to live. Every retirement community is different, and some will likely resonate with your loved one and some will not.
4. Begin to go on tours of communities.
After doing your research, you and your loved ones can begin to actually visit and tour the communities you liked on paper or online. This is the best way to make sure your loved one finds the right place for them.
5. Find and organize healthcare documentation.
Obtaining your loved one’s health records is necessary for moving into a senior living community. By preparing these documents in advance, you can make the transition easier, and you’ll have easier access to them in the meantime.
6. Organize other miscellaneous documents.
Here are some other documents you will need to gather, as well.
- Estate Planning Documents
- Financial Documents
- Identification Documents
- Marriage or Divorce Papers (if applicable)
7. Plan some self-care for you and your loved ones.
Self-care seems to be a buzzword nowadays, but it’s important that you don’t shrug this part off. This is a stressful time for you, your loved ones and anyone else involved in this process. Find some time (either separately or together) when you can all do something you enjoy doing. It might be as simple as going to dinner and a movie and not thinking about this planning process. Or you might want to book a massage, or even something bigger like a weekend away to celebrate having plans set.
While this list certainly isn’t all-inclusive, this should give you a good start on planning ahead for your loved one’s senior care. If you’d like even more information, you can download our free resource on how to choose a retirement community here.