The elements of your caregiving plan should be:
- Narrative of Current Situation.
- General Needs Assessment of the Person for Whom You are Caring.
- What To Do As Illness Progresses.
- Friends and Family Who Can Help.
When you stop to consider the factors involved in your parent’s care, you will gain insight from the process and be able to quickly articulate your needs to doctors, nurses and service providers.
After you’ve written the narrative, conduct a general needs assessment of the family member or members involved. By looking at the tasks your loved one could use assistance with, you will start to get a better idea of what your present and future needs will be as a caregiver.
An excellent publication to review is Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families, produced by the AARP Foundation’s Benefits Outreach Program. This booklet is available to download at https://www.aarp.org/benefits-discounts/all/prepare-to-care/. It provides a step by step approach to developing your Caregiver’s Plan.
Don’t let the idea of creating a Caregiver’s Plan overwhelm you. We all make plans every day for one thing or another; this plan is just an extension of an idea that you will be ready for whatever comes. It doesn’t have to be a formal document, an outline of what your action will be based on changes in circumstance is sufficient.
Knowing in advance what your loved one wants as his or her condition progresses will give you comfort and peace that you are making the right decision. Take time to sit down and discuss the options. Research your parent’s illness or medical condition so you’ll have an idea of what to expect as time goes on; the primary care physician could offer valuable information in this area. I found a chart format easy to create and refer back to throughout the months. Regardless of the method you choose, being proactive instead of reactive will serve you well.