Elder Care Planning Is Like Hurricane Planning
By: Barbara L. Spangenberg, Elder Care Coordinator
Having just weathered Hurricane Harvey, I am struck by the similarities of the emergency planning process – and how it relates to care planning for our aging parents. My 95-year-old mom learned about planning through her own disasters: she had 20 minutes to plan a San Diego wildfire escape, and three days for a Texas-sized hurricane.
Both experiences were stressful and educational. Prior to my elder care career, my own education was based on experiences with aging in-laws weathering small New Orleans’ hurricanes and ultimately the Big One: Hurricane Katrina. Resistance, denial, procrastination and fear all muddle into a storm of emotion that creates additional barriers to planning: whether related to weather or the frailties that come as a result of the aging process.
Most Baby Boomers are learning OJT (on-the-job) about caring for parents who have medical and aging issues never before experienced as a major social phenomenon. There is no single Dr. Spock’s Baby & Childcare. Yes, there’s plenty of books and websites, along with professionals in all arenas. But even collectively they do not provide a relatively single path of “What do I do for MY loved one?”
Thankfully, for those families that know “what-they-don’t-know”, there are options that help customize a path. With a holistic focus on aging-well, the care management profession embodies the planning process to help families weather the storms of aging, as just that, families. And as we learned when raising children, just about the time we figure out one “stage”…there’s another to follow. An initial consultation with a certified Aging Life Care Manager charts the course for planning the next steps in the process. The professional care management assessment, a foundation to care management support, helps identify an older adult’s base-line status, and provides informed short-term recommendations. In addition, the assessment sets the platform for longer-range planning.
Planning is an emotional and logistical process for the older adult and the family. Care Managers can help navigate that terrain, and provide the peace-of-mind that there are options. So rather than planning from the cafeteria of the local hospital during a crisis, a care manager can provide the vision and support for healthy aging ahead.
Save time, money and stress with professional guidance that turns indecision and angst into a plan that can work. Visit www.elderadvisorygroup.com or call 713.624.4288.