If you’re growing older or providing care for an elderly loved one in Topeka, Kansas, chances are you’ve heard the words “care plan” before in relation to an illness or an injury. But what do they mean for an elderly person who may not currently be ill?
Care planning is something that all seniors (or their caregivers) should be doing to ensure the person who’s aging remains healthy, injury free, and as independent as possible. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Assessment. Here are some questions to ask when determining current needs for someone who’s aging:
- Do you (or your loved one) need assistance with activities of daily living (e.g., bathing grooming, meal preparation). If so, how much help do you need and how often?
- Are you still able to safely drive? If not, do you have other methods for getting around Topeka to run errands, participate in social events, or get to appointments?
- Do you have your finances in order? Are you still able to pay your bills independently?
- Have you signed a living will and a healthcare power of attorney?
- Do you have long term care insurance? If so, do you know what it covers?
- If you have any chronic illnesses (e.g., diabetes, heart disease), are you having any trouble remembering your medications or controlling your disease?
- Have you, or a close friend or family member, noticed any potential signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia?
- Have you assessed your home for potential safety hazards?
- Are you still participating in social events or hobbies?
- Are you still able to clean your own home?
Step 2. Planning. Once you’ve answered the above questions, you’ll have an idea of what you need to do next, so you’ll be able to develop a care plan. For example, do you need to:
- Ask your doctor for paperwork for a living will and a healthcare power of attorney? Ask for tips to better manage any chronic illnesses?
- Talk to your accountant or your lawyer to make sure your finances are in order?
- Review your long term care policy?
- Find alternative Topeka transportation methods?
- Check into Topeka senior resources?
- Hire a Topeka home care agency to help with activities of daily living, meal planning and preparation, light housekeeping, and more?
- Seek dementia care?
Step 3: Implementation. Now is the time to take action on your plan:
- Fill out the paperwork for your living will and healthcare power of attorney and return it to your doctor.
- Line up transportation.
- Follow the advice of your accountant or attorney.
- Make an appointment for dementia care, if needed.
- Hire a Topeka home care agency to help with any identified needs.
- Review your long term care policy.
- Take steps to manage chronic diseases.
Step 4. Monitoring. As you continue to age, your needs may change. So it’s important to periodically review your care plan and make any necessary changes.