Who will care for your loved one when you no longer can?
In business, succession planning is the process of continually training and developing employees to ensure that someone qualified will take over when the company expands or employees leave.
While caregiving is not a business, there are many times that caregivers can benefit from operating like a business: when effectively managing finances, keeping current with insurance plans and legal documents, and in cases of long-term caregiving "• especially for the aging caregiver "• being sure someone is ready to take over in the event of an emergency.
Entrusting someone you love to someone else’s care can be a stressful scenario to imagine. It’s easy to put the idea of something happening to you in the back of your mind and hope it may not happen, but it’s not fair to the person in your care.
Deciding how your loved one will be cared for if you should fall ill or pass away should be a decision you make well in advance, and if possible, with your family’s help. Talking openly about this possibility and planning for it can prepare everyone for the worst case scenario and provide a sense of peace that there is a plan in place during a stressful transition time. Here are a few common sense guidelines to help families approach this difficult subject:
- Talk about it while you are healthy as a “just in case” discussion. You can say, “Let’s get this done, so everyone is on the same page and knows the plan.”
- If you can involve other family members, try for consensus — having everyone agree on what the best possible path forward would look like. This will eliminate family arguments when and if the time comes.
- If needed, guardianship should be decided and legal papers drawn up so there is no quarrel later.
- Create a file box with all medical information regarding your loved one’s care: medications and dosages, lists of physicians, copies of insurance cards, and legal papers such as Power of Attorney or Living Wills, and tell one or two family members (or your attorney) where these papers can be found at all times.
- If there are no other family members who are willing or able to take over your caregiving responsibilities, work on creating a plan with your loved one (if feasible), and possibly a lawyer.
- Decide if you will use paid home care, a nursing home, assisted living, or a group home in accordance with your loved one’s wishes, level of independence, and your financial constraints. Contacting the party you choose in advance for a consultation on what to expect may be helpful as well.
Planning for life’s unexpected emergencies is never easy or comfortable, but in the long run, it can save a lot of heartache. Check this box off your caregiving to-do list, and you’ll feel better, too!