Chapter 3: Plan Early and Look Beyond Today

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The senior member or members of your family have acknowledged that because of their age, they need some modification in their lifestyles, small or major, either immediately or in the near future. The family supports that decision and says it will do whatever it can to help. It sometimes happens that not all members of the family come to the same conclusion, a subject we’ll discuss in Chapter 16. But here we’ll assume that the family is of one mind and has accepted your offer to lead the search for the best solution to your parents’ needs.

As a first step, we recommend that you, the family team leader, organize a conference of the entire family and begin the search for help as soon as the need occurs. This chapter covers practical steps to take and information to be aware of:

  1. Take an Inventory and Get Organized
  2. Prepare to Be Flexible
  3. Join a Support Group
  4. Have an Estate Plan
  5. Make a Will
  6. Advance Directive (living will)
  7. Power of Attorney
  8. Insurance
  9. Children’s Financial Contributions

Keep in mind that as time-consuming and energy-draining as the duties of caregiver are, they are also very gratifying experiences that you can enjoy in the moment and also look back on with warmth and satisfaction after your parents have passed away.

Review additional chapters of Stages of Senior Care:

Previous: Chapter 2: You, The Caregiver  
Next: Chapter 4: Aging in Place