Complete Eldercare Planner : Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, and How to Find Help

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2000-05-01
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press
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"Am I doing the right thing?" "I work full-time -- how can I be in two places at once?" "Who's going to pay for Mom's home care?" "How do I bring up sensitive subjects like their money, moving, and not driving?" "Do we need long-term-care insurance?" "Wait! Do I really want Dad to move in?" "Where do my parents keep their legal documents?" "Do they have a will?" Caring for elderly loved ones can be a full-time job--on top of regular work and family responsibilities. How can you cope? The answer is Joy Loverde'sThe Complete Eldercare Planner, now fully revised and updated with the latest information to help you plan ahead and manage real-life eldercare crises. Everything you need is on these pages, with essential checklists, practical communication tips, free and low-cost resources, web-sites, step-by-step action plans, questions to ask the professionals, record-keeping forms, and The Documents Locator, which helps you to always have access to critical paperwork. Here's a sample of what you'll find inside: EFFECTIVE PLANNING: Where to start -- Getting caught off-guard COMMUNICARING: Opening up the dialogue -- Turning conflict into cooperation -- Getting everyone in the family to pitch in CAREGIVERS: How to tell when your elder needs help -- Sharing the care -- Avoiding burnout EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: Managing medications -- Coping with hospitalization MONEY MATTERS: The cost of long-term care -- Ready cash LEGAL MATTERS: Estate planning -- Elder advocacy INSURANCE: Getting the coverage you need -- Beyond Medicare HOUSING: Home suite home -- When Mom or Dad moves in SAFE AND SECURE: Minimizing distress over distance -- Accident-proofing the home TRANSPORTATION: When it is no longer safe to drive -- Alternative transportation HEALTH AND WELLNESS: Taking charge of health -- Communicating with the doctor DEATH AND DYING: End-of-life issues -- Saying good-bye QUALITY OF LIFE: Aging with disability -- Family power THE DOCUMENTS LOCATOR From the Trade Paperback edition.

Author Biography

Joy Loverde works with family members and organizations that want to lessen the financial and emotional burdens of caring for elderly loved ones. She also serves as a consultant to attorneys, financial planners, clergy, professionals, administrators, and other members of the fast-growing eldercare advisory industry. Her work has been featured on the Today show and in USA Today. She is on the faculty of Eden Across America and is the international eldercare spokesperson for the Employee Services Management Association. She lives in Chicago.


Most of us are inadequately prepared, emotionally and otherwise, to face the complex issue associated with caring for elderly loved ones. Each situation usually involves multiple issues. How one family handles a problem is not necessarily the right approach for another, and what works one day could change drastically, overnight. How then do we proceed under these seemingly chaotic circumstances? The answer lies in planning.

Planning, however, takes on a whole new level of meaning when it comes to eldercare. Existing family decision-making patterns will no longer apply, and we soon realize we will not be returning to our past lifestyles. What we can plan on is that ongoing changes in the eldercare process will surely impact the rest of the family, sometimes suddenly, sometimes so gradually that we may not even notice the change.

The true nature of assisting an elderly parent, spouse, or other family member includes a roller coaster of emotional upsets, and consequently the process of care giving requires constant management of our attitudes and decisions. The Complete Eldercare Planner is your road map through this unfamiliar territory. Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of this book:Read the Introduction and the Objectives section at the beginning of each chapter. Knowing the basis for what you are reading, and why, will be especially helpful when the emotional aspect of assisting your loved one threatens to undermine your ability to accomplish what you want.As you finish reviewing the chapter, set goals with the help of the Eldercare Goals chart found on page 286 in chapter 14. Track your progress by referring to the Action Checklists at the end of each chapter. Effective planning is specific, realistic, and written.Start to fill out the Elder Emergency Information Chart on page xiii today. Finally, for quick reference to eldercare resources, websites, charts, and worksheets listed throughout The Planner, turn to the Index sections at the end of the book. You now have the tools you need to get started.

A PLACE TO STARTPlanning and preparation are critical for effective elder care.
Experts agree that rule number one in thoughtful planning is to use some form of planner to write things down.

Whether you are planning for future eldercare needs or helping an elderly relative in a crisis situation, The Complete Eldercare Planner will assist you and your family in pulling it all together.

After completing A Place to Start, you will be able to:Create opportunities to open up the lines of communication.
Minimize the number of crisis situations.
Reduce confusion in crisis situations.
Gain greater peace of mind by planning ahead.
Plan One

Don't read this book. Use it.

This planner is specifically designed and organized to help you understand and manage issues associated with assisting an aging parent, spouse, or other family member or friend. The Complete Eldercare Planner offers immediate solutions to common problems by way of time saving action plans, charts, worksheets, and checklists. Make use of the spaces provided for listing telephone numbers, setting goals, and locating documents. At the end of every chapter you will also find an in-depth list of resources to give you the additional support you will need.

Decide what works best for you. How you use The Complete Eldercare Planner depends on the nature of your eldercare situation, your family's decision patterns, the help you receive from others, eligibility into specialized programs, and the availability of financial resources. You may choose to implement one plan, several plans, or even a combination of plans. A plan may work one day and not the next. Flexibility will be one of the keys to your effectiveness as a family caregiver.

The process of assisting an elderly family member requires an ongoing assessment of the situation at hand. Nothing stays the same in eldercare; aging people are constantly in transition. Open up the lines of communication early with elders and family members, and seek the advice of geriatric care professionals when you need additional support. Making assumptions about what is happening instead of talking to each other always does more harm than good. Operate from fact, not fiction.

Keep your planning and time line expectations realistic. Ask yourself on a regular basis these three simple questions: What can happen? What will my elder be able to do about what happens? What can the rest of the family do to help?

Plan early. The well-being of the entire family depends on the quantity and quality of your eldercare options, decisions, and plans.

Plan Two
Implement planning principles

Follow these six basic planning principles:

Set goals. Know what you are doing and why. Effective goal setting is specific, realistic, and written. Make use of the Goals Chart on p. 286.

Create support systems and use them. Surround elderly family members with people both inside and outside the family, as well as community assisted-living resources to share responsibilities and protect against family caregiver stress.

Write everything down. Put dates on all notes. Record plans, goals, ideas, phone numbers, questions, answers, promises, decisions, tasks, and appointments and keep them in a convenient, accessible location. Make good use of the forms in this planner.

Organize information. Keep notes, bills, receipts, contracts, letters, brochures, and all other eldercare-related information in a safe, twenty-four-hour accessible place. Create a system that makes it easy for you to find information and answers when you need them.

Allow sufficient time for research. Gathering information and creating options is critical to thoughtful action. Research more than one option. Research all costs and who pays.

Excerpted from The Complete Eldercare Planner: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, and How to Find Help by Joy Loverde
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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