The Eldercare Continuum: How to know When to Plan
Few adults are prepared to deal with aging parents. As author Stella Henry, RN, author of The Eldercare Handbook (Available on Amazon) puts it, "We are all pioneers in this strange frontier of caregiver and decision maker for parents. Just as children do not come with instructions, neither do parents."
In our practice, we witness firsthand the difficult choices and dynamics families face. But I have personal experience, as well, from when my parents began their journey through the elder care continuum.
In our experience, there are two primary ways one finds themself on the eldercare continuum. First, a medical crisis. Second, after a long and protracted decline.
While I haven’t crunched the numbers, I can comfortably say that a very high (85% or more) portion of the families seeking help defraying long-term care costs are in crisis, meaning that they are imminently facing decisions about where to place a loved one and how to pay for long-term care. And that, my reader, is not good for the parent, the family, or the parent’s nest egg.
So, how can one recognize that a parent may require long-term care and/or may not be safely cared for at home? An excellent article about 12 warning signs can be found at SeniorsSafetyAdvice.com.
Most of us that deal with elders going through the elder care continuum know that a quick, peaceful death is rare. As people live longer, it is more likely that death will follow a period of protracted illness or disability. I strongly recommend meeting with an ElderLawAttorney or an Aging Life Care Expert sooner rather than later.