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Long-Term Care

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Tips for Caregivers

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Planning ahead is an important part of caregiving. Discussing preferences and researching options in advance of a caregiving need is key to making a plan that will be successful. If you know that a loved one will need care sometime soon, keep a folder with notes and documents that will help you make decisions quickly when the time arrives. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Talk openly with family members and/or your loved one to assess the current situation. Make a list of the types of assistance that will be needed. If possible, estimate the number of hours per day each type of assistance may be needed.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the caregiving resources available in your community. Start by locating a senior center or Area Agency on Aging that serves your neighborhood. Give them a call, or drop by, to find out what services they can provide.
  3. Think about the long-term situation. Are care needs likely to increase over time? Consider the different types of care and how your loved one might move from one to the next. For instance, it might make sense to begin with home care and then move to assisted living as needs increase.
  4. As part of your plan, identify friends, neighbors and other relatives who might help out. Find out what type of support they are willing to provide, and when they would be available.
  5. If home care is a part of your plan, assess the safety of the home and plan ahead for modifications that may be needed, such as a wheelchair ramp or extra safety features in the bathroom.
  6. Discuss your plan with family physicians, financial advisors, clergy or any other trusted advisors who may have suggestions to make.
  7. Research legal documents that might be necessary for you to implement the plan, should your loved one not be able to make decisions on their own.

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