As an adult caring for aging parents and other beloved ones, there, unfortunately, comes a time when difficult and often contentious decisions need to be made in the form of accepting help. You believe Mom is continuing to slow down with everyday tasks becoming increasingly more challenging—albeit physically, cognitively, or both. Maybe Dad has been diagnosed with a life-altering illness, and the entire family unit is frozen with grief. Let’s introduce you to five professional service providers to know about not only as a loved one ages but as the need for end-of-life care draws near. Here is a list of the professionals you and your loved one need to meet.
Elder attorneys, or older adult law attorneys, know the laws and pitfalls surrounding older or disabled adults, including Medicaid qualification, and maximizing both Social Security and Veterans Administration benefits. These attorneys routinely review, then revise a Will or an Advance Directive, and oversee probate proceedings as a routine course of services. They also assert nursing home resident rights, and older adult abuse or neglect cases. If you’re not sure of the rights or laws to which your aging parent is entitled, it’s worth discussing with an elder attorney.
Do you want to help maintain quality of life and independence for your senior? Can you release the disappointment that comes with being unable (or unavailable) to respond to each crisis on their timeline? If your loved one needs help around the house but isn’t quite ready to move into assisted living—or downright refuses to move—consider hiring in-home care. A range of service levels exists. In-home support for personal independence offers socialization, meal preparation, and even transportation from providers, and is a good way to introduce care support to your senior. Care from CNAs (certified nursing assistants) or registered nurses (depending on the level of care) are offered by visiting homes to help the aging by reminding or administering medication and checking on their overall health. Care that requires more of a medical approach is handled by an RN. Specialized service might be necessary as well, like physical fitness, adaptive device installation, or having someone available if you can’t check in. This is an especially helpful option when you live far enough away that visiting isn’t an option.
When loved ones have a serious illness or are pursuing aggressive treatment—conditions like cancer, and heart or pulmonary disease—palliative care increases both the level of care and its coordination. Patients in palliative care receive help documenting the goals of care. Support with pain management and other symptoms, which helps avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and office visits. This kind of care helps to improve the quality of life for the patient, their family, and caregivers. Referrals to services and sources for living needs, such as food delivery, assistive devices, and emotional support, are frequently included. While social stigmas surround this kind of care, a misguided belief is that pain management leads to substance abuse. However, when correctly administered, it is safe, effective, and quite often, a much-needed relief.
To learn more about palliative care, in the Atlanta area, visit Weinstein Hospice to read more.
Hospice is end-of-life care, shifting from curative to supportive care. When there is nothing more doctors can do, hospice is recommended to make the patient as comfortable as possible until their passing. This level of care respects the patient with dignity and honors their wishes regarding the end of their life. Hospice takes the worry out of the hands of grieving family members, as their terminally ill loved ones are cared for during this difficult time. Members of a hospice team include the attending physician (MD), registered nurses (RN), certified nursing assistants (CNA), and social workers. Hospice care is delivered at home, such as in a house or apartment, in assisted living, or while at a skilled nursing facility.
After the loss of your loved one, grief and trauma therapy is available, as well as bereavement groups you can join. These services provide education on grief as well as support for up to a full year after the passing of your loved one. Seek out one-to-one services from licensed professional counselors, or group settings through faith affiliations at your house of worship or through referrals from your loved ones’ care facility. Consider if joining a group with an emphasis on a particular illness such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, or suffering a stroke feels important.
At Organized Instincts, our seasoned team of daily money managers helps you understand the level of care your aging parent benefits from receiving. Schedule a conversation today to learn how to navigate the process of caring, and how to free up you and your loved ones’ time by offloading day-to-day financial duties.