Proper care planning is vital for securing seniors, and their family caregivers get the support and care they need. While care plans look diverse for each family, a few integral parts of the planning process will help make caregiving as successful and easy as possible.

Caregiving Plan

A Caregiving Plan outlays what needs to be done to manage the patient’s well-being and health. The Caregiving Plan directs non-medical primary issues and concerns, unlike the doctor’s “plan of care.” A Caregiving Plan can help you avoid schedule conflicts, line up outside help ahead of time, improve communication, and reduce caregiver overload and stress. 

A Caregiver Plan Helps at Any Stage

Where you are in your caregiving journey, plan. It is never too late to create one. Avoiding it until there is a big problem can worsen a challenging situation. Planning means having more time to make decisions and being proactive instead of reactive. You can check out Eleanor Gaccetta’s One Caregiver’s Journey. This book is a caregiver’s blueprint. It documents the author’s experience for almost ten years as a caregiver to her mother.   

On the other hand, a caregiving plan helps reduce problems with family members and older adults, minimizes last-minute scrambling for solutions, and reduces uncertainty. It can also help reduce the financial demands.

5-Step Guide to Create a Caregiver Plan

To make a caregiver plan, read more of this section as it includes information on how to get started, questions asked, and where to find helpful resources.  

Start the Conversation. It is tough to talk with older adults about aging, a decline in their abilities, or the need for additional help. And it is not something you want to bring up without preparation. Think through before starting any conversations, proactively figure out their priorities, and how to handle resistance. Advanced thought and planning help make the discussion more successful and reduce your older adult’s defensiveness. 

Build Your Team. Create a list of everyone who wants to help. Include family members, health professionals, home care workers, close friends, and others in the community.

Make a Plan. Nobody can plan for every possibility, but having the basics covered helps reduce stress and uncertainty for everyone. Once you have considered the patient’s needs and put together your team, it is now time to sit down with all your key players and put your Caregiving Plan together. Consider Your Present Situation. 

Now, there are the things you should ask yourself before you take on the role of the family caregiver: 

  • Does your schedule for the time being allow for the time commitment caregiving requires?
  • Will you be able to afford to care for your loved one financially?
  • Can you manage your parent’s care, or will you need to hire a trained caregiver?
  • Do you have a robust support system?

   4. It is best to involve your family as you create a caregiver care plan. They might offer helpful insights you may not have noticed or even volunteer to help with some responsibilities.

   5. Care for Yourself. Balancing caregiving with family, work, and other responsibilities can be exhausting. 

Need to Think About When Making a Care Plan

You will want to do look at how the patient is doing in these areas:

Physical health & medication – Is the patient able to hear and see well? Is the person in dire need of professional nursing care to carry on with drains, wounds, catheters, or other medical equipment? Do they have other diseases that need to be managed, like high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, or emphysema? What medication is the patient taking? Does the patient need reminders to take medication or assistance taking medication?

Mental health – Does the patient have any mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or psychosis? Should they be seen by a mental healthcare professional?

Everyday activities – Does the patient have problems with incontinence (inability to control urine or bowel movements)? Can they move around safely and comfortably? Can they bathe, dress, brush teeth, shave, use a toilet, wash hair, and use the phone without help? Can the person get help in times of an emergency?

Home safety – Are there any hazards in the home? What type of house maintenance and yard is needed? Are there stairs? Can the patient manage these? Try to consider these things.

Finance – Can the patient manage their affairs, including paying bills? What is the patient earning and spending? What are their income sources and the likes? 

Insurance – What insurance coverage does the patient have? Does the patient have long-term care insurance, life insurance, or supplementary insurance? Does insurance cover “non-medical” personal care? Has the patient been told that insurance would not cover medical tests or procedures that the doctor has ordered?

Legal – Does the patient have a trust, will, living will, or advance directive? Make sure these things are addressed beforehand.

Interests & lifestyle – What are the patient’s hobbies? Do they belong to a church or other faith-based group? Do they get out of the house for social reasons? Get visitors at home? Do family members live close by?

Bear in mind that once your care plan is in place, it will carry on to evolve and develop as you and your care team acquire experience and your loved one’s needs change. It is a lot of work to initiate a comprehensive care plan, but even a simple organizational strategy is better than nothing.

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