How to Create a Daily Living Care Plan
Aging is a fact of life. A proper long-term care plan will go a long way in ensuring that your elderly loved ones live the highest quality of life at every stage. When your family decides it’s time to come together to care for an aging loved one, there are some basics that you should consider first. There are what professional caregivers call Activities of Daily Living (ADLs):
- Personal hygiene:
Can your loved one bath and groom alone or will someone need to help? This includes oral, nail, and hair care.
- Continence management:
Can your loved one properly use the bathroom independently, or will someone need to help?
Can your loved one select and wear proper clothes for the right occasions, or will someone need to help?
Can your loved one plan, cook, and clean up after nutritious meals, or will someone need to help?
Can your loved one change positions and walk independently, or will someone need to help?
In addition to these Activities of Daily Living, your family should also consider other Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). These include:
- Companionship and mental support:
Who can help spend time with your loved one daily and help keep your loved one in a positive mindframe?
- Transportation and shopping:
Can your loved one safely get to the store without help, or will someone need to help?
- Preparing meals:
Can your loved one properly grocery shop and prepare meals independently, or will someone need to help?
- Managing the household:
Can your loved one clean up the house, tidy, do laundry, and keep up with the trash or will someone need to help?
- Managing medications:
Can your loved one get prescriptions filled and remember to take the right dosages at the right times, or will someone need to help?
- Communicating with others:
Can your loved one answer the phone, respond to mail, and make the home hospitable for guests, or will someone need to help?
- Managing finances:
Can your loved one balance the bank account and pay bills on time, or will someone need to help?
Now that you know what should be included in a daily living care plan, here’s how you and the family can get started creating one that works for your loved one.
Don’t Rush the Process
Formulating a daily living care plan doesn’t have to be a one-day event. There is a lot of scheduling to be figured out. Unsure about something? Why not try sleep on it, or give it a day or two? Make it a family policy to thoroughly vet every decision concerning the care and support of your elderly loved ones.
Schedule family meeting times to revisit certain issues or arrangements. This approach offers the following benefits:
- It lets all family members know of the upcoming family discussion that concerns the daily living care plan for your elderly loved one/s.
- It helps identify and validate any concerns and issues while also conveying the message that any problems aren’t being ignored or avoided.
- Follow up with a phone call, or text message. Remember, the goal isn’t to make the urgency of the meeting itself per se but rather to raise awareness of any issues ahead of time.
Make It An All-Inclusive Affair
Any plans concerning the daily care and support of an elderly loved one must, as a rule of thumb, include all key family members. Leaving some family members out of the discussion only leads to resentment which breeds further communication and relationship challenges. The goal is to solve a challenge not to create another one.
Including all your family members helps build a diverse and exciting care team for your elderly loved one. Being surrounded by lots of loved ones actively involved in figuring out the daily living care plan is probably the best act of love to an elderly loved one.
Your Loved One is the Team Captain
When creating a daily living care plan, the focus may sometimes drift away from what your elderly loved one wants to what is convenient for the family. While some compromise is to be expected, remember that you are doing this to ensure your aging loved one has the highest quality of life, and that you must respect his or her wishes. You are the team and she or he is the captain.
Where applicable you may allow your elderly loved ones to assign specific tasks to individual family members. This way they get to play an active role in creating their own daily living care plan.
If your family feels overwhelmed with scheduling and unsure that you’ll each be able to consistently take on specific caregiving shifts, consider hiring a professional in-home caregiver. A professional caregiver is certified and able to help with all activities of daily living and is also there to provide companionship.