The vast majority of elder care services are provided by close family members of senior adults. There may come a time, however, when even the most dedicated family caregivers can no longer meet the demands of an elder loved one’s needs. This may be the time when, as a family, you need to transition the aging loved one to care outside his or her home.

This National Elder Law Month, we encourage you to talk to your parents and grandparents about the care they need.

It may not be easy to discuss the problems they are having managing activities of daily living (ADLs) for any number of reasons. As a result, it may be helpful to attend a doctor’s appointment with an elder loved one and discuss appropriate care alternatives there.

Let us share several important considerations and tips with you here in our blog this National Elder Law Month.

 These are the points that we give our family, friends, clients, and community professionals to consider when they are looking to handle complex elder law issues like these.  

1. Managing open communication. Change is difficult at any age, especially for vulnerable seniors. Approach the subject of outside care with understanding and empathy. Assure your loved ones that they are not being abandoned, rather, that you have their best interests in mind. If they are resistant, look beyond what is being said, and attempt to assuage their fears with compassion. It may be helpful to begin the conversation long before the transition is actually needed as you help identify their desires and work together to plan accordingly.

2. Address financial concerns. Having ample financial resources can do a lot to alleviate elder care concerns. When you and your loved ones have more limited resources, however, you can still have plenty of positive long-term care outcomes. In both scenarios, it is essential to plan with an elder law attorney who knows what you are facing and understand your options.

3. Hiring outside care together. Perhaps the most important aspect of hiring outside care, is to involve the elder loved one in the process. For example:

  • Let your loved one know that working with a care provider is something they can do to take part in their own care.
  • Ask the elder adult to try out a caregiver for a week at a time before making a final hire so he or she may provide feedback.
  • Make a list of the responsibilities both you and your loved one think are important for this person to complete during his or her shift.

4. Verify estate planning is up-to-date and accurate. Does your elder loved one have his or her Florida estate plan in order? This could include a last will and testament or trust agreement, healthcare advance directives, durable power of attorney, and other important Florida documents. We encourage you not to wait until an elder relative becomes incapacitated as he or she may lack the ability to create an estate plan.

We know this is not an easy time for you or your aging loved one. We also know that this article may raise more questions than it answers. Do not wait to contact our firm to schedule a meeting with attorney Allen Poucher to get the elder law support you need for you and your loved ones during this National Elder Law Month and throughout the year.