As seniors age, many times they will be confronted with some type of crisis situation. In order to avoid a crisis, it is best to be proactive, which means to plan as if there could be a crisis in the future.
Unfortunately, many seniors do not plan until they are faced with a crisis situation, such as having to go into a nursing home for long-term care. Then loved ones suddenly have to make tough decisions on behalf of the senior.
For the caregiver, this may be the first time he or she has ever had to deal with problems that come with aging, such as disability or chronic illness. Perhaps the caregiver has incrementally been providing care to a spouse until the burden becomes too great. This then becomes a crisis situation.
Here are some types of crises that you may face:
This is when you realize that caring for a loved one has become too much to handle. You are faced with looking at placing your loved one in a nursing home for long-term care. You may have to make an immediate decision about where to place your loved one without the time needed to research all the options available to him.
You may not have realized the high cost of long-term care in a nursing home and you are now faced with the realization that your entire life’s savings could be easily wiped out in a short amount of time. You may not realize that your loved one may qualify for Medicaid, veterans’ benefits (such as Aid & Attendance) or other entitlement programs, or know how to apply for them.
You may suddenly realize that your loved one does not have his estate documents (such as a will, a power of attorney, a health care representative and a living will) in place and now you cannot help him without going through probate court.
If you have been caring for your loved one, and now realize that you can no longer do so, the decision to place your loved one into long-term care could be agonizing, leaving you with feelings of guilt, anger or a whole host of other emotions that can overwhelm you.
If family relations were strained in the past, they could be further strained as the family is pressured to quickly make long-term care decisions for the senior. Family members may not agree with the decisions made and family harmony could be irrevocably broken.
Being aware of these issues and being proactive prior to a crisis situation will help make a crisis situation less stressful for the senior and his caregiver. It is always best to have your estate planning documents and an asset protection plan in place before a crisis strikes.