Planning, Preparing, & Procuring… successful aging takes some effort!
by Gail Arno, CMC, ECM Director of Care Management
Each day, our Care Managers meet our senior clients who are in the midst of their own crisis. Often, the issues we tackle are mild and manageable. Sometimes, however, the situation is serious and life-altering. As Care Managers, we accept these challenges and are honored to be able to step in to educate, support, navigate, and advocate for the best possible outcomes for every client we serve.
We do believe, however, that these crises can be better managed when a preemptive plan is created and collective decision-making is put in place well ahead of the event. We certainly recognize that none of us knows exactly what we will face as we age. But, by researching options, sculpting plans, identifying resources, and making our wishes known to our designated decision-makers, we will at least have a fighting chance to get what we want as our aging journey progresses.
Elder Care Management is often brought into a client’s crisis and to find that there is no legal paperwork completed and that the client is in need of a properly designated and empowered decision-maker. At times, the family surfaces hoping to provide support only to find that no previous discussions have been had and there is no clear idea of what the wishes of the loved one might be. We also find ourselves diving into unresolved conflict within a family, charged with unraveling the disconnect and making sure that the client’s wishes are honored. Often we are traversing that fine line between parent and adult child and encountering the inherent discomfort that comes with discussing the “tough stuff” with mom and dad. Releasing control and decision-making from parent to adult child can be so very challenging in the best of scenarios.
Getting your legal house in order is critical. Educating yourself and your loved ones on options that exist to support your goals in aging is invaluable, especially when done prior to a crisis. Making sure that your designated support systems know your wishes from the start of aging through the close of life is a gift you give not only yourself but those you love. Gathering information, determining your desires, setting out a course or plan of action, and letting those who will walk with you on that journey know your personal wishes should be the goal for all of us.
We plan and prepare for births, educational journeys from kindergarten through college, weddings, growing a family, even travel, and yet many of us hesitate and refuse to plan for our own aging experience. With the assistance of a Care Manager, you can get the guidance necessary for planning, educating, and determining your wants and wishes. Identifying your choices and understanding your options is a huge part of being able to make wise decisions. We feel well equipped to offer you this opportunity. We come to you with no vested interest in the outcomes – we are a neutral party who is happy to answer your questions directly and honestly. We are happy to provide you with the research and resources to make your wishes come to fruition.