Seeking outside care for your elderly loved one requires sharing important information about the individual's health concerns and addressing any current challenges.
Having an action plan, such as a Care Plan, can help in the organization of care and as a resource for others to provide and maintain care when change happens.
The first step in establishing and creating a care plan for your elderly loved one is by assessing their exact needs and gathering information on any current health or environmental challenges.
Whether it is a daily to-do list or a comprehensive plan of care for meals, companionship, and personal care, a care plan provides the caregiver with a handy resource to ensure the health and safety of your loved one.
Health Concerns and Medical Diagnosis
Always begin with the medical and health concerns your loved one is undergoing. Identifying their health needs is a priority when considering external home care or if taking on the caregiving task yourself. Become involved in their health care by speaking with doctors and other medical practitioners, therapists, and specialists. Attend appointments, arrange for prescription organization, and obtain any medical assistive devices such as walkers, canes, wheelchairs, or beds.
Depending on the individual's health concerns, you may require assistance from Personal Support Workers who can provide personal hygienic care, transfers or lifts. if your loved one suffers from dementia or Alzheimer's, the level of care may require companionship, meal assistance and light housekeeping to ensure their safety and nutrition intake.
Are there any dietary restrictions, for example with diabetes, that the caregiver should be aware of? Any food or medication allergies? Do they struggle with vision or hearing impairments? These concerns can help to develop an action plan for care.
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (iADLs)
Another area you may wish to asses when developing a care plan is the person's current ability to perform daily tasks that they otherwise used to be able to do. These daily living activities range from bathing/showering, dressing toileting to preparing meals, feeding themselves, paying bills, shopping, and light housework, etc.
Consider whether the person is able to perform the task alone, with assistance, or if they are completely dependent on others. Some ADLs or iADLs, such as walking, using the telephone, or calling for help may require little assistance, whereas bathing, standing from sitting, or driving a vehicle requires complete dependence. Having a checklist for the caregiver within the care plan is an important resource for care planning, but also to monitor any changes that may arise - such as a decline in their ability to perform a task.
Depending on the care setting (i.e. private home or long-term care facility, etc,), knowing one's environmental challenges are key to successful planning of care options. Consider the environmental hazards and challenges that may be present, such as the location of toxic or harmful substances (i.e. cleaning sprays and liquids, etc.) that may be dangerous when within reach. Other hazards may be the positioning of furniture, especially for example if the individual's sight has suddenly become impaired or mobility challenges arise due to health, Placement of furniture and easy-to-reach daily items may need to be adjusted, moved, or removed depending on the situation.
Something as small and often overlooked may be the person's inability to turn doorknobs, use drawer pulls, lock/unlock doors, or operate thermostats. These challenges, along with using stovetops, entering a shower or bathtub, moving between carpeted and uncarpeted flooring or climbing stairs should be considered when assessing their environment. Knowing if your loved one requires assistance in these areas allows you t create a plan of care that covers a wide range of needs.
Once you have established a list of items that require attention in the areas of the home environment, health concerns, and performing daily tasks, you may want to revisit your list periodically to note any changes and adjust care as needed.
Once you have listed all possible concerns during your assessment, it is time to create a plan. Consider:
What is lacking or being overlooked in their current routine?
What objectives would they like to achieve?
What objectives would you like to help them achieve?
Prioritize your assessment items to note what areas are of utmost importance that must be addressed right away. This could be setting medication reminders or ensuring proper nutrition and meal assistance to assist with weight loss concerns.
Other objectives on your list will lead you to create goals for your elderly loved one's care, such as wanting them to eat better or participating in activities for better mobility and movement. All of the goals you set for your loved one must be realistic and take into consideration their own wants and needs as well as your own.
A care plan can be designed and organized in a way that works best for you and/or the home care provider. This may be a list of tasks or a detailed routine outlining meal times, personal care schedules, activities they enjoy doing with a companion, and personal preferences. Share the care plan with other family members, care providers, or nursing care staff who may offer their own insights for care. Including the care team in the planning and implementation of the care plan allows everyone to be on the same page when it comes to what is best for your loved one.
Remember, Ideal Caregivers 4u team members are here to provide personal care, companionship, meal assistance, and more. We will work with you to create the best plan of care for your senior. Click on our locations page to find the closest Ideal team to serve you best!
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