My dad is declining and I know I need to do something. Where do I begin?
It’s important to start with a thorough assessment of your dad’s needs. Our Care Planners are educated and trained to perform that for you in the following areas: Health and safety; legal and financial issues; medical history; daily living activities; and emotional and psychological functioning. You will then be given initial recommendations for a plan of care.
I think my dad is becoming incontinent and I don’t know how to talk to him about it. What do you recommend?
We would suggest you have an individual consultation with one of our Care Planners to help you develop some simple communication strategies. We can also be a liaison with the primary care physician to see if medication would be a helpful option.
We think mom needs to go to assisted living, but she doesn’t want to move. How do we handle this?
Sometimes, having a family meeting with a Care Planner is a helpful place to start. A Care Planner Manager can perform valuable mediation services to help everyone reach an agreement. If mom has adequate financial resources, a Care Planner Manager can also develop a Care Plan outlining which community services would best meet your mom’s needs and help you with a cost analysis of her staying home versus moving to assisted living.
I live out of the area and am concerned that my dad isn’t remembering to tell his doctor the symptoms he is having. Can you help with this?
Most definitely! One of our Care Planners can attend all medical appointments, advocate for your father’s needs and provide a follow-up summary by fax, e-mail or phone call, whichever works best for you.
I want some type of evaluation done on my grandmother but she says she doesn’t need any help. What should I do?
This is a common issue and our Care Planners are very helpful in developing a positive strategy and approach to this difficult situation. Clients often report their loved one responded quite well to a professional telling them what would be helpful.
Mom needs to downsize since she can’t handle yard work anymore. How do we know what level of care she may need?
A Care Planner can give you a basic understanding of the levels of care, how much they cost and what services are provided. If need be, our professional staff can also assist in planning and overseeing a move to and from a primary home, retirement complex, assisted living or skilled nursing facility.
My dad refuses to discuss making someone his durable power of attorney for health care decisions. What happens if he gets really sick?
You are right to be concerned. The elderly are often unaware of new confidentially laws restricting family members from speaking with their parent’s physician. They may also fear losing control. Our Care Planners have had a great deal of success educating clients about end-of-life issues and are frequently able to assist in getting the health care directive completed.
Can you determine if my loved one’s home is safe for them?
Every situation is different and care must be tailored, and the resources and personnel selected must be a suitable match. While one of our Care Planners can help, Sheboygan County also offers numerous resources for you to explore.
What are things a Care Planner might do?
- Assess the level and type of care needed and develop a care plan
- Take steps to start the care plan and keep it moving forward
- Make sure care is received in a safe and disability-friendly environment
- Resolve family conflicts and other family issues relating to long-term care
- Become an advocate for the care recipient and the family caregiver
- Manage care for a loved one for out-of-town families
- Conduct ongoing assessments to monitor and implement changes in care
- Oversee and direct care provided at home
- Coordinate the efforts of key support systems
- Provide personal counseling
- Help with Medicaid qualification and application
- Arrange for legal and financial advisor services
- Manage a conservatorship for a care recipient
- Provide assistance with placement in assisted living facilities or nursing homes
- Monitor the care of a family member in a nursing home or in assisted living
- Assist with the monitoring of medications
- Find appropriate solutions to help avoid a crisis
- Coordinate medical appointments and medical information
- Provide transportation to and from medical appointments
- Assist families in positive decision making
- Develop long-range plans for older loved ones not yet needing care
What are some of the red flags indicating special attention may be required?
It is normal for aging parents to not want to burden their children, so they may under report their concerns. If they had a fall and their memory is declining, they may not remember to report the incident or the injuries. Phone calls from family members are treasured, happy moments, so it’s likely signs of decline may not be detected during those conversations.
If you are visiting in the near future, here are some questions to ask yourself that relate to Red Flags. Answers to these will often give you valuable clues that special attention may be needed:
Is there a change in the general condition of the home?
Is there more clutter than usual?
Do the counters and tables seem to be accumulating old mail or bills that appear unopened?
Does the refrigerator have old or outdated food in it?
Are there any signs of burned food on the stove?
Clothing worn daily might give you clues about failing eyesight or memory.
Is there food or stains on the clothing indicating neglect or that the clothes are not washed when needed?
Are the medication containers up-to-date?
Does your loved one know what condition each medication is being prescribed for?
Is there confusion about the date, time or place where they live?
Does the person verbalize paranoia (i.e. people stealing things from them?)
Driving safely can be a concern.
Does their car have marks, scrapes or dents you don’t remember from your last visit?
Any clues or signs that medication, physical or psychological symptoms may be impairing their ability to drive safely?