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Health Emergency: 9 Steps to Building a Care Plan

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Today’s world is much different than when our parents were our age.

Most families now have two parents working full-time to provide the best opportunities for their family. Our children are now pressured to perform in school and sports at an increasingly earlier age. Parents work all day, scramble to get kids to after-school sports and programs and on a good night, are able to get everyone to sit down for dinner, albeit later in the evening. The weekend, which used to be a nice respite, has now been replaced with catching up on work, chauffeuring and attending kid’s activities and tending to household responsibilities. When Sunday night rolls around, we become consumed with planning out the next week and the future weeks to come.

Then, a parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, has a stroke, is diagnosed with cancer or experiences an injury, causing changes that ripple throughout the entire family. Initially, nearby family responds and adjusts its schedule to cover urgent needs. But adding new time requirements to an already loaded schedule, on top of the emotional stress that comes with a parental health issue can quickly lead to an unworkable situation. Even if the health emergency will only impact the family for a brief period, it can still be difficult to manage with limited family members available, or if the family is not nearby.

While Medicare and supplemental insurance can provide families some financial relief, continuing support, both medical and non-medical, can be needed for months or years to come. The cost of non-medical home care is often an element that has not been thought about or planned for. While we can all rush to purchase long-term care insurance for ourselves after reading this article, most seniors requiring care today do not have this level of insurance, or if they do, it is not enough to cover scenarios that require around the clock support, such as Alzheimer’s.

The best advice I can give when experiencing a health emergency is to stop reacting, schedule some time to focus 100% on the issue, and if you can, manage it like a business project.

  • First, assess best and worst case recovery scenarios for your loved one.
  • Second, review all medical requirements.
  • Third, review all non-medical requirements.
  • Fourth, review financial impact. There are many financial support options, such as Medicare, Veterans Administration, Long Term Care Insurance, Pension buy-outs, and reverse mortgages. We can provide the name of a trusted professional who specializes in this area.
  • Fifth, assess how much family can realistically assist, both short and long term.
  • Sixth, check with local government agencies, churches, and friend groups that might lend a hand. We have assembled a nice list of resources here: /agencies/il/chicago/il13/resources/
  • Seventh, build a schedule that includes support for the worst case scenario, it is always much easier to reduce needs when things go better than planned, versus adding when things don’t end up being best case.
  • Eighth, revisit the schedule often and adjust given health improvements or other issues that impact your loved one’s care and support requirements. The initial schedule is a plan, and things will change.
  • Ninth, ensure proper respite is included in the plan or your plan may not be successful. Other problems can creep in and slowly you will find you are dealing with multiple issues, when initially you had one. Everyone involved in caring for your loved one needs to remain positive and healthy throughout the support period to ensure your loved one gets the best care.

Report after report indicates that people are happier and healthier if they are able to stay in their homes for as long as possible. Loved ones need their memories, a comfortable environment, and the stability and calmness that comes with both.

Most often family members feel they must provide the care for a loved one, due to a strong sense of obligation, or a feeling that no one can match their love and attention. Financial concerns or even guilt may also affect family caregiving decisions.  Don’t feel as though you are not providing the best care for your loved one if you seek help outside the family. In fact, this tact will ensure that everyone involved in this challenging situation can support it effectively, and that family care is not rushed or ineffective due to life constraints.

Experience can be a life saver. When unplanned care needs suddenly arise, the amount of time and attention you will invest to have a successful outcome will be great. The volume of health information for your loved one can be difficult to absorb prior to even considering many of the logistics that make up a supportive care plan. Trying to learn about resources and options can be a tough undertaking, but can be minimized if you work with the right home care company. Reputable home care companies like SYNERGY HomeCare have worked with thousands of clients and can put that knowledge and skill to work for you.  

SYNERGY HomeCare provides care in the home, wherever home is, be it your place of residence, a hospital or rehab room. We provide the very best in home care by employing only the most talented caregivers and treating your loved ones like family. Learn more about SYNERGY HomeCare of Chicago on our website 

Contact SYNERGY HomeCare of Chicago today and let us become a part of your family.    

© Frank Shannon, Julie Naggs and SYNERGY HomeCare of Chicago, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Complete Article, excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Frank Shannon, Julie Naggs and SYNERGY HomeCare of Chicago with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Frank Shannon

Frank’s passion for helping people is reflected in his life, business and writing. He participates in the community through charity work, partnerships and care education in an effort to connect with and aid people seeking collaboration, information or assistance with care. He seeks to clarify societal concepts and provide new perspective in his writing.

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