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A Roadmap for Compassionate Care: Assessing a Loved One’s Daily Needs

A Roadmap for Compassionate Care: Assessing a Loved One’s Daily Needs

Recognizing that a loved one is in a state of mental decline can be a devastating experience. Many people live in a state of denial, refusing to accept the truth of the situation because they don’t want to lose a nurturing, personal relationship.

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Recognizing that a loved one is in a state of mental decline can be a devastating experience. Many people live in a state of denial, refusing to accept the truth of the situation because they don’t want to lose a nurturing, personal relationship. Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other debilitating conditions steal away the person you once knew; it may even feel as though your loved one has died.

If the simplest daily tasks, like dressing, eating, and bathing, have become overwhelming, your relative likely needs, or maybe has, a daily caregiver to help keep him or her safe and functional. Acceptance and the presence of a live-in caregiver is one part of a process that should help your family member maintain independence and self-reliance. Determining daily needs and how they’ll be met is the other side.

A daily needs assessment checklist is a detailed overview of the situation. It provides an assessment of daily living activities, such as grooming and toileting, and instrumental activities of daily living, which might include shopping, managing medications, and paying bills. The following tips and resources shared by Safeway Medical Supply lay the groundwork for compassionate, ongoing care.

Care plan

A loved one’s daily needs should lead to the creation of a prioritized list in which the responsibilities of the caregiver and care client are delineated. Bear in mind that the safety and well-being of loved ones should come first, so if there are problems with their medication use and management, those should be at the very top of the list. Use a free online calendar to help you manage and organize everything you need to accomplish. For example, Google Calendar is an excellent way to keep all of your appointments and important notes in one place. If you want a physical calendar, Calendar Labs offers free printable options.

Contingency plans

Getting plans for the future is essential before the need is urgent.  A power of attorney can authorize you or someone else to make medical and/or financial decisions on behalf of a senior who has become unable to do so. A living will indicates the degree to which the senior and their family want life-saving measures to be taken in extreme medical situations.  Paperwork to establish these plans and others can be accessed online.  Planning can make difficult times more manageable. 

Selling their home

Selling an older loved one's home can be emotional and complicated. First, it's important to involve them in each step of the process, seeking their input and making sure they are comfortable with each decision. Next, it's important to conduct an assessment of the property, taking note of any necessary repairs or upgrades to make the home more marketable. Then, it's time to find a reputable, experienced real estate agent to help list the property and find potential buyers.

Once a buyer is found, paperwork such as the sales contract and property transfer documents need to be prepared and signed. Additionally, there are legal documents needed for selling the property, such as a property deed, mortgage paperwork, and proof of homeowners insurance. Finally, it's important to ensure that proceeds from the sale are properly distributed and accounted for. The process of selling an older loved one's home can seem overwhelming. Still, with careful planning and support from family members and professionals, it can be a successful and rewarding experience.

Shared responsibilities

One of the chief objectives of the care plan is to help individuals maintain a degree of self-reliance. Giving them a role in their care is a good way to achieve that goal. For example, your relative may insist on caring for things like bathing and cleaning. At the same time, the caregiver handles some of the more complicated tasks, such as balancing the checkbook and preparing meals. If necessary, assemble a care team including friends and family members, to maximize your available resources.  Remember to include social needs in your planning.  Isolation can worsen mental and physical health, while contact with friends and family can be a boon for mental health.

A fluid tool

A care plan is a fluid tool that may, and probably will, change over time. You should revisit and reassess your care plan on a regular basis to determine what’s going well and what needs changing. For example, your loved one may struggle with the tasks assigned to him or her in the care plan. If so, the caregiver may need to become more involved or make other plans to meet those needs. Remember, meeting your loved one’s care needs is a matter of trial and error, so if one aspect of your plan no longer works, don’t worry. Be flexible and willing to change.

The idea is to see it as an ongoing assessment tool to refocus specific care issues and how they’ll be dealt with. You’ll likely need to make some accommodations to your home. For instance, safety rails with textured grips, shower seats, transfer seats, and roll-in showers are valuable options to make bathing safer and easier for your loved one. A single lever for the faucet is usually easier to turn and operate than two separate knobs, so consider a new faucet head if necessary.

A carefully assessed and organized care plan is a blueprint for helping a loved one live a happy life, one in which he or she can continue to play a central role. A live-in caregiver can provide support and encouragement for tasks that your senior wants to continue doing. A well-conceived plan lays the groundwork for an emotionally rewarding relationship that can benefit the caregiver and care subject.

Safeway Medical Supply offers a wide range of products, from wheelchairs and walking aids to compression products and support materials. Visit our website for more info.


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