Checklists for Life – How Using Checklists Can Help Ease Stress and Avert Crisis for Both Seniors and Boomers Alike
At Home Helpers, we often come across people in the “Sandwich Generation” as well as spouses caring for aging loved ones. Caring for an aging spouse or parent is demanding while juggling your normal day-to-day life. We thought this article from The Society of Certified Senior Advisors might be helpful. (Original article reprinter with permission by author Carrie Roberts):
For many people, as they get older, their needs change dramatically. Depending on a person’s age, health and mental capacity, there may be many things that a senior just can’t keep up with the way they used to, or many things a Boomer doesn’t have (can you say “Advanced Directives”) and doesn’t know they need until it is too late.
We believe that one of the best ways to get boomers prepared for their futures, as well as to keep seniors organized in the present, is by equipping them with checklists that cover major areas of their life. We believe that while checklists may not have the minute details laid out (checklists are meant to deliver concise advice), they are a great planning tool that give people a macro-view of what needs to be learned, gathered, prepared, and ultimately executed, especially when preparing for the most unexpected moment; moments where without a plan in place becomes a crisis situation.
Many times a checklist can prevent an unavoidable situation from turning into an emergency situation. By implementing a checklist you likely will have planned well enough that you will be able to quickly put a plan into action and avoid the crisis.
To really be prepared (there are so many aspects to our lives that integrate together, yet are distinctly different) there are many different types of checklists that are needed so you are ready when any given situation arises. Here is a list of some of the checklists you will need to start your planning process:
Checklists for Maintaining Independence - Losing one’s independence, in many cases, is the most frightening and feared things for many seniors as they grow older. Having checklists in place with such things as how to avoid falls and other accidents, how to avoid loneliness, how to approach senior driving issues, aging in place concepts and caregiving/caregiver stress management are all good checklists to have on hand to help seniors (and their adult children/caregivers) maintain their independence and be prepared for the future.
Checklists for Estate Management - Your estate management checklist will make sure that you have done all the necessary paperwork to make things manageable after you are gone, ensuring that your life and legacy are carried out how you intended them to be. This list will include things like wills, estate planning, titling assets and funeral planning and expenses.
Checklists for Financial and Legal - Money and legal issues go hand in hand with aging. Financially, life is different after you are retired and it takes good planning to make sure your money lasts long enough to cover your expenses or leave a legacy behind. Your checklists for financial and legal should contain things like how to hire an attorney, what to look for in a good financial planner, how to set up a power of attorney, things to consider in retirement, or how to avoid scams targeted at the elderly.
Checklists for Housing and Care - Where you live and who cares for you are things that can change quickly when you are older, especially if you are struck with an illness or accident. Having alternate plans in place that everyone understands ahead of time makes it less likely you will end up having to live somewhere you don’t want or where you won’t get adequate care. Checklists for housing and care will include things like how to make sure you ask the appropriate questions when looking for housing, the different types of housing options available, details about independent living, assisted living, nursing home care, in home care and even hospice care.
Checklists for Health and Medical - Health issues for senior are unique and there are many things to consider when deciding how medical decisions will be made if the need arises. Seniors also have different dietary and exercise needs too that should be considered. Your checklists for health and medical should include things like how to find a good doctor, creating a hospitalization plan, medicine management, vision, hearing, dehydration, heart attacks, Alzheimer’s and Cancer and information on other medical conditions affecting seniors.
Checklists for Discounts and Free Stuff - The one big upside to being a senior is the fact that there are so many discounts available to seniors. You can get discounts on everything from food, lodging and even senior shopping days in the stores. Getting a list of all the discounts available can save you big money which is always a good thing for your retirement budget.
Checklists for Fun and Travel – One great thing about retirement is that you have a lot more free time to do the things you love. Many people like to use these years to do all the traveling they wanted to and never had the time. Seniors can find many great travel discounts and checklists for safe travel available to them. Leisure time for seniors many times also equals great times and memories with grandchildren, so having checklists in place (especially for grandparents who haven’t had small children at home for quite some time!) are helpful.
Having a set of standard checklists will make life so much easier and more organized for you. When you have that kind of organization in play things don’t have to turn into emergencies, which equals better outcomes for everyone. It is a little bit of work to get it all set up but once you have worked through the steps the peace of mind you will get knowing that you have a plan is priceless.
Universal Senior Living created a downloadable Checklist E-book called Checklists for Life with over 200 easy to use checklists covering all of the topics mentioned above, giving you or your clients instant access to the lists they need most.
The need for extra help around the home is a reality most senior adults will eventually face. Helping your parents to come to grips with this transition can help them avoid further suffering. Utilize these strategies to have a positive conversation with your parents about in-home care.
Illustrate the Advantages- Begin your conversation by addressing recent problems your parent may be experiencing, such as a recent fall injury, decrease in personal hygiene, or disinterest in beloved past times. Engaging your parents in these conversations makes it easier to posit in-home care as a positive solution. Likewise, relating the benefits of in-home care to your parent’s independence is another productive conversation route. Suggest how an in-home care professional can help your parents maintain their daily life, unhindered by health problems.
Be Sensitive- Try to put yourself in your parent or loved one’s shoes before starting a conversation about in-home care. Major life shifts can produce intense anxiety in aging adults. Confrontation with the aging process is a substantial challenge for many seniors. Empathizing and acknowledging these feelings can help you connect with your parents. This bond will likely help your parent become more receptive to the benefits of in-home care.
Address Your Own Challenges- The issues of an aging adult impact the entire family. Help your parent understand how an in-home care specialist can improve the lives of you and your children. Many parents are more responsive when the wellbeing of their loved ones is entered into the equation. Establish a list of in-home care advantages to illustrate the change as a far-reaching solution.
One call to Home Helpers can give you and your parents all the information you need to make an informed decision.