Spelling out intentions in basic estate planning documents is good, but adding a plan that addresses preferences regarding care is even better.
There is an expression among elder law attorneys called being "elderproofed," according to the Huffington Post in "Writing an Eldercare Plan." This takes planning to the next level, and includes things like how the person wises to be cared for, medical treatment preferences, whether they want to be cared for at home or in a facility, and more. These cover the day-to-day decisions to ensure that desires are followed once a person is unable to make those decisions known.
It's very important for seniors and their loved ones to discuss a care plan for the future before disease or dementia come into play, or a crisis causes eldercare services to become urgently needed. Get the plan drafted while the senior is still fully cognizant and rational. They can be signed when other end-of-life documents are put in place.
In truth, everyone wins with early discussions. When the patient is involved in the decisions for his or her potential care, the family has a better understanding of their preferences and are prepared for tough questions.
A good eldercare plan designates the roles and responsibilities for the care of the senior to specific individuals in writing. In addition, healthcare preferences and treatments can be detailed.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, families should begin their elder and estate planning soon after the diagnosis, so that the patient can be an active participant. As part of your end-of-life documents make sure your elder law attorney drafts a health care proxy so that your loved one can designate a trust person to make decisions if he or she becomes incapacitated.
Planning for eldercare begins with a conversation with an elder law attorney, who will be able to guide the process. Include all of the family members who will be involved with care. This may also include good neighbors who have been involved with your loved one. Planning in advance will help as the years go by and care needs change.
Reference: Huffington Post (March 30, 2016) "Writing an Eldercare Plan"