Education Is the Key to Good Care Management

by Eileen Jordan

It can no longer be ignored; your loved one needs help with daily activities. What used to be handled easily is now challenging due to physical limitations and/or cognitive difficulties. They may deny it and even refuse to discuss it, but the reality is they need assistance. How do you begin the seemingly monumental task of caring for someone who may not even want your help? By getting an education in care management.

A wise place to begin is learning about laws and requirements that affect caregiving and care management. There are boundaries in caring for an individual, and love, as well as the law, requires that we respect and work within those boundaries. These boundaries protect our loved ones as well as anyone caring for them, and it is important to become well-versed in the requirements and resources available.

Estate planning is critical, and the sooner the better. Laws are continually changing, and a trust or will should be reviewed every few years, preferably by a lawyer who is well versed in elder law, if appropriate. Legal help can be expensive, but it can also save much more than it costs. The more assets somebody has, the more important good legal advice is. You can research free or low-cost legal resources if money is a limiting factor.

Assigning power of attorney and writing out medical directives are important tools for a loved one to control their own care. They are not giving up power, they are giving direction to their caregivers and care providers while they are able to. Dementia, stroke, a brain injury, and any number of medical conditions can rob a person of the ability to make critical decisions. Advanced planning is the solution.

Another advanced planning tool is long-term care insurance. Many people are under the impression that Medicare or other medical insurance will cover care needs. Medical insurance only covers medical care, and long-term care insurance covers non-medical care, which includes help with the activities of daily living, transportation, and personal care. Long-term care insurance tends to be expensive, so most people do not carry it. Coverage also varies a great deal, so it is important to find out exactly what is covered. A good insurance agent can be an important resource for this information. The more information you have, the better choices you can make.

These are good first steps. Hopefully, this has already been handled by your loved one and all you need to do is to make sure everything is updated and in place. Often, a loved one is resistant to help, and this can be for several reasons, such as not feeling a need or not wanting to admit a need because of pride or fear. It is important to be sensitive to that reality and to protect their dignity, but it may be helpful to remind them that if they do not make decisions, others will eventually have to make decisions for them.

For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding - Proverbs 2:6.

Review a related testimony - Legal Steps: My Experience When My Mother Passed

About Eileen Jordan: Eileen has been in the caregiving field for fourteen years, both as caregiver and care manager