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Q: I am a mother, daughter, full time employee, wife, and more. I am pulled in a million different directions trying to take care of my own family, and now my parents are having health issues and need care of their own. It’s a constant worry for me and I know I need help figuring out how best to manage it, but where do I start?
A: First, take a deep breath. You have taken the first leap of faith and are asking for help. There are a lot of options and great planning techniques that can be utilized to ensure the proper care for your parents without it being an extra burden on your family. Many families utilize the assistance of Elder Care Coordinators through a Life Care Planning firm to help them navigate the challenges of caring for aging family members. Think of them as trusted allies who know what to expect down the road. Juggling all the important roles you play in your life is no small feat. Working in cooperation with an Elder Care Coordinator can ease some or all of the burden and give you peace of mind for the future.
An Elder Care Coordinator (“ECC”) is a trained professional with a non-legal background that works in conjunction with a legal team. They are great at filling the gaps that are left by traditional estate planning and elder law. While the legal team addresses issues such as designing the best advance directives and making sure the general durable power of attorney has the necessary powers, an ECC wants to know what keeps you up at night, and their focus is on helping to resolve that concern.
· Is your loved one in the hospital or been recently discharged?
· Has your loved one had some close calls at home?
· Is there a diagnosis of dementia or do you see signs of dementia worsening?
· Does your loved one need some extra help with showering? Cooking? Taking medicine?
· Are you concerned their money will run out?
An ECC addresses a wide range of concerns that a lawyer alone may not. Life Care Planning firms develop a Life Care Plan that walks clients through keeping their loved one safe, connecting them to appropriate resources, creating a long-term legal plan, and having a financial plan to pay for the cost of care for the family member’s entire lifetime.
If the goal is for mom or dad to stay at home, an ECC will evaluate their home and make safety recommendations on changes or suggest vetted professionals to make whatever modifications are needed. If they need to move to a facility, an ECC will help you find the right facility and help manage the logistics of that transition. If part of the Life Care Plan involves applying for Medicaid, an ECC will help navigate the application process and track the progress. The list of things an ECC can help with is vast. An ECC is also there to support the caregiver. We all know that without you, the plan doesn’t work as anticipated, so your health and well-being is just as important. Are you going on vacation and need someone to check in on your loved one? Do you need to get tapped into a support group? Do you need validation that you are doing everything possible to take care of your family? An ECC does all of that, too.
Remember, the most gifted leaders know they can’t do it all alone. Get a team behind you that can support you and your family.
If you would like to learn more about how an ECC can support you and your family, visit our website at www.lawyerlisa.com/lcp. If you are ready to schedule a meeting to see how this assistance would apply to your unique circumstances, give us a call at 803.563.5163 or email info@LawyerLisa.com. We are here when you need us.