Aug 31, 2018 by Comfort Keepers of Riverside and Corona
Growing older can be scary to many people – but not for the reasons you’d assume.
As it turns out, most older adults and their families are actually more frightened about planning for the time of their life when they’ll need long-term care than they are of planning for the senior dying or even arranging their funeral. Why is this the case?
Here’s how we can go about shifting our thinking, and why it matters:
Why are people prepared for death, but not receiving care?
This seems a little backwards, as dying sounds a lot scarier than simply needing a caregiver or having some medical condition requiring care, right?
Most seniors and their families are prepared for the very end of life and not the time beforehand because, quite frankly, everyone dies eventually. As sad as it is, it seems almost easier to plan for the expected than it does for the ambiguous years before hand.
It’s important for our nation to change this mindset about this time of one’s life, especially since the senior population is growing larger day by day, and will continue to for years to come.
It’s estimated that by 2060, almost a quarter of our population will be 65 or older. In Japan, this number has already been surpassed.
This trend is resultant of people living longer because of improved medical care and other factors extending quantity of life.
However, our focus needs to change from quantity of life to quality.
People are living longer, but their lives are not necessarily as meaningful as they’d prefer in these older years. This may also be partially why people are so keen on ignoring these years prior to death, as they assume them to be fruitless.
Secondly, society’s mindset on aging needs to be reconstructed. Getting older has been dubbed as inherently “bad” because you become “less attractive,” “unhealthy,” “senile,” and all of the other false stereotypes that have been put onto older adults.
With proper long-term care planning, however, these years could be some of the best of your life, and you will realize that aging is an amazing process that should be embraced.
Now that you know the importance of planning for this potentially beautiful part of your life, here’s a blueprint for navigating long-term care planning:
Take all of your needs into consideration and put them front and center.
Whatever your needs and wishes are, whether they’re medical, financial, emotional, or spiritual, lay them all out on the table from the start. Try to coordinate the planning around these needs and goals as much as possible. The more your plan of care reflects what you want (within reason, of course), the more fulfilling and satisfying the remainder of your life will be.
Have the right people in your corner.
This is far too much planning to do on your own! It’s highly encouraged that you involve others in your plan of care. This could be a trusted relative like a spouse or adult child, a financial planner or attorney, a funeral director, and so on.
These people can provide you with the emotional and professional support you’ll need during this time of your life. They’ll be a big help in making things run as smoothly as possible.
Keep an open mind.
While it is important to prioritize your wishes and needs, do your homework and keep your options open. If you’ve set your mind on home care, still look into nursing facilities in your area, as well as resources available to you at your local senior center, hospital, and so forth. Also look into custodial (or non-medical) help you may need, like cleaning services or lawncare. You’ll never know what could happen in the future that will require you to switch gears or resort to a plan B.