Everyone Would Like to Age-In-Place But…….
For many of us and many of our clients, caring for an aging parent has become, or is fast becoming, a reality. Everyone would prefer to age-in-place. Finding and funding affordable qualified home healthcare help has become part of the worry and frustration. Without a plan in place, your clients are challenged to get back to their own busy lives and responsibilities. They also need to keep up with their own financial obligations, some of which you have put in place. Do they see you as a trusted advisor who is part of the solution? Remember to the world, the family or friend needing help may be just another person. To your client and his family/friends, they are THEIR PERSON.
Start with these 3 Simple Steps to become the “family” advisor. At first, focus on the process, not the outcome. The process will lead to securing a workable, efficient, and inclusive Generational Plan.
- Create a “CARE GUIDE.” Somewhat like discovering family genealogy, when your client has someone in their world who needs care, it becomes is a family and financial affair. Help by offering, questionnaires, worksheets, and documents that create a personal history. Who knows what about the family health history? Is longevity in play? Is there evidence of Alzheimer disease? This step provides an immediate “guide” for professionals who will deal with care needs. This up-to-date personalized medical and healthcare history, including doses as well as dates for starting/modifying/stopping medications will be essential for attaining the best possible outcome. Including basic documentation will speed-up the process and avoid searching through personal papers, belongings, and home hoping to locate needed information. Be ready!
- Create a “CARE SQUAD.” “In an emergency or when care is needed longer term, responding may be frantic, emotional, unorganized, or disjointed. In order to avoid those reactions and stressful situations, which can lead to internal family stress given your client’s busy schedules, or guilt for not being available or confused about who should be responsible for what. Assist them in creating an inclusive “care squad.” This exercise is not complicated but very effective. Get to know the family and close friends and help them decide who can do what when.
- Create a working “CORE PLANNIING TEAM.” Generations are living longer. As a result, family members and friends are getting caught in what has been dubbed ‘the sandwiched generation.’ As we all know, needing care can come in any form, at any age…since this is a process, as an advisor, you are giving the family, which is bound to be multi-generational, some practical ways to start to prepare by getting better organized. Step 1 provides a better response in an emergency. Step 2 acknowledges that you recognize that few clients exist in a vacuum and having an ‘assigned role’ in the process will help avoid family discord. Even for family members who don’t ‘like’ the plan, they will have been part of the formulation and more likely to accept it. Most want to feel helpful and at a minimum, included. In order for Step 3 to be affordable and suited to the client’s needs, you may need to involve various specialists. By bringing them into Step 3 when needed;
- you forge a solid relationship with the specialist
- your client sees you as a resource and not a product pusher
- the family gets to build trust in your role as the ‘generational’ advisor. You remain in charge as the director of the process since you have now become very familiar with the various family needs, generational dynamics, and the roles family and friends may play or not play.