My parents prepared for their old age by doing all the paperwork ie setting up a trust, DPOA, advanced directive etc. But, never did Mom and Dad sit down with my brother and I and discuss what they wanted done when they could no longer live on their own. Did they expect to move in with one of us? Did they want to go to a nursing home? Why did we as a family never discuss this, did we think it would never happen? How much easier it would be on family members if this topic were discussed. Parents and children could plan and unrealistic expectations could be dealt with. Families would no longer be "thrown" into a situation they weren't prepared for. Guilt would be kept to a minimum because everything would have been decided in advance by all involved.
Now, obviously, even the best laid plans can be thrown for a loop but maybe it's time as much emphasis be put on this family discussion as there is to filling out the advanced directive.
I had worded the questions in such a way as to leave me out of the full-time caregiver position [I am too old for that]. Here is what I had asked:
1) If you can no longer be independent in your own home, what do you wish to do?
2) If you prefer to live at home, you will need to think about hiring certified trained caregivers to help during the day and night. Specialized trained caregivers will help you with your personal care… they know CPR… they know how to take blood pressure readings… they know how to help with medical emergencies…. help you with your medicine… they are trained to pick you up correctly should you fall on the floor… or if you should fall in the bathtub…. They know how to help you go up and down the stairs…. They will help you with physical therapy if you need it and keep you company during the day.
3) If you are no longer able to go up and down the stairs, you will need to think about what room on the main floor you would use as a bedroom, such as the dining room or the office.
4) Or you can think about moving to a retirement village where you will get full-time trained “professional” care, quick medical help, and you would be around other people of your generation to talk to, and to enjoy what is offered by the facility.