Today many North Americans are facing a new reality, especially if you’re part of the “sandwich generation” — individuals between the ages of 40 and 60 who are sandwiched between their adult children and grandchildren, and their own aging parents.
People who fall into this category may find themselves facing the dual responsibility of supporting their children while providing regular care to a senior parent. All of this at a time when people are generally at the height of their careers and working hard to ensure their own financial security.
Worrying about a parent or senior who lives on their own can be very overwhelming, stressful and time consuming. Looking for a solution? Create an emergency plan for your aging parents and family — it may just help put your mind at ease.
An emergency plan can involve anything from what to do in case of an environmental or medical emergency, to future advanced care planning and power of attorney directives.
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Developing a plan that addresses all of these factors will ensure that you know what the next vital steps are when faced with an emergency situation. An emergency plan is a road map for you (and other important people in your aging parent’s life) to follow in a time of crisis, that is based on the wishes of your aging parent.
Having a well laid out plan will help you make the best choices on behalf of your parent if they are unable to make their own decisions, as well as ensuring everyone in your family is on the same page (which can relieve a lot of unnecessary stress in an already difficult time).
Beginning with an honest and open discussion will help to find out what is important to both your aging parent, as well as you and your other family members who are in the role of caregiver.
Discussing the “what if” scenarios may be difficult:
These conversations are vitally important to root out your parents’ true wishes and ensure you have a plan in place to follow them.
Deciding on both of your biggest concerns and priorities can help you come to a mutual understanding of what the best plan should be. Although everyone should ideally be on the same page, at the end of the day the opinion that matters the most is that of your aging parent.
Goals that may be important to your parent might include:
Take a look at specific areas of need, including:
Coming to a mutual understanding of an emergency plan based on these needs will ensure everyone feels heard and respected.
Important documents may include:
Wondering when you’ll have the time to plan for an emergency? There are fantastic resources available to assist you with advanced care planning, caregiver planning and fire and emergency plans, including checklists, templates and all the other aspects of developing an emergency plan for your senior parent.
Why not print off some of these checklists and bring them to your next family gathering? You’ll be happy you made the time to plan ahead when the unexpected happens, and even if it never does, you’ll rest easier knowing you’re prepared for those “what if’s” that plague most caregivers.
Do you have any other tips for creating an emergency plan for your aging parents? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.