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Get Families Talking: Resources to Help Seniors Create an Action Plan for Aging

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As a senior care professional you’ve likely seen firsthand the frustration that can arise when a family lacks clear communication surrounding a loved one’s choices as they age. If a senior never expresses his or her desires about end of life care, for example, bedside arguments between family members about “what he would have wanted” or “how she wanted to go” can result.

One of the best ways to make sure everyone is on the same page is for seniors and their families to have essential conversations surrounding aging issues such as driving, dating, finances, lifestyle and end of life care wishes. You are in a unique position to encourage your patients and their loved ones to discuss these important topics.

Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead® franchise network, has developed a public education program called the 40-70 Rule®: An Action Plan for Successful AgingSM, to encourage families to intentionally discuss aging-related issues when the children are approaching age 40 and the parents are approaching age 70. At the heart of this program is the Action Plan for Successful Aging. This is a free tool you can download and provide to your patients and their families to help guide their conversations and planning.

An Action Plan for Successful Aging: Topic Overview

The 40-70 Rule: An Action Plan for Successful Aging includes checklists, thoughts to consider, conversation starters, and resources on the following topics:

Living Choices - Where would your patients like to live as they age? Will they stay at home or live in a care facility? Who would they call in the event of an emergency? These basic questions will ensure that the family is on the same page about the senior’s future living preferences.

Finances - Have your senior patients calculated the cost involved with meeting their retirement wishes? Have they met with a financial advisor to determine how much they will likely need to cover long-term health care expenses? Calculating the cost now and planning ahead financially can help yield greater peace of mind as they move forward.

Health - Have your patients outlined their goals for a healthy lifestyle as they age? Have they factored their current diet into this equation? Are they up to date on medical checks and health screenings? Addressing health concerns early can be a valuable, preventative tool in successful aging.

End of Life Care Wishes - Many families are not having this important conversation. Without it, they cannot gain a clear understanding of what their parents would like to accomplish before they die or where they would like to end their life. Discussing this difficult topic now will help ensure that the family has a unified plan and advanced directives in place moving forward.

Driving - Most seniors dread the idea of losing the independence associated with driving. Yet, families must be able to address their concerns about driving abilities, not only for the safety of their senior parent but for all with whom they share the road. While the driving topic can often be an emotional one, this chapter provides tips to navigate those emotions and discuss options for independence without a license.

Relationships and Dating - Perhaps Dad passed away and Mom has been spending a lot of time with an older gentleman friend. This can create family awkwardness if intentions aren’t clearly communicated. It’s important for families to talk about the nature of their parents’ relationships and their wishes for companionship as they age.

Download the 40-70 Rule: An Action Plan for Successful Aging to share with your senior patients, or explore the additional program resources available around these topics so your patients and their families have the tools they need to create a successful plan for aging.

Last revised: July 29, 2014

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. August 27, 2014 at 8:33 am | Posted by Doreen

    Is there a workbook that I can get mailed to me that is in large print?


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