If your parents are getting older, you have probably noticed some new developments in their behavior or memory. Maybe they forget a conversation you shared, or are not as steady on their feet as they once were. For many people, it’s not easy to tell when it’s time to enlist the help of other family members or even consider some form of assisted living. Eventually, it’s up to us to keep track of our loved one’s capabilities and determine how we can best help.
A comprehensive estate plan should account for more than just assets and beneficiaries. Life is full of unforeseen circumstances, which means that you and your loved ones need to plan appropriately in the event that you need to utilize power of attorney or more. That’s why at Mannor Law Group, we are dedicated to life care planning. Here are the signs you need to look for to determine if your loved one needs an update to their level of care.
Changes in Behavior
One of the first things you may notice changing about a loved one is their behavior. Their habits, routines, hygiene, and even personality may have changed. These changes may have started out subtle, like showing signs of irritability, or they may not focus as much on their appearance as they once did. If “off” days turn into weeks, then months, then it's a strong indicator that it’s a persistent behavior. Continue to monitor or even keep notes on the behavior changes. When these behaviors start to impact their life or their ability to function within society, it’s time to look into starting life care planning.
Examples of changed behavior that warrant updates to a life care plan include poor personal hygiene and an unkempt living space. If your loved one was once very tidy, they may be dealing with mobility or mental health issues that are preventing them from cleaning themselves or their space. Excessive clutter can also quickly get out of control and become a tripping risk or fire hazard. Poor hygiene can cause your loved ones a lot of embarrassment, so they may attempt to hide it from you. If you are suddenly not allowed to enter their living space, it could be a sign that they’re hiding an overwhelming mess just beyond the door. It’s important to gently press about their living conditions or involve a doctor in an assessment.
It’s no secret that as we age, we just aren’t as nimble as we used to be. You probably have also noticed that physical and mental fatigue hits us a little bit sooner every year. This gradual change of pace is harder to keep track of since it happens to almost everyone. There are key indicators your loved one may be suffering from compounding mobility issues that can endanger themselves and others. One of the fastest ways to notice a change is driving. Missing traffic queues or being unable to stay within the lines is incredibly dangerous and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
More subtle clues for mobility issues include bruises, bumps, and scrapes that seem to appear from nowhere. They may still be able to pick themselves back up after a trip and fall in the earlier stages, but as time goes on, consistent tripping poses a huge risk of breaking bones or even death. If your loved one can no longer stand without assistance, there is a risk that they will fall when climbing or descending stairs or while showering.
It can be heartbreaking to watch a loved one slowly lose their ability to care for themselves, but it’s unavoidable for almost all of us. Making a life care plan with your loved ones can ease some of the burden of making tough choices later in life. At Mannor Law Group, we are experienced and dedicated to life care planning, elder law, and estate planning. For a consultation, call (810) 645-8426, or fill out a contact form online.