The CEO Model
When starting through the of care and aging in place for our parents and loved ones.
How to many of us have a plan for emergencies or death of our parents. Although we may not want to think of either of these, certainly we will all be faced with this situation. How can one prepare for these circumstances? One solution is to set up Family Network (with the model - CEO, Financial advisor, Durable Medical Power of Attorney, information gatherer(s), person to help on the ground where the crisis is happening).
As people age, their medical and living status frequently becomes frail. Family and friends let us know the lifestyle our parent want. And should we have had the luxury of our parents making this known to us prior to the need, all the better. Achieving this lifestyle for our parents depends on many things and we can help them get the most during their ‘golden years'. All we need is a few tools to access services and speak the language.
When our parents are in the thick of a medical or emergency situation (many times legal). Making decisions can be overwhelming, depressing and a total new world. Of course, the choices were far less than when our parents were taking care of their parent. The many choices we have are directly related to a better quality of nursing homes and other types of care such as assisted living, adult day time care and much more. Our parents saw what they did not want so they set about making the future brighter and in doing so making it easier for us. The tools available to us are home care, assisted living, nursing care, hospice, and ability to have durable medical equipment within our home or our parent's home. And funding can come from a variety of sources Medicare, Medicaid, Trusts for the management of funds, and more.
The CEO Solution
Where does all this leave us when trying to help secure help with quality and safety for our parents? Although not a one-stop shopping for services, there is certainly an abundance of information available to adult children and seniors alike. Using the CEO for health purposes works like this. Most families have more than one child and one parent attempting very hard to provide for a person that is not able to function at 100%, all of the time. So many times it will seem like everyone is providing assistance at a 100% while all the work being done is only 50 to 70%. This occurs because everyone wants the best and so many efforts are duplicated or bring more choices than can be realistically used.
The number of people helping is not the lack of coordination rather it is the tasks being undertaken. Everyone in the family as well as friends and neighbors have different strengths that can be brought to the table. An adult child or spouse can be the coordinator of needs and work (CEO). Other people can bring special talents and abilities to help form the best network for our family or friend.
It is possible for the adult children to form ‘Board of Directors’, while the parents are asked to provide the love and understanding necessary for the situation. (See Note a.) An example of this network would be Mom and Dad, married or 60 years, Dad suffers a heart attack and everyone is devastated. Of the five adult children from the marriage, only one lives in the area, so the hands-on caregiving will need to fall to them. Of the 4 adult children left only one lives in the same state, having a family of their own and working 40 50 hours a week. The other three adult children all have families of their own and also work.
No matter how you look at this it is going to be difficult. This is when the network elects a CEO. The work of the CEO is coordinating all information and keeps all others informed. In many families the CEO is someone in the medical field or in the legal field. The CEO has the role of gaining information from medical providers, caregivers and ancillary services. The CEO is also the person who will call meetings (of the network) to establish the direction this group will go. The CEO is well acquainted with the strengths and weakness of all members. They must know who holds the DPOA, who is the hands on caregiver which medical professional are involved and how to contact that person in an instance. The CEO also knows who is in charge of financial matters (this is a big job) the person must have ongoing current knowledge of cash flow, financial availability medical insurance and how (COC) cost of care will need to be managed. (It seems best if there are two people making the decisions for expenditure of funds. Not only for transparency in all transactions, also to help with the expenditures necessary for the care of the parents documentation. Have cash flow and investments go through a checking account requiring two signatures. If there is a reverse mortgage obtain this document and read it carefully (some surprises may come to light.) The third person needs to gather information to prepare for hospital discharge and what resources are available in the immediate area of residence. (See Note b.)
This setting will make the unfolding of events so much easier for family, friends and medical providers, clergy and neighbors. It is important to stay in contact with one another to help make this work. Conferences Calls or IT face-time will make this seamless.
Who to ask and what to ask in a nut shell.
We are fortunate to have services to help provide for many if not all services. This funding is in place due to the hard work and diligence of our parents and grandparents. (Please look up the Older American's Act website this is not SPAM rather a government housed group which can provide many resources for us.) www.longtermcarelink.net/eldercare/area_agencies_on_aging This funding has a direct effect on medical care, housing, community-based care for the elderly (which includes Meals-On-Wheels, the ability to connect seniors with local fresh food, hygiene care, and dental care, to name a few) Also, in an effort to maintain quality within the system funding is available for oversight of services at more than one level.
This is a system located within most counties under the county services section of the directory of county services (names many be Area on Aging, The Community Guide of Services for the aged or disabled. Having this information will allow timely emergency care for our parents should the caregiver have a medical emergency or other crisis. Frequently, we find that while on the doorstep of this situation the family still has both parents. There will occur a significant medical issue or death leaving (the spouse caregiver) until another person can get to the home to takeover the care.
I am aware this is a long article and is spilling over with information. There is no way to cut down on the information without leaving something out. So I give you a quick list of concerns:
- Adult children need to meet and decide which one will take on each responsibility.
- Get contact information for each medical professional.
- Know the financial climate for our parents.
- Know the resources for both local and federal.
- Do not overburden the healthy parent.
Note a: If at all possible allow the spouse to have only the position of caring for their spouse. While difficult for some people, this may prolong the life or active lifestyle of this person.
Note b: Yes the hospital and or care setting has a Social Worker to apply all of their knowledge for this achievement of quality of life. We as the family need to keep in mind the workload of this one person. At the very least we must advocate for our parents, or even take over the job at hand.