While we will all grow old eventually, many of us do not spend much time considering how we'd like this process to occur. With her new book, Plan for Aging Well, Stephanie Erickson discusses how everyone, as well as their loved ones, can better prepare for this important stage of life.
As a certified Alzheimer's disease specialist and expert in contested files with a masters in social work, Stephanie has had significant experience in the types of situations that can occur when people haven’t prepared for getting old.
These situations might include everything from self-serving relatives attempting to wheedle funds by invoking healthcare proxy and power of attorney documents to family disagreements regarding who should care of an older relative.
Stephanie states that people don’t usually start planning for aging until they have had children.
Even then, these plans are often limited to nonspecific, generalized legal documents that designate only the most basic physical care preferences and fail to take into account the individual’s identity at large.
Her guide outlines the correct stages that should be taken to approach aging including questions that should be initiated in families and documents that should be created such as a living will.
The latter can serve as a place to specify how the senior’s money should be distributed for their care and to whom.
Finally, In order to recognize a resident or patient by their unique identity rather than their diagnosis, senior care facilities can personalize that person’s surroundings by introducing sensory components such as music, scents, or pictures that possess meaning and familiarity for them.