When it comes to aging parents and family members, few of us want to think about the potential challenges associated with caring for them in the future. As a result, we often kick the proverbial can down the road, waiting until we’re faced with an emergency of some kind—a broken hip, a sudden onset of dementia—before making difficult decisions. And it’s not like our aging family members are eager to discuss the future, either. Like the rest of us, they’re focused on addressing the challenges of the present moment. Who has time to map out the future?
Ideally, we would sit down with our loved ones while everyone is still healthy and fully cognizant and assemble an estate plan, which goes beyond a mere will by declaring a person’s preferences while they’re among the living, not just after they’ve passed. In the event of a decline in health, for example, would they prefer in-home care to an assisted living facility? Is there someone in their family they would like to oversee their finances or their healthcare decisions if and when they’re no longer able? Who do they want to handle their estate after they pass?
If you’re ready to plan for the future and the challenges that might arise, or if the future has already arrived and you need to act fast, Pierce County has several online resources available to you.
Pierce County Resources
- Pierce County estate planning (https://www.piercecountywa.gov/7253/Estate-Planning-and-Probate)
Not sure where to start? The link above serves as a useful launch point. There’s a lot to learn, but several resources are available, including this handy checklist for life and death planning: https://www.legalvoice.org/life-and-death-planning-checklist.
- Pierce County in-home health care resources (https://www.piercecountywa.gov/486/Home-Care—Home-Health)
In-home health care is ideal for someone who would prefer to stay in the comforting and familiar environment of their own home rather than move to a residential, long-term, or nursing facility. Often it’s useful for a brief period during an illness or after an injury and/or surgery. Or it can serve as a transition between living situations. The county link lists 40 local providers, whose services range from personal (errands, laundry, meal prep, etc.) to professional care (pain management, physical therapy, and so on).
- Pierce County assisted living resources (https://www.piercecountywa.gov/395/Assisted-Living)
When someone can no longer be cared for in their own home but would prefer to live somewhere that at least resembles a home, an assisted living facility is ideal. Some are fairly large. Some are no bigger than a modest home and house only a handful of patients. All aim to offer something more personal than the care provided at a traditional nursing home. The link above explores everything from the philosophy of assisting living facilities to the costs associated with such care. More than 40 county facilities are listed, including 18 in Tacoma proper.
- Pierce County memory care resources (https://www.piercecountywa.gov/416/Dementia-Care-Facilities)
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia requires empathy and skill. Fortunately, several facilities in the area specialize in just such care. Would your loved one thrive best in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or adult family home? All three types of facilities are available locally. Click on the link above to explore the options for you and your family.
“Preparation,” famous aviator Amelia Earhart often told others, “is rightly two-thirds of any venture.” While no one likes to imagine the demise—temporary or permanent—of a loved one, planning for just such a scenario will make a wise and loving response not only possible but likely.