Step 4 – Make a Plan

Ok, once we have spoken with all family members and understood our parents goals and wishes (Step 1), arranged for the care team (Step 2), and accumulated all necessary documents and possible decision points (Step 3), it is time to document the care plan. Our parents need to feel they are in control of their care plan. Nothing we do should reduce their feeling of control. There will be differences of opinion. The important point is leaving our parents with a sense of purpose and control.

The care plan must consist of some written elements. Leaving the plan to verbal interpretation later is not wise. Remember the activity we all do as children to pass a phrase through ten people and then see how close the final person mirrors the original phrase. The end result–the message quickly becomes distorted when passing through 10 people. Verbal care plans leave too much subjective filtering. On the other hand, excessive written care plans trigger resistance. Extensive written plans create images of big brother/big sister demands. Strike a balance and keep the communication flowing. 

Having a point person in each need area is important. Try to avoid overwhelming any one person with plan elements including the person who lives closest to our parents. Caregivers need to work in their assigned plan responsibilities in a methodical, non-invasive manner.