Elder Home Care: Planning for the Unexpected

by Eric Corum

senior lady on the phone contingency planning

This last weekend, I had an employee contact me early in the morning to tell me that her car had broken down and she could not get to one of our elderly client’s house.  With such short notice I could not find anyone else to go out and help the client so I went to pick my staff member up and drop her off at our client’s house.  Luckily, I was in a position where I was able to do this.  If I wasn’t available, we would have had to call into the client’s daughter/PoA (the client has dementia) and tell her that we couldn’t be there to ensure that the client got up, dressed, and ate breakfast. I executed on contingency planning.

This situation got me to thinking about contingency plans.  Not really for us as the serivce providers, but for those who are coordinating the care being delivered to their elderly family members.  If we had to call the PoA this last weekend when there was transporation issues, what would the PoA have done?  Would she have been able to go out and check on her mother?  Was there a neighbor that could have peeked in next door?  Was there a contingency plan?

In this type of scenario, the contingency plan is quite simple, yet it is so important.  Assembling a list of people who could go and check on an elderly person is pretty straight forward. When putting this list together, if you find that it is too short, then that is good because you have identified an issued that should be addressed.  Maybe you need to start talking to neighbors, church groups, or other friends who could help out in a pinch.  As JFK said: “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining”.  Go build your contingency plans and backup networks today!
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