Lifespan Planning Tip Sheet

May 9, 2005 at 3:19 pm  •  Posted in Lifespan Planning by  •  0 Comments

By Forrest Hong, PhD, LCSW, CMC

Do Not Be Afraid to Ask For Help

Whether it is human nature, or fear, we tend to wait until we are in crisis before asking for help and consultation. To further compound our problem, we sometimes avoid going to professionals that are trained and experienced in handling our long-term care situations.

TIP: Seek a referral to a trained and licensed clinical social worker.

It Is Not Easy to Tell Your Parents What to Do

The most difficult thing about caring for a parent is the day you have to tell them they need to have help, they can no longer drive, they can no longer write checks, and they may have to move into a “home for the elderly”.

TIP: Discuss long-term care wishes and desires before the decline happens.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

It is not unusual to feel frustrated and angry with your parent when they refuse your input and help. Even though you want to plan and adhere to their wishes, it is hard to do when they don’t “trust” you with all of the information, especially when it comes to the financial aspect. No matter what the history and interpersonal dynamics consist of, you will always want to be sure to take care of your own mental health.

TIP: Seek a referral to a trained and licensed clinical social worker who can help you with your personal issues and frustrations.

Keep Informed

We live in a world of constant change. Medications and treatments are constantly changing and the only way to keep up-to-date is to stay informed with the latest news.

TIP: Attend local caregiver conferences, participate in support groups, speak with friends and relatives, and talk with professionals in the field of gerontology and geriatrics.


Humor and laughter are tremendous healers. Sometimes we need to take time away from the serious aspects of our daily lives and laugh a little (or in some cases a lot).

TIP: Go out with friends to a comedy club, balance your movies with one of those “silly and stupid” movies, and balance your conversations with other discussions besides caring for your parent.

Hire Help

Do not be afraid to hire and pay for help in the home. Seek out professionals that you can trust to help you carry out your desires and meet your needs. It is not necessary to pay an excessive amount of money for help, but it is important to seek out value for the dollars expended.

TIP: Use recommended home care agencies, visit assisted living facilities at different times of the day and week, talk with friends about their experiences – word of mouth referrals tend to work better, and interview professionals before deciding upon the one you are going to retain.

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