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Eldercare Decision-Making Worksheet

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In my blog, Caught off Guard? Suddenly You’re a Caregiver: 5 Things To Do Right Now, you learned that you will be making decisions under a great deal of pressure and with limited knowledge of guaranteed outcomes. That’s normal and scary.

What’s right? What’s wrong? In an emergency deciding a course of action is difficult. To make matters even more confusing, professional advisers and well-meaning family and friends might offer you diverse opinions and conflicting information.

Most of us know how to make rational decisions under predictable circumstances; but when confronted with new and unfamiliar needs, and faced with having to make gut-wrenching decisions governing someone else’s well-being, you can find yourself stretched to the limit emotionally.

When you are up against the wall and must make an important decision, especially one that will directly affect you and your parent, use the Decision-Making Worksheet below as a guide to help you in the process. Remember, no decision is ever final, and you can modify your plans and choices at any time.

You can download and customize the following worksheet. Visit www.elderindustry.com and click on the “Download” tab.

Decision-Making Worksheet

Chapter 1 of The Complete Eldercare Planner

Feeling overwhelmed with too many options and choices? Use this worksheet to organize the decision-making process into more manageable parts. Make your best attempt to be sure the statements are based on facts, not assumptions or wishful (or fearful) thinking.

First, define the decision you need to make. Then, fill in the pros and cons. Once you see how the benefits and disadvantages add up, your decision becomes a matter of several smaller key issues.

Today’s Date:________________________________________________________________________

The decision I am contemplating is:________________________________________________

The pros are:________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________________

The cons are:________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________________

Consider these important questions when writing down your pros and cons:

  • Is this the right time for this decision or is it better to wait?
  • Who else can shed light on this decision (family, friends, doctor, etc.)?
  • Do I fully understand the answers given by the professionals? (If not, get clarification.)
  • Do I have all the information needed to weigh the potential consequences?
  • What are the needs and wants of those who will be affected by this decision?
  • What is the extent of my obligations toward the people involved in this decision?
  • How might this decision negatively affect my physical and emotional health?
  • Will I put others at risk or hurt anyone with this decision?
  • What is the best that can happen and what is the worst that can happen?
  • Have I researched all costs and who pays for what?

The Decision

Review the pros and cons. Does one list outweigh the other? If the potential decision involves legalities such as contracts and considerable costs, get professional advice. If the decision will directly impact your elders, involve them in the decision-making process. Insist on family meetings and discussions to keep everyone involved and accountable.

The two most important facts in the pros column are:
______________________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________________

The two most important facts in the cons column are:
______________________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________________

Based on the pros and cons, the decision is:
______________________________________________________________________________________

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Joy Loverde is the author of the best-seller, The Complete Eldercare Planner (Random House, 2009) and Who Will Take Care Of Me When I Am Old? (Da Capo, 2017). Joy’s media credits include the Today Show, CBS Early Show, CNN, and National Public Radio among many others. Joy also serves as a mature-market consultant and spokesperson for manufacturers, corporations, law firms, financial institutions, insurance, associations, healthcare organizations, senior housing, and other members of the fast-growing eldercare industry.

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