topic | first days after death

Step 4: initiate planning for long term care

The emotional strain that accompanies a death and associated funeral can be consuming, and planning for things beyond the immediate situation can easily be overlooked. 

Attention must be given to the well-being of a surviving spouse or loved one.  As necessary, because of financial, medical, safety or other reasons, consider options for long-term living arrangements. These considerations require sensitivity. Many changes may be happening at once, and grief is still fresh. An unscheduled move has the potential to create even more stress.

Activity 1
  Facilitate Immediate Care

Changes after the death of a spouse or loved one are extremely difficult. The safety and well-being of the surviving spouse are of the utmost importance, and preserving them may require a change in living situations. Take care to initiate these changes with delicacy.

Ensure that immediate care, for the next two months, for the surviving partner is addressed. These are short-term arrangements. Be considerate and creative!

Evaluate whether they should remain in their residence.  Consider whether living independently is safe, desired, and appropriate.

Consider other options such as living with a relative or a friend. 

Activity 2
  Discuss Long-Term Care Needs

Always consider the needs and desires of the surviving spouse or loved one.  The timing for transitioning to any long-term arrangement is critical and varies in each situation. 

It is best to address the subject of assisted living with the surviving partner after researching general options.  Consult with the surviving partner’s family members, personal physician, financial advisors, and estate attorney to determine needs and capabilities.  Have an understanding of the various options, benefits, and costs of assisted living. If there are significant concerns about current living arrangements, and short-term arrangements are difficult to extend, assisted living may be a good option. 

Activity 3
  Gather Information

Research assisted living facilities. Conduct site visits to determine which facilities meet the requirements and needs of the surviving partner. Criteria should include:

  • proximity of health care and family members
  • annual expenses
  • reputation for safety, service, etc.
  • contractual obligations

(if this Step is complete)
to Step 5

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