Friday, July 01, 2011

Why are we never “ready for that” product or service until it’s too late? Start conversations BEFORE a need is apparent. What questions are you going to ask today?

Susan Estrada sells tech items. She shares her real-time experience at the San Diego Country Fair. She sells products that are meant for both the young and old which accomodate for a special need. For example, she had a med-e-lert medication dispenser, a talking clock, an ezRead Visual Aide Magnifier as well as less techie items like a spork at her booth.

After seeing literally thousands of people pass the booth, she made some interesting observations. Thirty-five to 59 year-old men were interested in anything techie. Women controlled the money, so if these men wanted to buy anything, they went looking for the female with the pocketbook. Multi-generational family groups with a physically-impaired elder family member didn’t even stop to look. The identified caregiver of the family didn’t stop even though she looked interested. These observations are right in line with market analyses of sales trends.

Why are we never “ready for that” product or service until it’s too late?

Families are afraid of upsetting the apple cart. Dr. Linda Rhodes, gerontologist and author of Should Mom Be Left Home Alone? Should Dad Be Driving? suggests starting conversations much earlier, long before a need is apparent.

Some "What if Scenarios" to review with a loved one to plan ahead include:

• IF you have a stroke or break a hip, what rehab or nursing home facility would you like to go to for recuperation?

• IF you're sick and need home health care, what agency should be called?

• IF it's not safe for you to live alone, what assisted living facility should we visit?

• IF you can't get around and do for yourself but can still stay at home, what kind of services do you want to help you with daily living?

Some TO DO suggestions include:

• Create a "Rainy Day Folder" that places all of your directives in one place and share a copy with family members.

• Fill out a Living Will so everyone will know what you want regarding any end-of-life decisions

• Make a list of all your physicians and identify the hospital of your choice in the event of an emergency

• Choose a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney so a trusted loved one can make health care decisions when you're too sick to make them

Dr. Rhodes warns, "Plan for the unexpected and share your plans with family members, NOW. Unplanned decisions are uninformed decisions, and in the heat of a crisis, they are rarely in anyone's best interest."

What questions are you going to ask today?