Serving the home health, home care and hospice industry since 1999.

Jennifer Crowley has written an interactive manual for seniors and their families that should make its way to every home care agency's gift box. At $20, they could give a copy to the adult child of every new patient and create a world of good will. I met Ms. Crowley at a recent conference and training of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors. I'll tell you a little about her, then about her book. It will take a paragraph or two to get through the initials after her name.

A Registered Nurse, Jennifer is also a Certified Life Care Planner (CLCP), a Certified Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Care Trainer (CADDCT), and Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP). She provides national seminars in Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Care and assists families with planning, coordination, and care management for individuals with cognitive impairment. She owns and operates "Eagleview West Life Care Planning," a care management and consulting company based in Northwest Montana.

The Seven Steps

The book is presented in, naturally, seven chapters, organized into the acronym "U-DECIDE."

  1. Understanding What You Need
  2. Develop Goals & Discuss Documents
  3. Evaluate What You Want
  4. Consider Accessibility
  5. Identify the Unpaid Caregiver
  6. Discuss Finances
  7. Evaluate Paid Services

After an introduction discusses demographics and the national caregiver shortage, the author describes how the book guides you through the seven steps. The medication review section of Step One, for example, includes a page to fill in with medication names, dosages, frequency, time of day, and reason it was prescribed. A list of questions to ask about every prescription helps family caregivers organize and understand a love one's meds.

Another chart in the "Understanding What You Need" step provides space to list medical conditions, diagnoses, symptoms, and treatment plans. A third prompts the creation of ADL tasks and the type of help needed, who provides it, and how much time it should take.

Step Two helps organize documents that will be needed, including legal and financial documents, advance directives, wills and trusts, and the like. This chapter's chart gives space to record life goals and how to measure and update them.

Remaining chapters use the same question and answer method to help seniors and their families initiate serious, sometimes difficult, conversations about staying in the home or moving to a facility, selecting paid caregivers and avoiding burning out the unpaid ones, and how to make finite savings accounts last. Step Six offers pages on which to calculate monthly expenses and compare them with income and assets.

Overall, this concise guide is more of a tool than a book. Based on the author's professional and personal family experiences, it lays out every essential aspect of the status of a person entering the final third of life. Trying to create a comprehensive plan without such a guide will likely leave some important questions missed. Ms. Crowley told us the book's goal is to avoid "crisis decision-making."

I recommend acquiring a sample copy of this handy guide, testing it with a senior with whom you are acquainted, and then deciding whether my recommendation to buy it in bulk and use it as a goodwill gift makes sense for your agency.

Learn more about Jennifer Crowley at

Meet her in a video here.


©2019 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only.