Unfortunately, as we age the likelihood of needing at least some assistance with daily activities increases. Before you get to that point, it’s important to think about what type of help you may need and how you can get it. There is a wide-spectrum of services you may need at some point ranging from help with cleaning to full-time home healthcare. You can’t plan for every contingency, but you should consider what resources you can draw on allowing you to continue to remain as independent as possible and age in place. Some of the questions to consider include the following:
Can family members help? Do you have family nearby? If not, are there ways they may still be able to help you from a distance? For example, can they make calls to check on you, research services for you, talk to doctors, provide financial assistance, etc. If you have someone close by who you trust, you should talk with them about what they can and cannot do for you and how you could compensate them. If you can’t afford to pay them, do they have the time and money to take on those responsibilities?
What resources are available in your area? Neighbors and friends may be able to provide some assistance. However, there are also many home and community-based services, which can help you remain at home. These include assistance with transportation, meals, daily telephone check-ins, household chores, home maintenance, home healthcare, etc. Technology can also help you age in place, providing social support, medication reminders, health monitoring and other assistance.
What kind of help can you afford? Some caregiving options are more expensive than others, such as hiring live-in help or moving to an assisted living facility. Ideally, you should work with your legal and financial advisors on long-term care planning long before you need it to maximize your options.
How can you protect yourself? You should discuss your long-term care plans with an estate planning attorney and make sure your legal documents are in order, including your will, health care proxy, power of attorney, trusts, and other relevant documents. Be careful about giving others access to your bank accounts. For many reasons, you don’t want to just add someone onto your account. If you are going to hire someone to help you with your finances or your healthcare, take care that you are hiring someone with the right credentials and experience, verify references and put agreements in writing.
If you need help planning for your long-term care, contact me for a consultation.