Every week I meet seniors and their families who are struggling to make a plan in the middle of a crisis. Most of these situations could have been avoided, or at least minimized, by conversations about goals and plans for the future. It's a hard conversation for most families, but necessary. Talking about aging and health concerns are not traditional party-starters. However, there is a time and a place to create the road map and memorialize peace of mind for all.
Talking Points for an Aging Plan
- Estate Planning (Advance Directives)
- Senior Living Options
Families often think that when a senior shows increasing signs of dementia, decision making automatically falls to the next of kin. Not true. A person must be designated in writing as Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate, or similar in order to be recognized as a decision maker. In Florida, the Power of Attorney is even more detailed, providing specific powers of the individual to make financial decisions such as applying for Medicaid or Veteran's benefits.
Without these documents, a family can find themselves in need of guardianship over their own family member - an unfortunate and expensive process that can be avoided with a conversation and simple advance directives.
Spend Time Now to Save Time Later
Do you have a plan for aging? Do you have a Power of Attorney or Health Care Surrogate documented and on file? Is it up to date and reflect your latest discussed wishes? If not, it is wise to spend some time with an elder law attorney to review your documents and be sure you are on track to minimize future problems. The consultation fee you pay will be a drop in the bucket compared to the costs you can incur due to lack of planning.
Living in Brevard County and don't know where to start? We strongly encourage you to only take legal advice from licensed attorneys. Call Simplifying Senior Living at 321-327-2917. We can make referrals to appropriate, local resources who will help you.