Get Proactive with a Thoughtful Aging Plan

To remain independent, you must be proactive early in life. This includes taking prescribed medications for diagnosed conditions, regular exercise, a balanced diet, limiting alcohol, good sleeping habits, and staying socially active. Additionally, a carefully considered aging plan created with your Elder Law Attorney is a must. Even when facing the impact of chronic diseases such as diabetes and dementia, a proactive plan helps with healthy aging and a purposeful life.

A thoughtful aging plan outlines your vision for growing older. Do you want to age in place at home? Would you prefer the security and care offered by senior living? How will you pay for your chosen lifestyle? An aging plan clarifies your goals and, with the guidance of your Elder Law Attorney, creates a roadmap to keep you and your family members on track as you age.

aging plan

5 Considerations of an Aging Plan

  1. Living Arrangements
  2. Care
  3. Finances
  4. Legal
  5. Health and Medical

1. Senior living is not one-size-fits-all.

Living options for seniors are as unique and varied as the individuals and families seeking a solution. From modifying an existing home for safety to entering a nursing home, there is a lot of educational ground to be covered. Learning about each option – and the costs associated – is a significant part of a realistic aging plan.

Living Options

Home with modifications

ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) on family property

55+ residential community

Assisted living

Nursing homes

Most seniors want to live at home for as long as possible. Creating an aging plan that prepares for this option is vital due to the cost and potential modifications needed. Adding an ADU to an adult child’s property can be a great way to keep family close and can be accomplished with prior planning for local requirements. Senior living communities including Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care provide valuable social support and shared activities to encourage healthy aging.

A flexible aging plan considers each option and understands that as needs change, so might the plan to age at home. Your Elder Law Attorney understands the local options available and can connect you to area experts to help define differences and evaluate costs. If you plan to age in place at home, move forward with confidence, knowing your aging plan can flex with you as your needs change.

2. The challenges of aging grow over time, including the need for care.

An aging plan starts early and considers the needs that may come in later years. As time progresses, physical and cognitive decline may complicate daily life and create a need for additional care. A plan to age in place at home must consider the expense of assistance with daily activities.

When considering senior living communities in your aging plan, allow for the inclusion of care costs in your monthly budget. Room and board are billed separately from costs associated with care-related tasks such as bathing, grooming, dressing and even medication management. A flexible aging plan assumes cost increases and adjusts accordingly as needs change.

3. An aging plan is incomplete without a thorough evaluation of finances.

A plan is incomplete without a deep dive into the ability to finance each step of the journey. Your Elder Law Attorney can explore and recommend financial planning tools that are most appropriate to meet the goals of your aging plan. From trust funding to public benefits, an elder law specialist can help you craft a thoughtful plan that respects your wishes and examines affordability.

Potential Payor Sources for Long-term Care

Personal funds

Reverse mortgage

Traditional long-term care insurance

Hybrid long-term care insurance

Life insurance with a long-term care rider

Most of your long-term care costs will be out of pocket. Outside of the benefits received through Medicare for select medical expenses, your aging plan will address how your chosen lifestyle will be financially supported – and for how long. Your proactive involvement in an aging plan early in life will greatly impact the affordability of options in later life.

aging plan

4. Legal documents empower you and your loved ones with peace of mind.

 An aging plan is incomplete without the legal documents that empower your loved ones to execute the plan if you are incapable. Even if you outline a complete plan, if you are unable to participate in your care, you will need someone who can communicate your wishes for you. If your plan is to age in place at home, your incapacity becomes a barrier to employing the services needed to care for you – these legal documents are a necessity.

Most Important Advance Directives

Durable Power of Attorney

Health Care Surrogate

Pre-need Guardian

Work with your Elder Law Attorney to designate the right people into the right positions within these documents. Choose people you can trust to go the extra mile to ensure your plan is executed according to your wishes. This may involve some flexibility along the way, so choose wisely!

5. Age-related life challenges will happen – prepare with an aging plan.

Nearly 95% of older adults (age 60 and older) have at least one chronic condition with nearly 80% having two or more. It is nearly impossible to avoid having health challenges as we age. Preparing for medical care is different than considering assistance with daily living. Health and medical decisions reflect how we want to live in old age, how we want to die, and the decisions that are made about memorial and funeral planning.

Conversations about end-of-life can be hard, so starting the talk early through aging plan discussions can be very helpful for your family. They may be surprised about where you want to pass away, who you want to be present, and how you would like to be memorialized. Tell your family how to care for you in the event you are no longer capable – it relieves your family of the burden of guessing what you may have wanted, allowing them to grieve without guilt.

How Do I Create an Aging Plan?

Think about what you want now and in the future. Schedule an appointment with an experienced Elder Law Attorney and let them guide you through the process. Protect your loved ones and your legacy by being proactive – create an aging plan early. You’ll appreciate how you have peace of mind with changes that arise because your plan flexes with you.

aging plan

Knowledgeable guidance with aging plans and providing resources to help us age successfully wherever we call home are two reasons Elder Law Attorneys are a Resource We Love. Learn more about how these elder specialists help seniors and their families plan for the future in the Legal and Financial Section of our Blog.

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