Seniors are living longer than ever before. While this is a tremendous benefit for you and your loved ones, it can also be a scary concept as we contemplate your changing needs. There is no question that as we age our needs change. From health diagnoses and physical limitations to financial considerations and isolation issues, we need to be prepared for what we may face in the future.
Most of us want to live in our homes indefinitely. Today, however, most of us do not have the resources or support to do so. We live in homes that are not designed for the complications that can arise from mobility or cognitive issues. Our children are also a part of the Sandwich Generation, or the generation that is taking care of a minor child and an aging adult, and this means that they have less time to provide car.
Although there is no guarantee that aging-in-place is a real option for the future, there are steps you can take to help you age-in-place. Take a look at our aging-in-place checklist below. Let us know your thoughts, concerns or ideas during a meeting with our team.
1. Identify your support system. You will need support as you age. What does your support system look like? Are your children close by? Are they able to spend time with you each day? Each week? Do you and your friends come together to help each other? Is there public transportation?
2. Address diagnoses early. If you have a diagnosis that you know could impact you in the future, start planning now. What will you need? How can you take care of yourself and your loved ones? What changes do you need to implement to maximize the time you can live at home independently?
3. Make modifications before you need them. Most houses are not built to support someone with a disability. Assess what your house needs based on a future that could include long-term care and start making changes. For example, consider adding grab bars in the bathroom or wheelchair accessible showers.
4. Consider downsizing. Is your house too big? Many seniors are able to stay at home longer with a home they are able to manage themselves. Consider looking at other options so you can control where you move to next.
5. Identify what you can afford now. How will you pay for your long-term care needs? Are you able to cover an additional expense of $1,000 a month for a caregiver? What about $5,000? Do not wait to discuss this possible expense with both your elder law attorney and your financial planner.
6. Complete your estate planning. Your estate planning will not work unless it is executed properly. Don’t wait to finish this planning. If you have a plan in place you do need to make sure it meets your long-term care needs. Schedule a meeting with an elder law attorney to review your planning in light of potential long-term care needs.
7. Have your attorney on-call. If you were in a crisis, is your elder law attorney on-call? If not, what will you do? How long will it be before you can meet? What does he or she charge? As we think about aging-in-place, adding an on-call elder law attorney is an important part of your long-term care planning.
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Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He is all about family and has a passion for educating his community about trust and estate planning, veterans issues, and how to protect what matters most.