You and your spouse probably have made many plans over the years: vacations, big purchases, investments, retirement. But have you planned for getting old? This really is something that needs to be thought out. Where are you going to live in the future, especially if you cannot manage stairs and steps? How are you going to pay for help if you need it? What kind of help might you need and how would you get it, at home or in a facility? Is a retirement community right for you and how soon should you consider moving there? These are some of the questions you should consider.
Consider asking for help with your plans. There are professionals called Aging Life Care Managers who can provide assistance in determining and meeting your needs, now and in the future. They can give advice on area facilities and service agencies, and what they might offer. You will pay for this person’s services, but they will work for you alone and give the best advice for you. There are some agencies that take commissions to help people find placements. This isn’t necessarily bad, but they have a financial incentive for placement in a commission-paying facility. A private advisor working only for you may be best.
Think out the implications of various choices. Should you stay in your own home? How will you get the care you need there? Is there room for a live-in aide? What if things change in the future; what if one of you dies, can the other stay alone? Do you really want to sell your home and move into a retirement community? Will you like it there? A lot of people decide to move closer to family. Talk this out with your family members. Make sure they aren’t contemplating a move themselves.
You must work on your financial planning too. Elder care is expensive. Consult with your advisor or find a good financial advisor if you don’t have one. You can probably afford good care if you plan properly.
You should consult with your family members. If they live near you, they might be willing to help, but you should not count on them unless you are sure they will help. Don’t make any plans that involve your family members without their buy-in to your plan. Consider “in-laws” too and what they might think (even if they don’t say it out loud).
Do your research. Look online, get brochures, consult with your local area agency on aging or Council on Aging. Speak to professional advisors where appropriate to get their opinions.
Be prepared to change your plans, as necessary. We never know what life may throw at us. Be flexible and ready to change if the world changes around you. Planning ahead for aging is a good idea. Don’t wait until it is too late. Start today!