No one likes to think about getting old, but it’s an eventuality that we cannot escape. Sooner than later we should start thinking about how this process will affect our lives, the lives around us and put together a plan to deal with these changes, also known as an aging plan. An aging plan is a step by step process that you can discuss and implement today in order to make things easier later on down the road. Here is some of the thinking that goes into the plan:
Power of attorney’s established for healthcare and/or financial decisions. As the risk goes up that you are in a hospital or nursing home for an extended time, who can help make healthcare decisions or manage your financial house?
Are you going to stay in your home? Downsize? Move to a supportive community or a nursing home? You may want less stairs, open hallways that fit wheelchairs or bathrooms with walk-in showers. If you stay at home you will want to get a medical pendant and have someone that regularly checks on you.
What will the process be to remove your driver’s license? Will you take taxis, dial a lift, or rely on family and friends to drive you around?
As we age it can be normal for our cognitive function to begin to decline and the risk of Alzheimer’s or Dementia can increase. In order to catch these at an early stage, and prevent being taken advantage of or mismanaging the household finances, it is prudent to do a quick test on a periodic basis. These can be administered at your doctors or at whealthcareplan.com. This website also provides an abundance of other information and can help you build an aging plan (for a nominal fee, of course).
The comprehensive and sensitive nature of these conversations makes them hard to discuss, but the risks associated with them are too great to ignore. Weekly I read articles about the elderly being cheated and taken advantage of, and just this year Washington State made it mandatory for us to provide elderly abuse training to all employees. The aging process is inevitable, so having these sometimes uncomfortable conversations now helps it to be smoother for all involved.