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Senior Living Options – 5 Steps to Planning Ahead

posted Jun 2, 2014, 1:08 PM by Martha Batista   [ updated Jun 5, 2014, 3:32 PM ]
Senior Living Options – 5 Steps to Planning Ahead

Martha Batista, President & CEO
Senior Living Advisory Group of Scottsdale

June 2, 2014

Earlier this year, we had the honor of presenting to the Arizona State University Retiree Association (ASURA). This is a group of active retirees consisting of former Professors, Deans, Administrators, and staff members of ASU.  We engaged the group for over 2 hours on how to think through choosing the right senior living options on a broad range of scenarios and situations. Today, we still continue to receive positive feedback from the attendees. 

Senior Living Planning Steps
After our presentation, we shared some further thoughts on what steps to take now to plan ahead.  From my own personal experience, I would encourage you to consider the following 5-key planning steps for the future.

1.    Legal matters – get your legal matters/papers in order. This means updating your will and estate plans, advanced directives, etc. and, most importantly, making sure you have the right documents in place in case you become incapacitated due to dementia or any other debilitating illness. You should have three power of attorney documents – Financial, Health and Mental Health. Work with an Elder Law Attorney (pick one, if you don't have one) to help you.

2.    Financial matters – think about how you would pay for long term care. If you have a long term care insurance policy, dust it off, read it and make sure you understand it. Some LTC policies are very old and may or may not cover the costs of assisted living facilities (since they did not exist 30 years ago). If you do not have LTC insurance, then it’s time to do a little LTC planning. Consult with your financial advisor or someone that could advise you on the new LTC products that exist today, such as a benefits consultant. 

Also, if you are a vet, research available benefits that you may be eligible for, such as the Aid and Attendance benefit that provides assistance for LTC costs. In addition, research the Medicaid programs in your state. They may provide a safety net for you if you run out of funds. A good elder law attorney can help you with all of these matters. Gather whatever paper work you will need to apply for these benefits in the future. For example, to apply for Aid and Attendance, you will need your original discharge papers. Many adult children struggle to find the required paperwork when dad or mom no longer can.

3.    Family matters – Talk with your family or close friends about your wishes on aging and care. Would you like to remain at home as long as possible? If so, hiring a private caregiver or a home care agency will be the first step. If you would like to look at outside the home options, describe what sort of environment you would most enjoy. This will help your family or loved one make decisions for you in case you can’t.

4.    Get educated – speak to a professional advisor (like us) to get educated on senior options and develop a high level plan. For example, you may want to move out of the home sooner rather than later into an independent community that has continuing levels of care on the same campus. You can then enjoy the retirement lifestyle and then utilize the care services offered in the same community when you need them. Understanding your options now is a key component in the planning process.

5.    Simplify – Having learned from experience with my mom and dad, I would encourage you to simplify your life as much as possible. Downsize – gift, donate, or sell your “stuff” that has been accumulating for the last 40 years. Do it now while you still have the energy! This will help your family, and you, tremendously down the road.

We look forward to hearing from you!
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