Need Help? Be Prepared…

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Plan Ahead for Aging

By Mary Casterline, Senior Community Advisor,
Living By Your Design, Inc.

Holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy the company of family and to also look back on the year and reflect.   What do you notice?   Are older family members having less interest or greater difficulty in taking care of their yards, their homes and perhaps even performing daily tasks? Now is the time to start the conversation:  When I need help, where do I start?
PLAN AHEAD!
Who will make decisions on my behalf when I am no longer able? 
· Prepare legal documents now for future decisions.
· Update your will. Make sure that it includes advance directives wishes and POAs (powers of attorney) for healthcare and finances.
· Consider a trust for your protection.
How will I pay for my care as I age? 
· If you or your spouse is a United States Veteran and either of you require daily assistance with medications or self-care, you may be eligible for a monthly Veteran’s pension to augment your Social Security or other pension income.
· Schedule an appointment with your agent to update your health care policies every year. Make sure you have the best coverage for your current condition and medications.
· Consider long-term care policies.  If you already have it, read the fine print.  These products have changed over the years so review your coverage to make sure you understand what it does and does not cover. 
Who will take care of me?
· Consider purchasing a pill dispenser when the number of medications and times of day when they are taken becomes increasingly complicated.  Medication reminders can sort meds, lock them until needed and provide alarm prompting to take them at the required times.
· Some pharmacies now pre-package all of a patient’s meds according to time of day taken for ease and accuracy.
· Investigate home health care as a way to initially provide in-home assistance. Most agencies have a range of services from someone who may do daily tasks like grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning a couple of hours a week to 24 hour a day skilled nursing care.
Where will I live? 
· Safety and health concerns will trigger the need for more care and supervision so talk now so your loved ones’ wishes can be honored.    If falling is a risk, do a home walk-through to repair, replace or modify the environment as prevention.
· Research or get professional assistance about senior communities in your area to see what is available.  Not all communities are alike.   Do you want to move once into a place where there are a range of living options: independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing? Or do you want to stay at home or with family as long as possible, and only move when you require a specialized memory care community or a higher level of care?  Living By Your Design has a free senior community referral service that can help you match your needs and wishes with available communities in the area.

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Steven A. Buttice is the president of Medical Reimbursement & Management Services, Inc., a firm specializing in issues affecting seniors, including seminars and consultation on Medicare Plans, Long Term Care and other types of insurance, claims issues, and sales/service of insurance products since 1984.

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