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Planning your own long-term care

Posted by Tom Laborde
Category: Finance & Planning

a senior couple lounging in beach chairs

As you locate the assisted living community that will best suit your parents, you may be thinking about your own senior years and how you will handle your own personal needs then. While it is difficult to say precisely what you will need in terms of care and support, you could benefit from determining now what your wishes for long-term care may be in the future. Here are a few tips to consider when you are thinking about your choices:

“Consider your long-term care options before you need to.”

Do you know your options?

While you are researching long-term care for your parents, you’ve probably gotten a sense of what options exist for you too. Consider them with your loved ones to see what might work best for you. Do you intend to stay in your own home for as long as possible, or does the vibrant community life a senior living center affords appeal to you more? Are you willing to make a move a little out of the way, or do you intend to stay close to family and friends? These are questions it never hurts to consider, and decisions best made when you are fully aware of all of your options, from aging in place to the full continuum of assisted living.

What about finances?

You have likely realized in planning for your parents’ long-term care that finances play a starring role in many of the choices you are able to make. For this reason, it’s important to begin to think now about how you’ll afford the care you need in the future. You may look into long-term care insurance or other ways to set money aside for your eventual health and wellness needs, or consider what selling your home or other such steps could do for you in your senior years if you choose to move into an assisted living community. Planning your financial strategy well before you need it will take a weight off of your and your children’s minds in the years ahead.

Planning for your future now is the smartest course of action.Planning for your future now is the smartest course of action.

Make your wishes known

Unfortunately, long-term care is a need that is not limited to seniors. You may require assistance with daily living earlier than you imagine, whether it be due to a medical event or an ongoing condition. For this reason, you must make sure your desires and preferences regarding long-term care are clear and in writing. This can help your partner, children or other family members make decisions for you when you may not be able to. Sitting down with an attorney to talk about who you would like to control your finances, medical decisions and so on in the event that you cannot is always a good idea, no matter how far away these possibilities seem at this point in your life.

Begin to scout assisted living communities

As you tour assisted living communities to get an idea of what would work best for your parents, keep your own needs in the back of your mind. There are many options for assisted living, and knowing them can help you determine where you might want to set your sights in the future. At the very least, you can narrow down your wants and needs and get an idea of the kind of community that matches them.

The more you prepare for long-term care before you need it, the easier it will be to make the transition from your own home to a new community if and when you need to do so. Use the time you spend helping your parents make this change to consider what this will look like for you, too.