5 Aspects of Elder Transitions Planning
Many seniors value their independence, and it can be incredibly difficult to face the reality of needing more involved care as they age. In some cases, this can be as simple as having an in-home care provider come in once a day, but in others, it may be necessary to move into a more supervised living situation, such as assisted living or a nursing home. This transition can be challenging for both the person moving and their family members, but elder transitions planning and estate planning can help.
1. Healthcare Planning
As we age, our bodies need more support, which means that there are often increasing medical needs and the costs associated with them. It’s important to have a plan for how you want to handle your health as you get older, including setting up advance directives and healthcare proxies for additional peace of mind. This should include addressing any health conditions already present, as well as any that may happen in the future. An advance directive or living will gives your care team guidance on your wishes if you aren’t able to communicate them, and a healthcare proxy allows someone else to make medical decisions for you if necessary.
2. Financial Planning
Retirement brings many joys, but it can also be scary to be on a fixed income and facing the significant expenses of long-term care. Working with an elder transitions planning attorney can help you understand what programs are available, what the eligibility requirements are, and how to maximize your resources. An attorney can help you understand how to manage retirement funds to ensure you have enough money for your golden years. They can also help with Medicare planning to help you understand what financial support may be provided and how to make up the difference. Planning for these things in advance can help you make proactive decisions about your finances to support your long-term goals so there aren’t any surprises when it’s time to move into a care community.
3. Long-Term Care Planning
Assisted living is often the first type of care community seniors go into when they can no longer live at home. However, long-term care can also include in-home care, an independent living community, memory care, and nursing home care. The average monthly cost of assisted living in Michigan is $4,250, and nursing home care averages $9,855 per month for a private room. These are significant costs, and an attorney can help you evaluate your long-term care goals and ensure that you’re taking steps that support them.
It can also help to have a plan for aging in place. This is a term used for when seniors enter into a community that has several care levels, such as independent living, assisted living, and nursing care. This allows seniors to be able to stay in a familiar place with the care staff and neighbors they’ve come to know and build relationships with. Not having to move to a brand new community when care needs increase can make the transition much easier for the person, both emotionally and physically. It also decreases the risk of running into financial issues because these communities often have specific programs in place to help seniors and their loved ones understand how the pricing will work as they need more care.
4. Preparing Your Loved One
In addition to making the practical preparations discussed above, it’s also important to pay attention to the emotional and mental preparations for your loved one. Even if they know they need help, it can be very difficult for seniors to face giving up some of their independence or moving out of the place they’ve called home. Some seniors may also be worried about what may happen if they agree to move into a place that provides care. But there are some things family members can do to ease the transition.
If possible, it can help to let your loved one have as much say and decision-making power as possible in the decision. Letting them tour different communities to find the one they like the best or choosing the type of room they prefer can help give them more of a sense of control around this big decision. It can also help to reassure them that you are still going to be an active and involved part of their life.
5. Working With an Attorney
While it may seem odd at first to involve an attorney in these types of matters, an elder transitions planning attorney can provide invaluable legal advice and ensure that you have an experienced advocate as you go through this process. At Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, we’ve developed the Elder Transitions Plan™ for our clients. We partner with a network of geriatric care managers who can help you decide which type of care is best suited for your loved one, including in-home care or a residential community. Our team helps you understand how to maximize Medicare coverage, leverage long-term care insurance policies, and plan for the often substantial financial costs of long-term care.
If you or your loved one have reached the point of needing some level of ongoing care, Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P. C., is here to make the transition as easy and seamless as possible. We help clients throughout Michigan understand the legal and financial aspects of transition planning to ensure they get the care they deserve. Call our office at 248-997-4394 to speak with a member of our team and schedule a free consultation.